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Age: 51

Occupation:Athletic Trainer

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Magica

Sailing Date: 2011-01-15

Itinerary: Western Mediterranean

This cruise was outrageous. After reading some of the very negative reviews online, we were nervous about our Costa cruise, but were pleasantly surprised by the entire experience. I think i was a great value for the money.

If you are on this cruise just to eat American-style cuisine, then you might be better off staying on an Amercan cruise line. However, if you are open to new and different tastes, the food was interesting, varied and quite tasty. Some people were complaining that they could not eat 24/7, but meal sizes were so large it was difficult to eat more than one meal per day. Also, the various restaurants and buffets were open about 20 hours per day. The buffet food was always hot, fresh and had a wide variety for everyone to choose from. I did not have any bad food. The service was efficient and friendly. Our waiter served our food at our pace, not at the pace of other tables.

Rooms are large with plenty of closet space and, although I might have chosen different decor, it was still a comfortable, clean and relaxing environment. Our steward was extremely pleasant and helpful and spoke very good English. Our airline lost our luggage, and within 30 minutes of filing a missing luggage complaint with Costa, our steward was at our door offering to do our laundry for the entire week free of charge.

Some people were bothered by the language barrier, but we were amazed that they could conduct games/activities/performances in five languages at one time. We never felt excluded as Americans and felt the staff went out of their way to include all nationalities in the activities. We were entertained constantly and enjoyed the international flavor of the cruise.

We only took two Costa excursions, both of which were very good. The trip to Monaco (from Savona) is one that everyone should take. We also did a walking tour in Marseille which was very good. The other days we had no trouble taking local "Hop-On Hop-Off" bus tours, which were easy to access from the port.

Remember, this is an Italian cruise line. They make every effort to include all nationalities in all of their activities/excursions/performances, etc., but if you expect everyone to cater to Americans first, you will be disappointed If you want an interesting, international, budget-friendly cruise, Costa is for you. We met many people of many nationalities and none of them were rude, pushy, or disrespectful. We would recommend this cruise.

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