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Costa Cruises: Costa Magica

Costa Magica Review

Launched in 2004, Costa Magica is similar in size and layout to sister ship Costa Fortuna, but her interior furnishings, décor, and ambience are inspired by the charm of Italy's most beautiful locations from Capri to Portofino, Urbino to Grado, the Salento,

Bellagio, and Spoleto. Costa Magica’s itineraries take her passengers on voyages throughout the Western or Eastern Mediterranean.

With a bit of interior alteration, Costa Fortuna and Costa Magica are essentially Euro-clones of parent company Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory. The mix and size of public rooms was determined to appeal to European as well as North American passengers sailing on itineraries that include the Mediterranean Sea.

Like Carnival ships designed by Joe Farcus, these Costa beauties have a theme running throughout—Costa Fortuna's decor is inspired by the grand Italian steamships of the past. Incorporated into the design of the ship, scale models of historic liners grace nearly every public area. A "fleet" of 26 former ships of the Costa fleet boldly "sail" upside down across the ceiling of the atrium. Ceilings in the formal, two-deck dining rooms are also decorated; aboard Costa Fortuna, Michelangelo Restaurant features reproductions of the master's frescoes, while Raffaello Restaurant displays its namesake's Vatican artwork. Art deco touches add grace to all the public spaces.

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

  • With floor-to-ceiling glass walls, saunas and steam rooms are bright and cheery
  • Dance floors in the main "grand" lounges are large enough for real ballroom dancing
  • There is a dedicated lounge for cigar smokers

Cons

  • The library doesn't have many books and is staffed daily at limited times
  • Open decks feel pretty crowded on fully booked sailings
  • Wi-Fi is often slow, and the computer center can be noisy
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,027
  • Entered Service 2004
  • Gross Tons 103,000
  • Length 890 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,358
  • Passenger Capacity 2,716 (3,470 max)
  • Width 118 feet
  • New

Jun 4, 2014

Med cruise

Our holiday was arranged as a rest bite holiday for my mother who is a carer and included my partner and I. The whole holiday was a disappointment from start to finish and it was not only our party that were unhappy about the cruise but many others we spoke to experienced similar problems.My mother, my partner and I have been on numerous cruises. My mother over 37 in total and we have always been pleased with our holidays. My last cruise was

