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Old 03-14-2006, 12:42 PM
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I have booked the bermuda/bahama cruise on Costa Magica in April. I would like to hear from anyone else that has taken this particular cruise on what are some worthwhile and interesting excursions when docked at these two ports..also their experiences on the boat..thanks so much!
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Old 03-16-2006, 09:32 AM
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Here is my review.
We just got back from our Costa Magica cruise (March 5 – 12, 2006). Sailing together were my Fiancé (38) and I (34).

We had a fabulous time!!!

Our Itinerary
Arrive Depart
Sun – Ft. Lauderdale 4:30 pm
Mon – AT SEA --- ---
Tues – San Juan, Puerto Rico 5:00pm Midnight
Wed – St. Thomas/St. John 8:00am 5:00pm
Thu – Catalina Island, Dom Rep 8:00am 5:00pm
Thu – La Romana, Dom Rep
Fri – AT SEA
Sat – Nassau, Bahamas 1:00pm 6:00pm
Sun – Ft. Lauderdale 8:00am



EMBARKATION

We got up around 4am and loaded our car up with our luggage and headed to Ft. Lauderdale from Miami. Went and grabbed some breakfast and parked in the lot. We remembered to use our parking coupon for Park ‘n Fly in the travel documents as well as set aside around $55 dollars to pay for parking when we returned.

Embarkation was one hour and was not bad.

Once onboard, our cabins were not ready, so we headed to the Bellagio Buffet. GREAT FOOD!! They had an assortment of olives, tarts, savory tarts, pizza, prosciutto, Greek salad and more!! I thought the food was great.

After lunch, we went to the Steam Room, Sauna Room and Whirlpool. We didn’t find out about this free feature until the last day of our first cruise, so we made sure we utilized it the first day. So refreshing and nice. The steam room looks over the ocean and is very relaxing.

After that, we did the lifeboat drill. Yes it was in Italian, Spanish, French and English, but I have to tell you that it was not bad. It was organized and was shorter than our previous drill on the Carnival Valor. So those of you who fear this, fear not. Just bring a handheld fan with you and you will be fine.

THE SHIP

The ship is absolutely beautiful. We were on the Carnival Valor back in October and the Costa Magica is the same layout. The colors on the Magica are filled with deep gold and rich red tones. In the main atrium, when you enter the ship, you look up and see the beautiful windowed elevator in rich gold tones.

The piano bar opened up to the casino. Didn’t partake much in that. The Carnival Valor Piano bar (my only other cruise) was so much better. The piano rotated around while the people sat around the bar. Much more quaint.

THE CABIN
We had an inside cabin on the bottom deck. It was nice. Lots of storage space. I see no reason why people should bring over-the-door-shoe racks to hold their stuff. There is plenty of room for two peoples’ things on the shelves. Maybe if you have more people in your cabin, okay – otherwise, don’t bring it.

We had heard the Costa beds were uncomfortable. And yes, when we got to our cabin and sat on the bed, it was very hard. We immediately asked for a mattress topper. We received it and it made all the difference in the world. Remember when you sail Costa to ask for it.

Also, our Cabin Steward was AWESOME!!! Looked after our every need. Had no complaints.

THE SHOWS
I thought The Shows were great! There was a show with two brothers who were acrobats. They twisted themselves into very odd and unique shapes on ropes hanging from the ceiling. They also had a lady who sang “Don’t Cry for me Argentina!”. Really great, entertaining show.

THE FOOD
Okay – I was scared to death. I had heard so many horror stories on this site about the food and was ready to smuggle in food. To alleviate all of your fears, I thought the food was great.

They always had a selection of olives, Italian meats, breads and very good olive oil to dip the hard bread. It was funny to hear people complaining that the bread was too hard! I guess they didn’t know the Italian way of doing things!

One evening when we dined in the main dining room, I had a refreshing fruit cup for an appetizer, broccoli soup, a salad with blue cheese dressing and a delicious steak, medium rare. For dessert, I was so full, that I only had cheese and crackers – all of which was delicious. I cannot understand what people on Cruise Critic were complaining about the food. I had a wonderful dining experience each meal.

