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Costa Cruises: Costa Classica

Fodorite Reviews

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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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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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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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Nov 30, -0001

Santos – Porto Belo – Ilhabela – Santos

After making a comfortable one-hour transfer by bus (provided by Costa), we arrived at the port of Santos. Embarkation was defined in one word: chaos. It took more than five hours to get to the ship. We stood three and a half hours in line before reaching the check-in counter. There were only eight Costa attendants for 1.700 passengers! My accommodations (Individual inside cat. 10 – Genova deck) had soft colors, beautiful

wood cabinetry, a desk with mirror, minibar-refrigerator, personal safe, TV set, some amenities and was clean and comfortable. The closets were ample and the cabin had one extra bed, which I asked to be removed from the cabin. The soundproofing is simply non-existent; you can hear everything from the hallways and neighbor cabins. The room service is limited and has extra charge (US $2.50). The cabin steward Henry, from Guatemala was good, keeping cabin clean and made up. The Tivoli Restaurant is used in two seatings; although well decorated it has white plain ceilings, too close together tables and is extremely noisy (sometimes you cannot hear your tablemate). My table fellows were interesting people and made my dinings nicer. The food was completely tasteless, really mediocre and the service was rushed, impersonal (the waiter, Mr. Flores, have did not even introduce himself to us) and lacked finesse. The Buffet LaTratoria used for breakfast and alternative lunch is very informal, but the food is better than in the main restaurant. The Pizza served in the Taverneta is the worst I have ever tried in ships. Breakfast and Midnight Buffets were good, with lots of fresh fruit. There was an excellent Captain cocktail party with an interesting speech of the master, good music and very good drinks and appetizers. The dress code is very casual and few men wore jack & tie in some occasions. Entertainment was also good with nice music and shows. The boutiques have good selections and the photo-shop is very good. Shore excursions are expensive and limited so I took independent tours in both ports. This ship has been very well maintained and has an innovative Italian design project, plenty of steel and marbles, but angular and cold in some areas. The high density of this vessel means that there is little room to move about when full. The number of public lounges and rooms is limited. The planned stretching with the insertion of a new mid-section, introducing many new cabins, will make the ship more profitable, but even more uncomfortable when with total capacity. Debarkation was surprisingly smooth. Ports of Call: Porto Belo The small island is very nice and has rain forest, small beaches, bar, restaurant and nautical sports. The small town does not worth the visit. Ilhabela The highlight of the cruise; this island is great in natural beauty, crowned by steep mountains with rainforest and rimmed with gorgeous beaches – a place as marvelous as its name, which means “beautiful island”. To preserve the charm of the island, local law dictates that no building may stand taller than two stories. The island’s exquisite shorelines beckon you to swim, snorkel, dive in the numerous shipwrecks or just lounge along the water edge. In town you can shop the island’s boutiques, savor a tropical fruit ice cream or a Brazilian coffee in one of the charming cafés.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Mediterranean 7 days

My wife and I booked our (first ever) 7 day cruise on the Costa Classica 3 weeks before travel via an English Travel Our package included return flights from London Stanstead Airport to Genoa in North Italy from where the ship was to sail, then to visit; Naples, Palermo, Tunisia, Palma, Barcelona, Marseilles and back to Genoa. Once our tickets and detailed itinerary arrived we were slightly worried because over 5 hours had