on Island Escape and although the ship was old and tired and is not even listed as a proper cruise ship on many websites, the cruise was 100% better than this cruise! The poor experience began when we arrived at the port terminal in Venice to go aboard the ship. We were given a card number 15 and told to sit and wait for our number to be called. At no point did anyone tell us we could leave the terminal and return later so that we could visit Venice before disembarkation. 3 hours later with no refreshments that are normally offered, we were finally called to check in and I expressed my disappointment that we had had to sit and wait so long and had missed the opportunity to see Venice, one of the main reasons we chose this particular cruise. We were abruptly told that we should have gone to Venice and came back later and that if there was a problem we should have spoken to customer services in the terminal. We pointed out that we had no idea there was even such a complaints desk. I was deeply upset. We were sent on our way to embarkation but we avoided the tacky welcome on board photograph that was due next (and was holding up the queue) as we were fed up and grumpy at this point. We entered the ship and were not greeted or helped by any member of staff. We stood waiting until finally we stopped a crew member and asked how we get to our cabin. This was a new experience as normally crew members meet the passengers upon arrival and help them find their way along even offering them a soft drink somewhere along the way. We settled into our cabin. The cabin was clean and plenty big enough for 3 of us. Unfortunately, during our stay we noticed that the hairdryer had exposed wires on it that looked dangerous and there were light bulbs not working in the room. There was no hand soap in the bathroom and we had to ask for it as an extra. Shower gel was minimal and kept running out. We were often given 2 towels instead of 3. Often the cabin boy made lovely shapes and animals from the towels and placed them on the bed- unfortunately however, the towels used were dirty, wet towels and made the bedding damp. We could rarely get BBC news on our cabin TV which is usually available on other ships. I do not blame the cabin boy, I blame Costa as their staff seem to be overworked do not seem to be adequately trained. The cabin boy was always polite and helpful. We then made our way to the bar as we were very thirsty and needed a drink. The bar was very busy and did not have enough staff serving. Instantly, we noticed how unhappy and overworked the bar staff were. There were no smiles and we waited ages to be served. No please or thank you from the staff. We instantly felt unwelcome. The drinks were very expensive and had tax added on so we decided to buy an all inclusive package. From this point onwards, things got worse and worse. The queues at bars and in the buffet restaurant were always huge. There was not enough staff at the bars and not enough bar waiters. We could rarely get waiter service unless you wanted to buy Sangria or drinks that were at an additional cost, either in the bar areas or in the restaurants. Most of the staff were miserable and snappy, often rude! Hardly any of the staff smiled. We would repeatedly request coffee and juice at breakfast and never get served. Some staff would just tell us that they were working for other tables and walk off, others just slam their eyes at us. There was a complete lack of job satisfaction anywhere on the ship. The seating in the buffet restaurant was terrible, with no-where to sit. The buffet restaurant food was poor. We had to clear used plates and cutlery ourselves from dirty tables as there was not enough staff to cope. Food was cold and tasteless. We pointed out to the Maitre D at the buffet that the panacotta was like rubber and inedible- a speciality of Italy that I can personally make a better job of creating. The sausages, bacon and potatoes were cold and awash with oil. One day we chose hamburgers and we were astonished that the meat was raw and red in the middle! Only 2 choices of pizza at the buffet, on an Italian ship this is shocking! Food was always running out so there was limited choice. The buffet restaurant closing before 5pm each day until 7pm was outrageous as passengers who were returning from Costa excursions hungry and thirsty could not get food from anywhere. We were on the late dinner sitting at 9.15pm and to go from lunch until 7pm to get any food on a cruise is disgraceful! We could not even help ourselves to a cup of tea or coffee during the day as the dispensers were always closed up. In the waiter service restaurant, the food was equally awful. Salty, tasteless and over cooked or under cooked. The fish and meat was dry and chewy. The soup was like stew. Vegetables that were diced to an inch of their lives were cold and undercooked. Cheeses looked stale and the biscuits were non descript. The vegetarian lady on our table nearly cried with the lack of thought for her food and was horrified to taste her food had been cooked in fish tainted fat. We found it very, very difficult to get wine refills in this restaurant and I cannot believe that there was no coffee or tea offered at the end of the meal. This just would not happen on another cruise. Every night, all the guests on our table left nearly all the food from every course as it tasted so bad! The waiters looked embarrassed. Over the week it got worse and worse. We came back less heavy than before we left....a rare event on a cruise holiday unless you have had illness. During the week, I approached the Maitre D after a breakfast in the Smerelda restaurant. I politely explained that I would like to point out the problems we were experiencing in order that he can try and repair them. Instantly, he abruptly told me to see customer services if I had a problem. It felt like he was not interested. I reminded him that he was the Maitre D and that he was the person in charge of the restaurant to which he rolled his eyes, folded his arms and looked the other way. I told him he did not seem to be interested and at that point somebody must have dropped something as there was a crash in the kitchen. At the sound of the crash, he abruptly walked off without word or warning. I was amazed and shocked as there was plenty of other staff standing nearby who could have attended to the kitchen incident. It was obvious to me that he used the crash scenario to take himself away from our conversation. I immediately went to customer service and reported the Maitre D to them. I also said that we were not happy about paying the compulsory Hotel Service Charge at the end of the cruise as the service had been so poor. They sent the English representative to our table that evening to find out what had happened and to listen to our issues. I told her about the Maitre D incident and the problems we were experiencing and she said that Costa had reduced the staff to cut costs on the ship. She said that she was overwhelmed with other complaints from English speaking guests about similar issues. I told her we did not want to pay the service charge as the service was terrible. She agreed it was poor. The rep visited us a couple of times over the week and the Maitre D did give us a half hearted excuse with an apology about the kitchen incident. We continued to tell Louise how bad the service and food was. She listened to us but offered nothing. We complained to customer services at least twice but they seemed disinterested in the whole thing. On a more positive note, I would like to point out that that the show dancers and singers were excellent. They worked very hard and produced fantastic shows each time. Also, the excursions and were excellent and well organised. To add insult to injury, at the end of the holiday we were summoned to the theatre to sit through a disembarkation talk from the rep. There, she gave us information about luggage etc. During her speech, she told passengers that there was only one box to tick on the satisfaction questionnaire, namely ‘excellent’! She reinforced this many, many times suggesting there was no other choice. This was to the obvious disgust of the passengers seated in the theatre. We were now being told what to write on our comments form........priceless!!!! If you decide to go on this cruise ship do so at your own peril!!! I warn you it is absolutely terrible!

