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Age: 40


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Fortuna

Sailing Date: 01-18-2009

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

This ship is named aptly. Buona Fortuna (Italian for "Good Luck") is what you need to have a great experience on the Costa Fortuna. Overall, this was not a very auspicious introduction to cruises. I went with my father, who assured me that he'd never had an experience as uneven as this one with Costa. The ship is huge and does have some very nice facilities. Overall, it looks like a second-rate Vegas casino - and acts like one, too. The staff seemed over-exhausted and were immensely burdened having to explain shoddy company policies to passengers. I felt sorry for them, really, most of the problems seemed to be due to things out of the staff's hands (I say this, as I had to stand in line at the Customer Service desk at least once a day for the entire seven day cruise.) I got the feeling that this might have been a great ship and a great cruise a few years back. It isn't a stellar experience at this point in time. I hope it improves. The food in the two main dining rooms ranged from mediocre to downright inedible. Good thing it was a four course meal - at least there was a chance to get one satisfactory dish. Supplementing the seated meals with the buffet wasn't possible. The buffet had odd assortments of Italian and world cuisine (A taco bar with taco shells, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and mozzarella cheese? And no beans or meat? Hmmm....). It was as though the kitchen couldn't quite commit to any one style or dish. There were a lot of leftovers on the buffet. Desserts were just poorly done. As in the dining rooms, you had to fill your plate with many different things in order to find the one or two that were worth going back for. Midnight buffets were a different thing. For some reason, the midnight buffets were great. The selections were great and everything was well prepared. Staying up for this was a good option for getting a satisfying meal. Getting a satisfying drink on this ship was, I'm afraid, a lot more difficult than staying up 'til midnight. The ship provided free coffee, tea, water, orange juice at breakfast, and (sometimes) iced tea. You expect to pay for alcoholic drinks, but the fee on soda and juice seemed a bit much. We had a stateroom with a balcony. It was a bit cramped, but since we weren't spending entire days there, it was fine. There was plenty of room for two people to unpack into closets and drawers and our suitcases (smaller wheeled cases) slipped right under the bed for the duration of the cruise. The room was nicely appointed and well-maintained. Our cabin stewardess worked long hours to make sure every need was taken care of. She was great. NOTE: the stateroom safes are tiny. You can get a few cell phones, passports, wallets into the safe, but anything larger than a tissue box might be a problem. The most advertised activities were the ones that offered to part you with more of your money: bingo, excursion info, port shopping info hour, duty-free shopping onboard, onboard shop sales.... By the pool, they had regular dance, stretch, be silly activities that were just plain goofy fun. People enjoyed them. There were some fitness classes - early morning or right in the middle of dinner. I saw some craft classes (napkin-folding, origami, paper flower making), but I didn't attend any of those. I do wish there had been more cultural activities. At the very least, the library could have been open for more than 4 hours each day. The excursions were fine. But considering that those on excursions kept winding up at the same locations as those of us who simply booked on-shore, one wondered about the prices. Example: 2 people going to the beach on a ship excursion paid $90/ea. The couple who just took local transportation paid $25 total (Ship excursion didn't include a lunch or packed beach bag...). Honestly, if you are willing to do a little bit of research about your ports before you leave home, I think it is very possible to have very rewarding excursions on your own. The ship excursions do, however, do away with the guess work and are fine choices. I will probably not ever cruise with Costa again. I will cruise again, but on a much smaller ship. Certainly one with better food and better itinerary would be good. I liked our ports, but wondered why we spent barely 6 hours (one evening) in San Juan, but spent an entire day in the Dominican Republic. Those who didn't go to the beach for the day, were left with slim pickings for activities and sights. A serious plus for Costa is its popularity with Europeans. In the evenings, you can close your eyes and pretend you are in Italy...or France...or Croatia...or Belgium... Great ship if you like an international crowd.

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