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Jacob & Marleen

Age: 35

Occupation:Nuclear Medicine

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Victoria

Sailing Date: March 16th, 2003

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

A ship that is always clean and well maintained. Rooms are small but well organized. Room Staff is extremely friendly and efficient. Shops contained expensive designer type items. The officers seen not too frequently throughout the ship. Drinks were weak and cost $4 to $6. The food was ok but nothing 5 star. The shows were very good, family oriented and well attended. Very large casino but the children’s video game area was too close and expensive, about $1 per ride. We had a nice time all in all. If you go thinking that you are going to get a $2000 cruise for $500 you will be very disappointed but if you consider what you get for the price you pay I think it is worth it, but we are not planning to cruise with Costa again. For more details read on.

Let us start with Day one. Embarkation: went very harsh. As you entered the pier the porters were right there to immediately ask for tips before taking your luggage. They do not work for the cruise line so they do expect a tip. As you entered the building each person was handed a number and asked to be seated. We seated for 2 hours and 15 minutes. As the building filled up you were called into lines according to the number you held so those that got there first went onboard first. This made the procedure very inefficient.

As you entered the ship some one was there to greet you and direct you to your room, aslo to sell you drinking plans and shore excursions. Our room was very nice, a little smaller than most of the other lines, but arranged for efficiency. There was plenty of closet and drawer space. We had an outside room and it had a very large round window, which really brightened, up the entire room. As the Antonio the steward showed us around the room he also told us about a welcome aboard buffet. Well, by the time we got on board 3:45 PM they CLOSED the buffet location. We didn’t leave port until 5 pm so we had plenty no time to unpack, relax, or get oriented to the ship. We were requested to go to deck 6 for the fire drill and head count, and honestly it felt like we were prissoners. We took first seating at 6:15 PM This ship is one that rocks quite a bit with the weather so if you have problems walking or with seasickness you will want to be aware of this. Also rooms do not accommodate the large scooter type of wheel chairs. They do have a pizza shop on board but it does not open until 6pm and we found it not to our liking. The shops onboard catered mostly to those who like designer items. I found the prices on most items too high. The Internet café was a nice touch for those of us who could not leave their e-mail for an entire week. It is also good for staying in touch with the family.

The food ….we had heard some bad reviews about the food aboard this ship so we didn’t really know what to expect. Truly my wife and I like gourmets and like just about anything. We not always enjoyed what we ordered. The food was always served to us hot and displayed nicely on the plate, but it took around 15 minutes between plates to arrive. We did find a lot of foods that we had eaten before. On the nights that we wanted something simpler and more American we ordered from their always-available section, consisting of sirloin steak, chicken breast, or fish. Fish was rubbery every night we ordered, meaning it was not fresh. We noticed that they had special menus for those that wanted a vegetarian meal. Those with more of a gourmet taste for 5 star restaurants may not have found it to their tastes. We did however find that the menus description sometimes did not match the American thoughts. Like taco salad to an American is usually lettuce, meat, cheese, etc. Their actual taco salad was a to be built taco. When we did get this they were more than happy to get something else for us.

The staff ….We found the staff friendly but somehow not to ready to assist you with anything. Our cabin steward knew us by name before we sailed the first day and anticipated our needs before we realized we needed it. The waiters were friendly, not too efficient, but entertaining. They had several nights that the waiters entertained before desert was served. The Captain, who was rarely seen about the ship, to the man or woman sweeping were too serious, demotivated, without a smile to offer.

We had our three year old children on board. We can tell first hand what their programs were not stimulating or child geard, like they will spend 2 hours painting and parents must pick them up for lunch. They will spend 3 hours in the afternoon playing and parents muct pick them up before first seating. The teens seemed to enjoy themselves too. All in all kids were less rowdy than on Carnival cruses.

Debarkation …Went smoothly, although it felt like they wanted you out of the ship right away. We were placed in rooms according to the color of tags on luggage and dismissed by color to avoid bunching. Luggage was easy to find because it too was placed according to color of tag on the luggage. Leaving Port Everglades was a total traffic jam.

Port of Call- We went to San Juan, Puerto Rico 4:30PM to 1:30AM were all shore excursions were cancelled by Costa, and most stores were closing up. St. Thomas USVI 8AM to 5PM was a nice port of call. Catalina Island 8AM to 5PM were we had the BBQ party. Nassau Bahamas, 1PM to 6PM, not enough time for walk and site seeing.

If I had to choose, I will probably not choose Costa Cruise again.

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