Went to Tea Time - very delicious! They had a variety of sandwiches and cookies. It was pretty good and if you do go on the Magica, don’t miss it.

Went to the Midnight Buffet one night. Hundreds of beautiful, tasty desserts, pretty ice sculptures and cheese carvings. Don’t miss that either.

On the last night of the cruise, we went to the Gala Dinner, where we enjoyed Shrimp Cocktail, delicious Risotto, Lobster and Champagne. The only thing I can complain about the last dinner was when the waiter’s came out with cakes with sparklers on them and the loud music. They turned a wonderful evening into a disaster for us. We were enjoying a quiet, nice meal – then it turned to chaos. They should not do this.

THE PORTS

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
We finally see the port of San Juan around 4:00 pm on Tuesday. I was not impressed and do not understand why the ships stop here, other than the fact that St. Thomas is only 8 hours away. Basically all we did was go shopping, get some T-shirts and postcards and looked around.

ST. THOMAS / ST. JOHN – VIRGIN ISLANDS
The main reason I booked this cruise was to take the ferry over to St. John. We arrived in St. Thomas around 7:30 – 8:00 am – We got off the ship and immediately hailed a Taxi to take us to the ferry. What a nice ferry ride we had. St. John is a magical, pristine, gorgeous place not to be mussed. The scenery was even more beautiful than the pictures.

The reason St. John stays so beautiful is because in the 1950’s Laurance Rockefeller purchased 5,000 acres from a company in the West Indies and donated it to the United States.

We snorkeled at Truck Bay and I have to tell you to swim in these waters and look up and see these beautiful curving mountains jutting from the ocean is quite a sight to behold. We snorkeled and saw needlefish, blue tangs, lots of parrotfish and many other fish. If you go here, do not forget your underwater camera.

Got the ferry back to St. Thomas and went shopping. Got a great deal on a beautiful embroidered beach bag and some duty-free liquor.

I wish I could live on St. John! Needless to say, we didn’t want to go back to the ship! Wanted to note that I met a fellow American on the ferry and she and I wanted to find Kenny Chesney on St. John and kidnap him (we were joking around), but we didn’t have the time! I tell you what, Kenny sure picked a beautiful place to live!

CATALINA ISLAND / LA ROMANA – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

We tendered off Catalina Island early Thursday morning. This was out beach day and it was Costa’s private island. We were the first ones to the island and it was just beautiful. I thought it was really interesting how Costa used the lifeboats to get you to the island. The guy even let me steer the lifeboat to the island for a little while!! I was really impressed. It is nice to know that the lifeboats are motorized, covered and safe. I was really impressed with the lifeboat ride. Let’s me know that if there is ever a real emergency, you would be fine in the lifeboat.

Anyways, we get to the island and I go up to the shops on the island and was immediately bombarded with locals trying to sell me stuff. This turned me off, but I did not let this get the best of me. I returned to my chair, got my snorkel equipment ready and headed to the water. Saw huge schools of blue tangs, needlefish, puffer fish and these really cool tiny, blue, metallic fish.

They had a huge cookout there with hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, pasta, juice and cakes for dessert. It was a really fun day and I enjoyed snorkeling, sunning and relaxing.

Now onto La Romana. Went on a tour of La Romana. Got two inexpensive bottles of rum and a t-shirt. Took an unnecessary tour of the city. A waste of my time and energy. We should have gone back to the boat. Not much to see there.


NASSAU, BAHAMAS
Got up early – around 5 am – Saw the sunrise – really nice. Booked a shore excursion to go on a Catamaran to snorkel. The island of Nassau has some of the prettiest, clearest water I have seen. It also helped that it was a really sunny, nice day.

