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lynn lehmann

Age: 61

Occupation:writer and television producer

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Mediterranea

Sailing Date: 2009-09-16

Itinerary: baltic sea

The Cost Mediterranea is a beautiful ship with very nice cabins. Ours included one of the largest showers yet experienced on board a cruise ship. But Americans should understand that you will be in the minority on many european itineraries. As such, don't expect an experience like those in the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera.

The big problem for Americans is the food; it is bland and very European. Italians don't make pasta and pizza like you get at home. The pizza is pathetic with little sauce and or other toppings and it's more a crust that would fit well into the bread lines of the depression. I don't know their reasoning. Throughout Europe the folks are catching on. In Poland we saw truly great pizza heaped with a plethora of ingredients, but the Italians will not be persuaded to get with it on their pizza. Avoid it. And here's the worst: THERE IS NO DINNER BUFFET! You have only one option: the sitdown 90 minute affair that includes a host of nearly inedible stuff. I wonder if ultimately all cruise lines will follow NCL's lead and convert to free-style dining; many are making the switch but not Costa! With no buffet you are really confined. They do offer a couple platters of that abysmal stuff they call pizza, if you want to eat away from the main restaurant.

The Baltic cruise includes 8 enchanting ports. In both Helsinki and Travemunde Germany I was told that the local communities provide free bus service from the ship into the town because it's good for the economy. Costa charges about ten dollars for the shuttle, something, I heard, was provided free.

There is some lack of organization where the onboard activities are concerned. The rap sheet about the next days activites always arrived very late each night and the menu was never posted outside of the restaurant. They claimed there was certain information on the cabin TV but it wasn't there (the days menu for one thing.) I realize Americans are in the minority and they must cater to the majority so they are forgiven; none the less, beware. They smoke on this ship, strange but true.

The first night at sea we were kept awake by a loud rattling sound on our balcony. It continued each night. We called every day to ask for a repair. Finally on day seven of the ten day cruise it was fixed.

Now the good things: the crew was as good as any I've experienced. Personnel tried their best to satisfy the needs of the guests. It is difficult to hear communication in several different languages and the entertainment is geared mostly for Italian speakers. They are forgiven, what else could they possibly do? I won't use Costa Again but lots of people will. It's a matter of personal preferences.

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