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Costa

Age: 29

Occupation:teacher

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Victoria

Sailing Date: September 12th, 2005

Itinerary: Eastern Mediterranean

Andrea Palmer

Overall: This was our first cruise experience and we were unsure of what to expect. Overall the cruise was wonderful. Our only complaints were that my husband and I did not care for the food at the Bolero Buffet, however, it was always busy with people. Also, we had a minor incident and the information desk didn’t seem to understand what we were asking for, but after they tracked down our English Speaking Host, it was cleared up.

Best Parts: We traveled with young children (ages 5 and 6) and they loved the kids club! It is for ages 3 to 12 (divided into the mini and maxi groups) and was available for shore excursions as long as the tickets were presented to the Squak Club staff at least 24hrs in advance. It was available from 9am-12pm, then 3pm-6pm, and 9pm-11:30 (which gave my husband and I lots of free evenings). We had 2 formal nights and on both nights the kids had the option of eating with the Squak Club. They had tons of fun activities planned and our kids couldn’t wait to go each day! Their favorite was taking a tour of the bridge and then posing for pictures with the captain afterwards. The staff was multi-lingual and really seemed to enjoy their job!

On of our children has food allergies and requires a special diet. Our agent informed Costa when the cruise was booked and the staff at the restaurant did an excellent job of taking care of his needs, as did the Squak Club during snacks and dinners.

The staff at the restaurant was wonderful! Everyone was very friendly and helpful. If you want pizza, don’t get it from the Bolero. There is a pizzeria on deck 12 (just upstairs from the Bolero) that is pretty good, however, it is open late (about 11pm).

We dinned mostly in the restaurant (as we were not impressed with the Bolero Buffet – deck 11 by the pool). The lunches and breakfast were much better in the restaurants. Dinners weren’t bad either. My husband really enjoyed the midnight buffets.

The shows were fun and well done.

The itinerary was amazing! Our itinerary included Bari, Katakolon (Olympia), Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Dubrovnik. We took the Olympia, Mythology and Modernity tour in Katakolon and enjoyed it. We did Santorini on our own and took the donkey ride up to the top (the kids thought that was really fun!) and took the cable car down. There was no excursion for Mykonos, but we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant near the windmills. Then we took the excursion to Lindos and afterwards explored Rhodes on our own. Dubrovnik we also did on our own. Rhodes and Dubrovnik were our favorites.

My husband and I don’t drink so we took advantage of the Boys and Girls package which was 22 non-alcoholic drinks for 44.85 euros and the water package (13 1 liter bottles for 23.95 euros).

Downsides/Concerns:
If you are thinking about booking with Costa it is important to remember that it is an Italian Cruise line and the majority of the people on board are Italian. Announcements are made in several languages. I have noticed this is a complaint with many of the Costa reviews. This did not bother my husband or me. We have been living in Europe for a few years and are used to being in the minority. There were only 250 English speaking people on our cruise, most didn’t seem to mind this. Also, we found the Europeans on board friendly and interested in the Americans.

The pool is small and felt crowded on the day at sea.

The gym/fitness center was very small and often crowded (expect during mid-afternoon). They only had 4 treadmills and one elliptical trainer.

Also, if you want to catch a show you have to get there about 45 minutes before it starts to get a good seat. If you arrive minutes before the show, you most likely won’t have anywhere to sit.

I don’t know about other ships, but we thought our cabin was small. However, we were very happy with our cabin steward.

Overall we were very pleased with our first cruise experience and would recommend Costa to our friends. We were happy with the ship, the staff, food (at the restaurant), the itinerary, and the price. We are already planning another one!

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