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  • New

Feb 24, 2011

Western Mediterranean

We were very disappointed with our Costa Magica cruise to the western Mediterranean in December 2010, and have had a terrible experience with their customer service since returning. As a Canadian family of four experienced cruisers, we found the whole experience to be sub-par. There were very few activities on board the ship for English-speakers, and literally no programming for children (12 and 14). In light of how bored the children were, I decided

on the second day to download a movie for them to watch. After visiting the front desk and being assured that the very expensive 3 hour internet package (27 EUROS total) was high-speed, with excellent access throughout the ship, I purchased the package. In 20 minutes, I had downloaded just 0.0001% of our movie - which would have need 400 hours to download! I immediately requested the cancellation of my package, and the return of the fee. Front desk staff told me to come back the next day: this was repeated 4 more times on our 7 day cruise. I wrote to Costa in early January to request the refund - I heard nothing from the company until February 24. Today, they have finally explained that "because I used the service" I cannot be refunded. This sour experience of customer relations cements my decision to avoid any future Costa cruise, and to caution friends and colleagues to stay away from this cruise line.

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By John_CR

  • New

Jan 23, 2011

Western Mediterreanean

Overall: Let start off by saying this is my first cruise ever and I now believe it is the only way to go! Secondly, I would like to say that some of these people that have written comments about this ship are ridiculous! #1 Its an ITALIAN Cruise line so don't be surprised when the crew and activities are in ITALIAN!!!!! (What? OMG no way!?) But every crew member speaks at least some English and most likely a few other languages as well. Every activity

is in 5 languages (Italian, Spanish, French, German and English) and if the announcement isn't in your language you don't need to know. I Speak a little Spanish and Italian but I had no need to even use it. If you never wanted to leave the ship on the excursions you could still have a full day planned with all the awesome activities- some may not be to your taste...that's why there is a Casino, Disco, Pools and Hot tubs along with countless bars and restaurants. I was blown away by everything. If you couldn't tell I loved the Costa Magica. Food: The food was fantastic. Again, don't let the Americans with no taste or taste for variety fool you. Each night there was a 7 course meal you could go to (with one night being the Captain's Gala-very formal) and I was blown away. The staff was working there tails off and you could tell. The result was amazing. I've tried so many new things on the ship. Some things were to my tastes...some were not but it was my choice weather to order something or not. They also have the choice of hamburgers and fries for those who are not as experimental as I am. As for the Buffet, delicious. They had foods from all around the world and the German food day was probably my favorite. Many people were complaining that the buffet didn't run 24/7, well I'm sorry it only ran 20/7 with a special surprise every night at midnight for all those who like to stay out late and get a little hungry. Every night I tried NOT to stuff myself and I'm happy to say I failed miserably. :) Rooms: They were wonderful. Much bigger than I expected. I was on floor 2 so I just had a window, but it was a big window. I never felt like enclosed. I also made friends with someone on the 9th floor and they had a personal balcony off their room for those who need to be able to step outside for some fresh air. As for the service in the room: they were so clean. Our steward cleaned/tidied our room twice a day, making sure to have our beds made and itinerary and news letters neatly placed so that we could plan our next adventure. He was always around but never overbearing. He knew us by name and would always ask us how or excursions were. We felt as though he cared :) Yes, the room decor was hotel-ish and not what i would have picked for my bedroom, but we werent in MY bedroom. It was much like any hotel decor. One final note, there was one "American" plug which was really nice. Not having to use a converter or worry about frying any of our electronics was an unexpected plus. Activities: GO TO THE SHOWS! Ok, so the only word that sums up the shows are WOW! Ive been to many musicals and plays and even went to London to study a theater course and I was blown away by the performances on the Magica. They may not have been Broadway but the costuming, stage designs, and sets were amazing. How they stored all that on the ship I will never know. For what I expected to find on the ship for the shows I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. There were some shows that far out shined others but overall great! Do some of the activities! You're there to have fun so go out and do it! I learned 7 different styles of ballroom dancing, played tons of trivia games and participated in a few of the contests! Like I previously stated, this is an Italian cruise line and that comes first so when you are doing the activities be patient and wait for English and by the end of the trip, who knows you may just have picked up a little Italian to impress your friends :) Excursions: For most of the ports we stopped at my family and I decided that we would to the local Sightseeing Bus Tours; however, for the Marseille and Savona Stops we decided to take the Costa excursions. While the Sightseeing buses were great for a few of the cities my two favorite stops where the ones where we took Costa Tours. The upsides for taking the Costa tours are that you can really focus on a couple of aspects of the city, certain stops or themes, and the quality of the information is a thousand times better than on the bus tours. The down side is that they are expensive. This is where Costa makes part of their money, but don't let that deter you. If you only do one Costa excursion take the one to Monaco. While I'm sure Savona is a beautiful city we took the bus to Monaco and got to see all the amazing places in Monaco and we got to go to Monte Carlo. The excursions are great but walking around and interacting with the city is also fantastic,so its up to what you want to do.

