Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Costa
Ship: Costa Mediterranea
Sailing Date: December 11th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Costa Cruise Line
This was our 5th cruise and the first time on Costa.
Thank goodness We did NOT read the reviews posted here before booking because we
might have missed the best of all the cruises we have taken.
Getting on board was very smooth and quick. We arrieved at the terminal at about 11:30. Borarding had not started and were seated in a holding area. After ony 15 minutes or so our documents were checked, security was completed, and we were aboard by 12:15. You might want to note that your on board "Costa Cards" will await you in your cabin, and that you DO NOT need to stand in the lines to link your "Costa Card" to your credit card. This task need not be completed until the day before disembarkation. So relax, and register later.
Not sure how to describe the public rooms. The Decor on the Mediterranea is over the top and at first a bit gaudy. But after the initial overwhelming visual impact wore off we realized that the Mediterranea has absolutely the most beautiful public rooms we have ever seen. We're not gamblers but the casino is quite large and seems to have any game you may want. All of the numerous bars were well appointed. The beautiful dining room must be seen to be believed.
The cabin was NOT decorated in the over the top fashion like the public rooms. There was plenty of room in our balcony cabin. There was plenty of storage space and we were able to stow all of our clothing and baggage comfortably. The one down side: the mattress was maybe 4 inches thick and pretty hard, but with all of the activities we slept like rocks and really didn't notice. However, if you require a soft cushy sleeping surface you might want to consider another ship.
Fitness & Recreation:
The fitness area was well equipped and well staffed. Best of all we have seen on a cruise ship so far.
Well aren't we glad we didn't see all of the negative statements about the food. While the dining in the main dining room was not quite as good as what we experienced last year on the Holland America Zaandam, it was close. There were plenty of offerings on the menu and if for some reason an item was not what was expected, it was cheerfully exchanged for another.
The buffet food was also good, and as far as quality it is certainly as good as the rest of the cruise lines. The buffet itself was a bit difficult to navigate at peak times, but the food selection was quite good.
Keep in mind that Costa is a an Italian line. The food is Italian, not Carabbas, not Olive Garden, not Chef Boyardee. It's Italian and not all items will be what you expect or what you are used to. If you're a meat and potatoes person, choose another cruise line. If you like to experiment with new things, you'll love the Costa Mediterranea.
We are not "show" people and did not attend any of the productions. The couple we traveled with DO enjoy shows and they were quite pleased. Entertainment in the lounges was also quite good, each having a different theme. Keep in mind again, this is an Italian Cruise line and some of the things you'll experience will not be performed in English.
In a word, excellent. You'll notice it is not showy. Our waiter was competent but never in your face. We never saw the cabin steward, but the cabin was always spotless. We finally decided that the service was done with quiet dignity, and it was refreshing.
We can't comment too much. We didn't think there was enough time to do one in San Juan. We rented a Jeep in St. Thomas (good value thru Budget). We did take the Sugar Trek excursion in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. If you ever go to La Romana, you'll need to do this. It'll make you think twice next time you open a packet of sugar. The cane, for the most part, is harvested by hand.
Quick and efficient. Keep in mind that this is all controlled by Customs Officials. Costa could take hint from her sister cruise line Holland America and allow passengers to wait in their cabins. We waited in the Theater. It wasn't bad. Cabin would have been better maybe.
Value for Price:
Excellent. Best we've ever experienced. Don't be afraid to save a little by booking a balcony cabin with an obstructed view. You'll just be looking over top of the life boat.
One other thing:
We noticed on boarding that the ship was spotless. Noticeably spotless. The Center for Disease Control noticed too. While docked in San Juan the CDC inspected the ship. The Mediterranea received a perfect score of 100. The officers and crew were noticeably proud. Well done Costa Mediterranea!
For the naysayers:
Some negatives we're read in the reviews.....
Smoking. Yes, there is more smoking on the ship than we're seen before, but the dining areas are non smoking. Must be a European thing.
Rudeness. Yes, some people are rude. We've seen that this is a pattern on cruise ships. Seems some of the seasoned citizens are oblivious to those around them. Not sure there is real intent to be rude. We didn't find the Mediterranea to be any different from any other ship in this respect. The non USA clientele were fun to be around.
Foreigners. Yup, unlike most lines you really will find people from all over the world. The approximate demographics we observed: 50% USA seasoned citizens, 20% USA middle aged and younger. 30% European, mostly Italian and mostly in the 20's and 30's. On this cruise there were very few children. All announcements were done in 5 languages. Listen close and you may pick up a few things.
We've sailed with Norwegian, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Costa. This was our best cruise. Keep an open mind and a sense of humor and you too may have a wonderful experience!