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Eddie & Rena Bailen

Age: 66 and 60


Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Mediterranea

Sailing Date: April 11th, 2004

Itinerary: Transaltantic

We have just returned from a 16-day transatlantic Costa cruise starting in Ft Lauderdale FL. on April 11th and ending in Genoa Italy on April 27th. Never have we experienced such a horrible trip as the one we had on the ship Mediterranea.

According to our vouchers, confirmation from our Travel painting classes given by the children’s director because of the lack of children, dance
lessons given at poolside where people were smoking or given by non-understanding English people who did not want us to take a lesson, and trivia game quizzes were given mainly in Italian. Yes we know it is an Italian ship but the passengers were from Germany, France, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy and USA.

We wanted to play Shuffle Board, but the equipment was broken due to previous teenage passengers. Now the ship was docked in Florida…why wasn’t the equipment replaced. How difficult is it to buy a set of Shuffle Board sticks and disks. We did enjoy attending the Art Auctions given by Kim and Nigel from the Princess Cruise Line.

On other cruises that we have taken, one side of the ship is smoke free but the policy on this ship was to alternate smoking on each side. Consequently most of the ship ended up with people smoking. On the upper deck buffet, we encountered people smoking cigars in the non-smoking area. They just removed the non-smoking sign from their table and set it on another table claiming that this table was smoking. We did not think cigar smoking was allowed in a public eating facility.

The off shore excursions from Costa were charged in Euros which surprised us since all the Caribbean Islands take Dollars. Fortunately we did not sign up for any excursions and hired our own taxi for a third of the price. It was wonderful having a native show us his Island.

Most of the crew were friendly and helpful but there were a few such as one young man at the Courtesy Desk who when we asked for a deck of playing cards referred us to his colleague. All he had to do was turn around reach down into a cupboard and hand us a deck of cards. He understood what we wanted he just choose not to help us.

We admire and thank greatly for the terrific, always smiling, sleep deprived, under tipped, waiters, assistant waiters, young ladies serving drinks, and naturally our cabin steward, (#5210.) They made us feel special, cared for and were always helpful.

The evening entertainment had no great production acts that we are used to on other cruises. It was only performed once an evening usually at 10:45pm. Michelle, who we presume is the entertainment director, had absolutely no excitement, no audience participation, and his only job were to announce the performer. We did not understand his position because of previous cruises; it was the entertainment director that encouraged audience participation and basically was the life of the party so to say. After a week of mediocre entertainment, we stopped going and ended up playing cards with our friends. We have heard passengers from another Costa ship “Altantica” that the evening shows, of which there were two each evening, were of the same caliber as a Vegas Show. We definitely did not have any Vegas type shows on the Mediterranea.

On all our other cruises eating was an important part of the trip but Costa Cruise Line ruined that for us. When we turned to hamburgers and hot dogs for our main meal there is definitely wrong with the food service. Although the food presentation was very nice, the quality of the food was the worst we had ever tasted. The veal, chicken, lamb, beef, and even the lobster were tough as nails and dry as a bone. When you require a steak knife to cut lobster there is something wrong. The Italian food we were looking forward to, was not there. Most of the pasta was either over cooked or undercooked and swimming in olive oil. The fish smelled fishy as if it had been frozen, thawed and then frozen again. The fish fillets were full of bones. The reason you fillet fish is to remove the bones. Desserts were tasteless and most of them made with whipped lard and palm oil. The only edible dessert was the ice cream in the dinning room, which was all American. It did not resemble Italian Gelato that you would expect on an Italian ship. The soft serve ice cream at the Buffet was loaded with corn syrup and palm oil. For breakfast we ate bagels, cream cheese and oatmeal. We cannot complain about the service from our waiters and assistant waiters. They tried very hard to make our meals enjoyable, but with the food they were given, it was an unobtainable goal. The food on the airline “Alitalia” had more flavor and taste and was much more enjoyable. Maybe you should hire the chef from the airline to take over on the Mediterranea.

Rest assure that this letter will be sent to your mother company “Carnival Cruise Lines”, and word will spread about the treatment we have received from Costa. We will never recommend Costa Cruise Line. You claim according to the Internet “Mission” on the Costa Cruise site. “We at Costa make our guests very happy and they will repeat the cruise experience only with us….” Not only did you not make us happy, you’re inconsiderate, don’t care attitude, had better change if you wish to have the American and Canadian passengers on your ship.

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