[COLOR:PURPL"Cruising Armenian Style"E]"Cruising Armenian Style"[/COLOR]
Please ready this carefully if you wish to book a cruise with Costa on any of their ships.
When booking, please ask your travel agent to find out if Costa chartered part of their ship to an ethnic group, as Costa will not tell you that.
The day of the embarkation (1/15/06) we were greeted by a HUGE banner hung in the lobby stating : Armenian Heritage Cruise . We found out little time after that about 75% of the ship (or 1400-1500 people) was chartered to some armenian group coming from all over the world. This group have been sailing with Costa on the same week of January for the 9th year now. The cruise line should of told my agent about this right away considering the size of this group.
On at least 3 nights, Costa would close the pool deck so they can host their own pool parties and midnight buffets. We were blocked the access even if we only wanted to walk through it. They closed down part of a beach in St-Maarten to have their own private beach party. When we camed back to the ship after a day in port, we were greeted by their loud folk music blasting from the stage at the main pool. The ship had non-smoking areas, but people were smoking all over the place. Some lounges and the casino were overtaken by them at night.
We would of booked on another of their ships if we knew that.
I sent a complaint letter to Costa, I will keep you all posted on the outcome. Hopefully they have a good customer service department. It was our first time cruising with them.
Now for the review, I have to say that other than being stuck on a ship full of this ethnic group, this cruise would of been very good. The food was very good everywhere, everything was so clean, the entertaiment was AMAZING at all times, the staff was happy, the alchoolic beverages were reasonably priced ($4.25 for a Corona, $3.95 for a Bacardi cooler). I only think it lacked good look-out points and there was no mini-golf like on the RCI ships. The cabin size was good (category 4 obstructed oceanview) lots of closet and drawer space, the shower temperature and pressure was optimal. The midnight buffets are something to see. One night, they hosted the buffet in their spotless kitchen. The other night, the buffet was in the dining room on deck two. There was bread and ice sculptures and food carvings. I only wanted chocolate-dipped strawberries and they were all gone by the time I got there. I asked one of the chefs if they had more downstairs..He went down in the kitchen and he made me some!!! This made my whole cruise better!!!
We would go back on another cruise with them, if they offer an itinerary that no other lines offer. Next year, we will try RCI's Freedom of the Seas for sure...
Send me a message if you wish to have more info...
Virtually every major cruise line will book large groups, and they could book after you do, so you wouldn't find out until you got there. I'm not sure the travel insurance companies would consider "avoiding a large group" to be a valid reason for cancellation. I'm sorry that interfered with your cruise; glad you had some nice little things happen to help brighten the experience.
I will give out more background to this story..
This Armenian Heritage group has been sailing with Costa for 9 year now. Our table waiter told me that next year, they will be on the new Concordia ship in the same week. These large groups usually book those sailings at least one year in advance... My travel agent told me that the cruise lines post themed-cruises and member cruises on their reservation sites. This was not posted. The costa rep did not say anything to her either. Oh well.. I sent a complaint letter to Costa, I will keep you all posted on the outcome. This cruise line is adsertising very aggressively in Canada, it's in their advantage to keep me happy
I am soooo going back to Royal Caribbean next year!!! They ROCK!
Originally posted by arckac:
Interesting reading. I am considering a Costa Cruise for next April. Im wondering if any cruise line would let you know if there was a large group on any of their ships!
arckac: I saw your countdown to the Adventure of the Seas... I was on that one last year AND WE HAD THE TIME OF OUR LIVES!!! Don't forget to visit the Peek-a-boo bridge and to go on the helicopter pad up front!!! RCI knows how to make young people have fun!
Thank you, this will be our 4th RCCL Cruise. Last year we went on the Serenade of the Seas. What a beautiful ship. We have been looking forward to this cruise since the summer of 04 when we discussed both the Serenade and the AOS. We decided to do one each winter.
My wife, son and I have become very partial to the new Holland America ships. We enjoy cruises that have a great deal of participation events and found that to be the case on our two Zuiderdam cruises. What caught my eye about the Costa cruises were the prices for next April on Cruise Value Centers site. Outstanding.
I do have a question. What is the peek a boo bridge?
Deck 11 is the first ship length deck on the Explorer and is also full of leisure opportunities. If we move down to deck 11 from deck 12 and go all the way forward, we are on top of the bridge and there is a very outstanding area where you can watch what is going on in the bridge area. Known as “Peek-a-Boo Bridge”, it is well worth a visit if you are interested in the operations of the ship.
Holland is popular with young people too? From What I saw on the Rotterdam last year, It looked like a cruise line for 75-80+ crowds. We are also curious to try Celebrity, which is upscale of RCI's ships but I don't think they have the rock climbing walls, the mini-golf, the ice-skating rink and rolleblade track I want to know more about the Serenade, maybe we will go on that one when we cruise to Alaska. The prices for that ship are very expensive compared to other RCI ships, I wonder why. I will do my research on the RCI's post board!
Yes, HAL is popular with young people too. The new Vista class ship are very popular. You will always have some cruises though where the mix may be older or younger. It depends on itinerary, time of year, cost of cruise etc. That's why using a Travel Agent certified as a cruise counselor is important. Too many people book on the internet and "Think" they are getting a good price. The truth is--if you book on price only, you may not be matched with the cruise and ship that is right for you. If you then don't enjoy the cruise, then it wasn't such a good price was it?