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By Val_CR

  • New

Jan 15, 2011

Western Mediterranean

This cruise was outrageous. After reading some of the very negative reviews online, we were nervous about our Costa cruise, but were pleasantly surprised by the entire experience. I think i was a great value for the money. If you are on this cruise just to eat American-style cuisine, then you might be better off staying on an Amercan cruise line. However, if you are open to new and different tastes, the food was interesting, varied and quite tasty.

Some people were complaining that they could not eat 24/7, but meal sizes were so large it was difficult to eat more than one meal per day. Also, the various restaurants and buffets were open about 20 hours per day. The buffet food was always hot, fresh and had a wide variety for everyone to choose from. I did not have any bad food. The service was efficient and friendly. Our waiter served our food at our pace, not at the pace of other tables. Rooms are large with plenty of closet space and, although I might have chosen different decor, it was still a comfortable, clean and relaxing environment. Our steward was extremely pleasant and helpful and spoke very good English. Our airline lost our luggage, and within 30 minutes of filing a missing luggage complaint with Costa, our steward was at our door offering to do our laundry for the entire week free of charge. Some people were bothered by the language barrier, but we were amazed that they could conduct games/activities/performances in five languages at one time. We never felt excluded as Americans and felt the staff went out of their way to include all nationalities in the activities. We were entertained constantly and enjoyed the international flavor of the cruise. We only took two Costa excursions, both of which were very good. The trip to Monaco (from Savona) is one that everyone should take. We also did a walking tour in Marseille which was very good. The other days we had no trouble taking local "Hop-On Hop-Off" bus tours, which were easy to access from the port. Remember, this is an Italian cruise line. They make every effort to include all nationalities in all of their activities/excursions/performances, etc., but if you expect everyone to cater to Americans first, you will be disappointed If you want an interesting, international, budget-friendly cruise, Costa is for you. We met many people of many nationalities and none of them were rude, pushy, or disrespectful. We would recommend this cruise.

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  • New

Dec 17, 2010

Western Mediterranean

We have been on 5 cruises prior to this cruise. We would not ever consider cruising on Costa again nor would we recommend it to friends or family. Of all our prior cruises we never had a complaint. If you are American or Canadian think twice about Costa. If you are English speaking, such as Great Britain or Australia/New Zealand, think twice about this cruise line. This was a major disappointment to us. You know how they say that you cant

