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Costa Cruises: Costa Classica

Costa Classica Review

Launched in 1992 and substantially upgraded in 2001 and 2005, Costa Classica features unique murals in its main restaurant that transform the windows into scenes from the Renaissance and Roman times. Costa Classica has Eastern and Western Mediterranean routes

as well as voyages in the Middle East from Dubai on her schedule.

These two sister ships were designed to bring the Costa fleet up to speed with other cruise lines in the 1990s, and the effort paid off. Public areas clustered on upper decks are filled with marble and furnished with sleek, contemporary furnishings and modern Italian artworks. The effect is vibrant, chic, and surprisingly restful. Lounges and bars are sweeping and grand; however, the areas set aside for children are skimpy by today's family-friendly standards. The two ships diverged again after Costa Romantica's major transformation in 2012. Neither ship has a true promenade deck, but the Lido areas for sunning and swimming are expansive.

Midsize and intimate, each ship retains a like-new luster from regular refurbishments. Unfortunately, Costa Classica lacks the large number of balconies that have become as popular with Europeans as North Americans. Costa neoRomantica holds the edge here, with balconies added during her refurbishment.

Europe's number-one cruise line combines a Continental experience, enticing itineraries, and Italy's classical design and style with relaxing days and romantic nights at sea. Genoa-based Costa Crociere, parent company of Costa Cruise Lines, had been in the shipping business for more than 100 years and in the passenger business for almost 50 years when it was bought by Airtours and Carnival Corporation in 1997. In 2000 Carnival completed a buyout of the Costa line and began expanding the fleet with larger and more dynamic ships.

An ongoing shipbuilding program has brought Costa ships into the 21st century with innovative large-ship designs that reflect their Italian heritage and style without overlooking the amenities expected by modern cruisers. Acknowledging changing habits (even among Europeans), Costa Cruises has eliminated smoking entirely in dining rooms and show lounges. However, smokers are permitted to light up in designated areas in other public rooms, as well as on the pool deck.

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What You Should Know

Pros

  • The layout of these midsized ships makes it easy to learn your way around
  • Duty-free shops have Italian designer goods as well as the usual logo stuff
  • The observatory has a 360-degree view by day and morphs into a disco at night

Cons

  • Outside cabins on the lowest passenger decks have large portholes instead of picture windows
  • There are no self-service passenger laundry rooms
  • With smoking areas in most lounges, the smell of cigarette smoke can be bothersome
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 590
  • Entered Service 1992
  • Gross Tons 53,000
  • Length 723 feet
  • Number of Cabins 654
  • Passenger Capacity 1,308
  • Width 102 feet
  • New

Sep 26, 2012

Ancona to Ancona East Med

An unacceptable experience and would not recommend a cruise on Costa Cruise lines to anyone. This is a floating boarding house. There is one "formal" restaurant which I describe as the Officers' Mess whilst the self service offering is at best a canteen offering poor quality and variety of food. The guest relations, security and bar service staff were blatantly rude and disinterested. We had booked a suite for our cruise which was fortunate as we

would have left the cruise if we were in a regular cabin. Nevertheless we were awaken each morning very early by the sound of deck chairs and loungers being dragged about by cleaners on the deck above. The is only one movie channel that plays the same daily film continually. The biggest joke was the tender boat system to disembark to Corfu. We had to sit in the theatre and when an Officer indicated from the stage, charge the stage to collect a ticket in number order for a tender boat; it was like herding cattle. Atrocious food. Our suite was the only positive thing about this disaster of a cruise even though we had the noise of the deck hands dragging deck furniture about on the deck above very early each morning. We never use any ship's tours as they are very pricey even for an excursion to a beach. You can rent a car for cheaper. The process of disembarkation at Ports was abominable and served to reduce our shore time. Passengers are not allowed to bring any food or drink on board citing "In the interests of health and safety nothing may be brought aboard..". I have never heard of anything more dishonest. All it is meant to do is exploit a captive market on board. Costa gave me the impression that want to keep you on board as long as possible to exploit you.