I was really nervous because I had heard that Bahamas was infested with sharks. But my nerves were quelled after I went snorkeling. I didn’t see one shark! We were the first ones off the catamaran and the last ones to get back on. Such a beautiful reef! We saw starfish on the ocean floor, Cayman fish, blue tangs, grouper, beautiful coral and sergeant majors. There were people feeding the fish cheez whiz (I know, I know), but the fish would swarm around you. I got some excellent shots with my camera!

On the way back from the excursion on the boat, we had some Red Stripe beer and got some awesome views of the mansions and expensive yachts on the shoreline of Nassau.

TOGA NIGHT
Costa has Toga Night the night before disembarkation. They give you a sheet and a gold paper crown and instructions on how to wrap your toga. I went by myself because my DF was so tired.

It was a lot of fun to see everyone in there togas. I think this adds a special touch to the Costa Cruise experience and I am glad they include it.

DISEMBARKATION
It’s always painless for us because we live in Miami. We are always about the last ones off the ship. We set our bags out the night before. Got off the ship and Park-N-Fly picked us up and took us to our car. This is a great tip for people parking their car at Ft. Lauderdale. If you look in your cruise documents, there is a coupon to get about $50 off the parking. We used this and only had to pay $52.00 to park for 7 days!!!!

Very sad the cruise is over!

SEA DAYS
We really had a lot of fun during the sea days on the Magica. We did the Arts and Crafts every sea day. We painted little clay saucers, clay pots and T-shirts. It was very relaxing. We also went to teatime and that was to die for!

It is also very relaxing to go to the spa during sea days. A lot of people do not realize that on the cruise ships, that in the Spa, the whirlpool, sauna and steam rooms are free of charge. The steam room looks over the ocean and it is all so very relaxing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys this kind of thing!

Formal nights on Sea Days on the Magica are really fun too. Everyone dresses to the nines and we watched couples dance in one of the public rooms. It was very entertaining as they had live singers.

Also wanted to say that at the pool they do have a live band. The pools were cold and I didn’t use them, but the Jacuzzis were very nice and we used these on the sea days as well.

SIDE NOTES

The last day at sea, I went to breakfast and got my plate and went to go sit down. I saw a chair that was leaning against the table and did not think anything of it. A few minutes later, an older lady came up to me and told me that I was sitting at her table. Well I looked at the table and it was only me sitting there. I proceeded to look at the back of the chair and informed her that I did not see her name on the chair. She then proceeded to sit down with me and we had a “quiet” breakfast together (ha! ha!). I did tell her though, that I always got my breakfast first then picked out a table to sit at and not the other way around.

DECK-CHAIR SAVERS

They are really bad on this ship. One morning, I saw a man proceed to take all the towels off the towel shelf and throw them onto six different chairs. I watched for quite awhile as they proceeded to what I assumed, go get breakfast. I then watched an elderly couple look at these empty chairs and put their stuff on the chairs and leave.

I watched as the previous man’s wife comes along and move this elderly couples things and take "her" deck chairs back.

I was appaud at these “adults” behaviour. I would have expected this behaviour from teenagers and not from grown adults. A lot of people on this cruise (deck chair savers, table savers) had no class and they were all adults acting like this.

CONCLUSION

I would sail Costa again in a heartbeat. I had a blast. A cruise is what you make of it – You can either be miserable or have a great time. I chose to have a great time, and that is exactly what I had.

The lifeboat drill was short and to the point, the food was excellent, the ship was beautiful, the activities were fun and the ports were pretty good (except for La Romana, Dominican Republic and San Juan).

I recommend Costa.
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2006, 01:34 PM
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 495
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Thanks for the awesome review! A friend of mine just sailed the Magica this winter and he loved it, too. Is it true she is in the Mediterranean in the summer? I wish there was a Costa ship sailing out of the US as Costa gives substantial discounts to kids...

I digress.

Great review!

Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2006, 05:39 PM
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Thanks so much for such an informative account of your trip..I am really looking forward to it and I'm like you...you go on vaction for a fun and you make the best of whatever you get..it usually turns out great!!..
 
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