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Robert W. West

Age: 66

Occupation:Professor Higher Education

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Victoria

Sailing Date: December 11th, 2002

Itinerary: Panama Canal

Occupation: Professor Higher Education
Cruise Line: Costa
Sailing Date: December 11th, 2002

In the vernacular of our youth, “The cruise was awesome!.” This was an international cruise. It was quite special to be greeted in the morning with, “Good morning.” in five or six different languages. The world needs more cruises like this to bring people from different countries of the world together, especially in an atmosphere of fun and frolic. As one could imagine, on an Italian ship, the cruise was an epicurean delight and adventure! As this was my seventh cruise I believe I can make a few observations and evaluations with a touch of authority. I would like to make the statement here, that in previous cruises, I was married and not single.

I basically achieved what I wanted to achieve on this cruise, namely to escape the world of work and reality for a brief period, to have time to write, to tan and in general, to be spoiled for eleven days. Two other areas that I wanted to experience or achieve were practically non-existent. One was to dance the nights away and secondly I was hoping for a touch of romance. Regarding the latter I must say that the Costa Victoria was close to a complete failure. Italy and the Italians, known the world over for amore, romance and love, let me down. Until I find a partner or take

a wife I will never take another cruise aboard this ship. For those of you, especially in the U.S., and that takes in approximately forty per cent of the American population, book another cruise line if you are single.. If you are married and/or have a partner, Costa Victoria is the ship for you. I was astonished that the ship could not put together a better environment for the single traveler. On the first night aboard the ship they did have a singles party, however, hardly any of the passengers had unpacked their bags nor had they become acclimated to the ship’s environment. The cocktail party was a complete bust. I have a few suggestions for the Costa Victoria as well as some of the other cruise lines having difficulty appealing to the single crowd, especially the single adult.

1. Create an Adult Singles Program Director.

2. Establish a special club area and or environment specifically for the single adults.

3. Program some creative romantic events!

4. A special singles group should be created for all excursions. Conversation is very difficult to develop and maintain between single and married couples. The Costa Victoria arranged excursions for the various languages, why not for the single vs. the married or couple.

5. The booking agent could play a major role in dealing with the single adult. On all forms/applications etc. a question should appear asking the individual if they are an adult single. Another question should be, “Are you interested in socializing with other adult singles during the cruise?”

6. If the above respondent replies yes to the above, a Directors job is half over. Schedule these  people at singles dinner tables and place them into singles groups for various excursions. Also, plan for various ‘aboard ship’ events.

I would like to mention at this point in the evaluation that the crew and staff of the Costa Victoria were superior to any cruise ship I have experienced. The young ‘animators’ were super and my special praise goes to my head waiter, David Herrero, my assistant waiter, Maria Reyes Cristina and to my cabin stewardess, Dominika. If you happen to get any one of these individuals on your cruise aboard the Costa Victoria, you will be a very fortunate individual.

The bus excursion to San Jose, Costa Rica, through the rain forest area and the city, was very good and worth the money; however, the train ride from one coast to the other in Panama still needs a lot of work. The latter is not worth the price of the excursion. In regards to what is worth your money and what isn’t, I suggest that the Costa Victoria get some help from the American Catholic Church on how to conduct a BINGO event. I spent twenty dollars for three paper bingo cards and two games of bingo. The first game was worth fifty dollars and  the second game was worth two hundred and fifty. The entire event took about fifteen or twenty minutes.

The ports of call, in general, were excellent, especially Limon in Costa Rica. The people of Costa Rica should be the examples for other Latin American countries to follow. The prices for souvenirs and other South American trinkets were the best in Cartagena and Cozumel, expensive in Aruba  and Panama and fair in Costa Rica.

One last critical comment regards events that were held in a nightclub area called the Concorde Plaza. I make this observation having been a director in the theatre for over forty years. The special events held in this area by the young people called the ‘animators’ were a lot of fun and very entertaining however, they would bring into this nightclub between a hundred and two hundred people, at the close of each one of these special events they would get a large group of participants up on to the dance floor and the club would really begin to shake. Everyone in the club, dancing and not dancing, were ready to party!! At the end of the group dance, the ‘animators’ would vanish along with the band, leaving one hundred to two hundred hyper people in a quiet vacuum. A tape, played very low, of Frank Sinatra would come over the sound system. You now had two hundred people with nothing to do but sit in silence, move on to another event, or go to bed. I ask why????

Once again, if you are in love and/or have a partner, either for a short romance or for a life time and desire to take a cruise where memories will last you through the years, then I recommend, without reservations, the Costa Victoria. It is a most beautiful ship and certainly deserves the title as the ‘gem’ of the Italian cruise fleet.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert W. West

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