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  • New

Sep 26, 2012

Ancona to Ancona East Med

An unacceptable experience and would not recommend a cruise on Costa Cruise lines to anyone. This is a floating boarding house. There is one "formal" restaurant which I describe as the Officers' Mess whilst the self service offering is at best a canteen offering poor quality and variety of food. The guest relations, security and bar service staff were blatantly rude and disinterested. We had booked a suite for our cruise which was fortunate as we

would have left the cruise if we were in a regular cabin. Nevertheless we were awaken each morning very early by the sound of deck chairs and loungers being dragged about by cleaners on the deck above. The is only one movie channel that plays the same daily film continually. The biggest joke was the tender boat system to disembark to Corfu. We had to sit in the theatre and when an Officer indicated from the stage, charge the stage to collect a ticket in number order for a tender boat; it was like herding cattle. Atrocious food. Our suite was the only positive thing about this disaster of a cruise even though we had the noise of the deck hands dragging deck furniture about on the deck above very early each morning. We never use any ship's tours as they are very pricey even for an excursion to a beach. You can rent a car for cheaper. The process of disembarkation at Ports was abominable and served to reduce our shore time. Passengers are not allowed to bring any food or drink on board citing "In the interests of health and safety nothing may be brought aboard..". I have never heard of anything more dishonest. All it is meant to do is exploit a captive market on board. Costa gave me the impression that want to keep you on board as long as possible to exploit you.

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  • New

May 15, 2012

Singapore-Hong Kong

We truly enjoyed our Classic Lady, Costa Classica. A little bit of old style cruise experience with a comfortable cruise, fantastic crew, good italian food and great destinations enroute. In addition we slept well in very comfortable beds in Classica roomy cabins. All in all, a very good experience! Great, italian food can never go wrong! Comfortable, clean and quiet. Plentiful I absolutely adore Costa Classica!

  • New

Jul 20, 2006

Scandinavia and Russia

Chris George Dave Henton Just returned from a Baltic cruise on Costa's Classica out of Kiel, Germany- one of only EIGHT Americans (and 20 people in the English-language group) out of 1,500 passengers, it was a delightful experience! Our fellow passengers were mostly Germans (~ 2/3rds), French, Italians and Spaniards. The English-speaking group included Brits, S. Africans, Irish, and eastern Europeans. This was our SIXTH cruise

and FIFTH line, and this is how Costa compared: The room (a standard outside) was the largest we've ever had, complete with a HUGE head. Both the cabin stewardess and ALL of the restaurant staff were also the best we've ever had- wonderful, gracious, attentive and skilled service. Very Nice! Costa has gotten much better about the announcements! The only five-language announcements made throughout the ship were safety ones pertaining to lifeboat drills. Otherwise, our cabin was delightfully quiet. Shipboard entertainment was OUTSTANDING and varied. There was a superb magician, authentic Andalucian flamenco artists, good bands, and an ecellent dance troupe. During our overnight in St. Petersburg, we had BOTH first-rate Russian folk dancers and musicians and a superb troupe of acrobats. Shore excursions were good and varied, if costly. (The strong Euro/weak dollar definitely hurt!) Food was highly inconsistent, and ranged from excellent to poor. I found this inconsistency to be problematic BOTH in the restaurant and at the buffet. As written by other posters, pastas and baked goods were typically excellent. There were also more options than first appeared to be the case. For example, in addition to a late evening snack, there were other meal options some nights and afternoons- i.e. midnight buffet, poolside seafood, afternoon tea, etc. COFFEE and TEA were unavailable until the opening of the buffet- sometimes as late as 7:00AM- a truly PERPLEXING oversight. (Room Service ends at 5:00am, so basically COFFEE was UNAVAILABLE at the exact time when most early risers would expect it.) Overall, Costa represented good value for the money, and was a positive experience. I would sail with them again in Europe, but probably not in the Americas.  

