We sailed with Costa (Fortuna) from Italy on a Greek island cruise. The Fortuna has a large block of cabins over the grand bar with no sound proofing. The bar fires up loud live music at around 6:30pm and goes until 3am. Even the housekeeping manager said it was unacceptably loud, and called customer service from our cabin to complain on our behalf. If you have one of those cabins you will not be able to sleep until the bar shuts down. We took this cruise hoping to rest up from a month of strenuous travel in Europe. It turns out that Costa customer service is really an impenetrable stone wall. CS staff are trained to never allow you to speak with someone who has the authority to do anything about a problem. If you persist, they will become rude and abusive. The situation was so bad we and our travel agent began communicating to Costa corporate leadership in the USA. They responded in exactly the same way as CS on the ship. They were rude, dismissive, and when we persisted in requesting help they became abusive. We soon requested a refund knowing Costa is owned by Carnival which has a satisfaction guarantee. Costa flatly refused. When you get on a Costa cruise you had better be prepared to take whatever they dish out. Costa advertises a "Sophisticated European atmosphere on board." This is simple not true. This cruise was packed with rude, pushy, unsophisticated people, most of whom repeatedly demonstrated zero regard for other people. And while most of the world is dropping the tobacco habit, half the passengers on this cruise chain smoke. There is no open air place on this ship where you can escape the stench of tobacco. The ship does not have adequate facilities to feed its 3500 passengers. This results in extremely long snaking lines, a 30 minute wait to get at the extremely mediocre food, and a dining room with no room to dine. Costa creates interesting itineraries, and then allows only a couple of hours to see them. On this cruise small tenders were frequently required to get ashore, so the available time was often cut in half. In many cases it is simply not worth the trouble, unless you are just port bagging. This review would not be complete without mentioning that all PA announcements were loudly repeated in 6 languages, so it takes all day for this passenger strip mining operation to communicate its endless opportunities for passengers to surrender more of their hard earned cash. And of course there is no place to escape this barrage because sound proofing appears to be a foreign concept to Costa. For us, this was a cruise in hell. Do yourself a favor and go with a more reputable company with a track record of taking care of people.
So you went on an Italian cruise line from Italy to Greece and were surprised that announcements had to be done in 6 languages? Or that nightlife is a big thing to them? Or that Europeans smoke a lot? That all seems typical to me.
It would be helpful if you understood the corporate structure of Carnival Corporaton & PLC. Carnival PLC owns Costa, just as it owns Carnival Cruise Line. Carnival Cruise Line has the vacation guarantee, it is not something Carnival PLC offers to all of it's subsidiary cruise lines. Think of it as Carnival PLC being General Motors, Costa being Buick, and Carnival Cruise Line being Chevrolet. Chevy might offer a special financing deal but Buick might not.
And while most of the world is dropping the tobacco habit, half the passengers on this cruise chain smoke.
Wow, that IS a reduction from past years!
I'm really sorry to hear about the bad time you had on your cruise. Having a noisy cabin and encountering long lines is indeed very frustrating. Did you try to get moved to a different cabin, with the help of the Housekeeping Manager?
Since you worked with a travel agent, I'm surprised you weren't prepared for announcements in several languages, lots of smokers, and some of the other aspects of the cruise. These things are typical of Europe-based cruise lines, of which Costa is one.
In fact, Costa is a very reputable company. I've had two very enjoyable cruises on Costa, as have many other people on this discussion board. Like with any cruise line, knowing what to expect goes a long way in having your experience match your expectations. No one cruise line is right or wrong for every person.
This may be your opinion of how you saw your cruise. I'm sure there's many who had a totally different experience and wouldn't describe the cruise with the colorful adjectives such as you have. First, your travel agent would have been wise to brief you on what to expect with Costa sailing out of Europe. More and more people each year discover the wonderful world of cruising. This includes those from many other countries than America. We live in a diverse world and everyone should learn to tolerate those from different cultures. The cruise lines have adapted to this by offering announcements and the daily events paper in different languages. Even the cruise lines sailing in the Caribbean are making announcements in different languages.
The Costa Fortuna has plenty of places to eat. Including two main dining rooms each two level, the buffet area, and a Dining Club. The buffet area can often be crowded at peak times. Particularly in that hour before the ships sails after being in port all day.
As Dave mentioned Costa is owned by Carnival Corp & PLC. Not Carnival Cruise Lines. It is Carnival Cruise Lines that has the vacation guarantee. Even with Carnival Cruise Lines guarantee you must request to leave the ship before the first port.
I find the comment about rude and pushy people to be funny because before I left for my first European trip..I read some reviews stating the same..I was concerned before my vacation and to very much my surprise I found everyone, mostly European..to be very nice and friendly. I actually made friends on board from different countries that I still keep in touch with. It is clearly ones own fault and thier TA for not doing their homework regarding any trip. I always ask where my room is and make sure ahead of time it is located in an area to my liking. If the ship is crowded and I have no choice...be thankful your on. Also with a European cruise ...one could only expect that announcements would be in different languages. Why would one think only
American should only be spoken. The solution here is to travel local..As far as smoking..it is not a surprise or a secret that the European culture enjoys their smokes. As I have said before..it is the individual person..their acceptance of others and own personality to whether they enjoy themselves. I personnally cannot wait to go back and meet more people of different cultures and happen to love hearing the announcments(my kids try to compare languages). Going on the Fortuna soon by the way and this time I am not concerned.
Hi bobj, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Sorry to hear your cruise was not enjoyable. We've sailed on Costa 4 times and loved each one. I can't wait to go back. The toga party, the fantastic entertainment, the cuisine, and the crew have always made our cruises enjoyable. That being said, there are many Americans that loathe Costa. Thank heavens for choice.
Your travel agent should have pointed out that it is a different type of cruising experience. Your travel agent should have shown you where your room was located and explained to you that Europeans enjoy music, dancing, eating, and having a good time.
It sounds like Costa was not a good fit for you, so when booking your next cruise, make sure your travel agent understands what your requirements are, before spending your hard earned money.
We hope you will post on our board and share some good experiences on your cruises. Best wishes!