been allowed between arrival at Genoa airport and embarkation but only 30 minutes for the return journey. We flew from Stanstead with Ryanair, which required a 6am check in! The plane was half an hour late leaving as I think they had mislaid the crew. Embarkation at Genoa was a bad experience. After arrival at the Genoa docks we joined long queue to check it. We were informed that embarkation would not start for at least two hours (our bus had been late from the airport which did reduce the wait). Other passengers mostly, French, German, Italian, Spanish and American had arrived by different means and had varying delays.   Promised free drinks never appeared and the Genoa terminal building has no facilities - it is a dump.  On this day it was cold and raining. The only refreshments were available from a cafe outside the terminal. Our schedule showed our next meal to be 9pm that night. Between plane taking off at 7.30 am to 9pm no provision at all had been made for our comfort. Ryanair, do not even carry food on their planes. Once on the ship we received a warm reception and were personally shown to our cabin, where our luggage was ready and waiting. Our outside cabin was mid-ships on deck 7. It had a large double bed, television, two chairs, small table, safe, telephone, and bathroom, with shower and toilet. The bed was comfortable with no sags or lumps. The air conditioning was very responsive and easy to control. The cabin window although not huge, gave a good view even when sitting down. The cabin was well soundproofed and we heard no noise from neighboring cabins, and very little from the corridor outside. Our Steward made up our room twice a day, although we did notice that the carpet only got vacuumed once or twice during the whole week. We had been told that the ship was Italian with Italian crew. This was partly true. Many of the crew were Italian, but most were not. For example, our Steward, very friendly and helpful, if slightly unorganized, was Polish and many of rest of the crew were Phillippino. There common language was as much English as Italian. All announcements were made in 5 languages. I need to explain that our holiday objectives were to use the ship as a floating hotel to visit some new places of interest. My wife and I are not great ones for participating in organised activities or entertainment, or eating round the clock. Dressing up for formal dinners fills us with dread. As this was an international boat, with the emphasis on informality we were confident that our needs would be met - mostly they were. Breakfast could be taken in the dining room but we always used the buffet. Invariably there were queues. Fresh fruit was plentiful. Bread was dry. Coffee only luke warm, and the water provided to make tea just not hot enough to do so. Bacon, sausages eggs were also on offer. Lunch was much better. Once again this could be taken in the dining room or at the buffet, where a barbecue was usually available. Apart from tea and coffee, drink had to be purchased from a waitress, and although they were usually very quick, on more than one occasion we had finished our meal before our drink arrived. We only ever ate in the buffet/barbecue, some of the food had obviously been good when prepared but by the time it was served was not - it is simply not possible to keep chips warm over a bain-marie Dinner, was, for us, an unfortunate affair. Between 7pm and Midnight it was pretty impossible to get anything to eat apart from in the formal dining room. There was no buffet or similar. We had opted for the second sitting which was always between 9pm and 9.30. On more than one occasion we either did not want a full meal or did not want to eat so late, so did not bother. Our waiters were very charming and amusing and it was almost worth visiting the dining room just to see them. They could not have been more helpful. There was only one evening where the dress code in the dining room was formal, and in some ways it was fortunate that a storm gave us the excuse to retire to our cabin. On informal nights one or two wore a jacket and tie, but most just slacks and polo shirt or similar. Ladies mostly wore dresses, skirts that type of thing. As is usual, the Italians and Spanish looked elegant whatever they wore. Room service was available, but we did not use this as the choice was limited to three different sandwich type things. We visited one show during our trip. Technically good but not to our taste, being all  song and dance and perhaps a little dated by British standards. There were one or two activities arranged during the day, making paper flowers, cocktail mixing demo, etc. These rarely lasted more than 15 minutes and looked slightly embarrassing. Every evening there was entertainment in the biggest bar. This was usually supplied by a singer and piano player. Quite good as background but as the Michelin guide would say not ‘worth a detour’. This was a late season cruise, and as such we did not expect perfect weather, and so we were not surprised that on two evenings the boat did move up and down quite a bit. But one or two other passengers said that they had been on rougher seas and other ships were much more stable.  At all times the ship was clean and tidy and everything worked. Disembarkation entailed a lot of hanging around, with little information. We did get to the airport 20 minutes before the plane was due to depart, despite the tight schedule.  Our plane was best part of an hour late, no reason or apology was given, so we had plenty of time to hang around - are Ryanair always this bad. To summarize: The cruise fulfilled our objectives, but not our expectations. We were disappointed by the food and the dining arrangements. Without the 40% discount we would have felt cheated. We might go on another cruise, but perhaps we need to pay a bit more, and do a bit more research first next time.

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