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Mar 7, 2004

Southern Caribbean

After many years of "hints", my wife finally was able to get me to agree to our first cruise ever. Our travel agent was instructed to pick interesting islands, not too many days at sea and warm weather! Well, the agent recommended a 7 day Caribbean cruise on the Costa Classica, setting sail from the Dominican Republic in 2 weeks. Sounded like a little slice of heaven. Our troubles started when we received the

tickets from Air Transat, the vacation planner, made out to the wrong people. Plus, in their brochure and what was told from our travel agent, you needed to have a valid passport. What they don't tell you, but is printed on your itinerary, is that your passport must have atleast 6 months of validation left on it. As mine had only 2 months, we were scrambling again. Fortunately I have dual citizenship so we could use my U.K. passport. We found out that the remaining 2 months of validation on my Canadian passport was never a problem. In fact, never asked for my passport except in leaving from the Dominican Republic. The Air Transat flight from Toronto to the Dominican Republic went well and we were greeted at the airport by the Costa representative, who arranged for our bags to be loaded in the bus. Off we went to the cruise ship. Now I've heard and read "horror stories" on embarkation on cruise ships but this was not the case for us. Minimal waiting time and a pleasant crew welcoming us aboard. But things were about to change. Our first night for dinner proved to be interesting. What was ordered never arrived but being hungry, took what was offered. The second night for dinner, we had first sitting and a table reservations. WE were very fortunate as out of a passenger list of 1200, 22 of us spoke English and 6 were at our table! However, it became rather humerous to see each night how our waiter could get our orders wrong. Being an Italian ship, I would have thought the food would have been excellent - on the contrary. Lack of taste and amount being offered. Even at lunches, the food at best was unpalatable. One day for lunch my wife and I had their hamburger plate only to be both violently sick 2 hours later. I certainly was under the impression that food was always available on cruises...not on the Costa Classica. Specific times only. As to certain "requests" - hardly. One morning we asked the kitchen staff for some "sugar free" jam and were given a plate of sugar laden jam. Even their fruit was picked too soon and was never ripe. On two occasions, my wife had asked for hot water for her tea and both times the staff looked at her and walked away. Guess knowing Italian is mandatory on this cruise line! As to our room, while "nice and comfortable", our room steward always forgot to give us face cloths and you were never able to get additional towels when asked. During the 7 days, our T.V. went on the blink and was never repaired properly. On the 6th day our toilet stopped working. While it was "fixed" later that evening, the 7th day broke down again and we were without a working toilet for the last day. Entertainment was "amateurish". The "casino" consisted of a dozen or so slot machines housed in the same room as video games for the teenagers. We really never took in the "things to do aboard" as each day we went exploring each island. However, their "entertainment" consisted of napkin folding and how to make paper flowers.So stimulating I'm sure!! The itinerary for visiting the islands was as promised but the Costa land tours were very expensive and in euro dollars. In fact two islands we visited the local currency was in Euro dollars...our travel agent forgot to tell us that as we brought along only American Dollars. Even aboard the ship everything was costly..even a glass of water from the bar (would have thought it was free) cost .50 euro (that's $1 Canadian) for water - only a glass! The last day (and we were glad to be leaving) was typical of our cruise. As the Candians were leaving the ship first, we were told to meet in the theater at 12:30 for disembarking. The day before, we were told that as we were leaving the ship and not staying in the Dominican Republic, we didn't have to clear Immigration. Well at 12:25 last day, a message came over the loud speaker saying all Canadians had to get their passport stamped. Some of us ran to get their passports stamped while others didn't, As it turned out we didn't need to..but conflicting stories from our English Costa host. As for the crew themselves, some of the wait staff always went out of their way to speak but the crew in uniforms (officers) they walked around never smiling and never once greeted you even if cornered in the hallway. One of the first things we did when we got home was to fire off an email to our travel agent recommending that they never push the Costa line on any future customer. The really funny part was today, 2 weeks after our Costa experience, my wife was asked where she got her tan from. So after going into great deal of warning about the Costa line, the sales clerk said she had heard the same warning from one of her customers that same morning. We are not alone!! Stay away from the Costa Classica!!

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