help but gain weight on a cruise? We both actually lost weight. The buffet was only open for a few hours a day, and from 6 PM until midnight, all you can get to eat is pizza, the worlds worst pizza, two types only, plain red cheese pizza and plain white cheese pizza. There is nothing else offered with the pizza, just pizza, paper thin, cut into 2" wide slices, and they only put one of each pizza out at a time, they are afraid you'll take a whole pizza, which was allowed on every other cruise we have been on. The coffee is terrible, even their cappucino and espresso, And they provide no free beverages other than water and coffee. Even on Carnival they have chocolate milk and iced tea and lemon aid. But on Costa they charge for everything, like $4.00 for a can of soda, $5.00 for a bottle of beer, and don't forget about the 15% service charge. In Europe there is no tipping for anything, well on Costa there is tipping for EVERYTHING, and it is automatically added. Funny how that works. The dinners are extremely late by American standards, first seating is 7:00 PM and second seating is 9:00 PM. The servings are extremely small, meat sliced so thin it's almost like cold cuts, and fish,fish, fish! If you don't love fish, don't take this cruise, I'm not talking lobster and shrimp (there wasn't any) im talking Octopus, squid, calimari, monk fish, and a bunch of fish we've never heard of. Fish in everycourse, and pork too, lots of pork. For desert you would get a piece of cake and it would measure approx. 1.5" x 1.5" inches or a mousse that was about 1/3 of a childs dixie cup. The pasta dishes were okay but a lot of them had fish in them as well. The stateroom was fine, Standard Carnival Cruise lines stateroom. If you insist on going after reading the reviews, we would recommend Stateroom 9238, which is a standard verranda on deck nine and far enough from the elevators to that you do not have to deal with that. The bed was comfortable if you like a really firm bed. The television had absolutely nothing in English except BBC news which is International news and they hardly even mention North America. It didn't really matter what was on T.V. because we kept loosing the picture and had to get up and pound on the side of the set, sometimes the picture would come back and sometimes it wouldn't. We also complained about the bathroom light being half broken and the other half was flickering, we complained on our 5th night out and it still wasn't fixed when we left. The steward did a good job but you could tell that he heard a lot from folks. He was always apologizing. Every cruise we were ever on the steward would keep the ice bucket full, but our steward said that they weren't allowed to fill them unless we requested. The onboard activities were oriented to the Italian passengers. A surprisingly large percentage of the crew spoke absolutely no English. We don't believe that this cruise line is truly trying to encourage American passengers. The passengers were approx. 55% to 60% Italian, 20 % French, 10% German, 5% American and Canadian and 5% to 10%other countries. Everything we have ever heard about the Italian and French being rude and mean is true and was even worse than I had expected. Be prepared to be pushed, shoved, kicked, cursed and totally disrespected. The Americans and Canadians were totally in disbelief at how these people treat others. Also on this cruise there were as many Italian Children as adults. It was like a big playground, so if you are looking to be with adults, this is not the line for you. The Italian children learn to be rude, loud and inconsiderate from their loud, rude and inconsiderate parents. The ports visited were very good, Palma and Barcelona were the best ports (If we ever return to Europe it will be to see more of Spain). Tunisia was a total waste and was the only port in which we felt uncomfortable and unsafe. The excursions were fine but very expensive, in most ports we just got off and walked around and observed how the people lived and worked and played. The Magica usually docked further from the city than other cruise ships and we really believe this is intentional to get you to take their excursion or at least purchase a very expensive bus ticket to get you from where they docked to where the city was. These 5 to 10 minute bus rides cost folks $10 to $12 per person. The service folks on the Costa Magice, such as Stewards, waiters, etc. were very nice and service oriented. Everyone else on this ship was rude and unhelpful. We went to the desk about a scheduling mistake for our post cruise transportation and we were told basically "tough" live with it, there is nothing we can do about it. On other cruises there were always 5 or 6 people working the service desk, this ship had two or at most 3, it was always the same people, they must work 16 hours a day 7 days a week and they are not happy or helpful. The same for the excursion desk, two mornings we went to this desk as folks were about to go ashore, a time you would think that they would have 4 or 5 folks, they had one woman working and the line was 20 to 25 people deep. The people who check you on and off the ship were rude and surly, not a smile or good morning in the bunch. We changed $25 American for Euro's and asked what the rate was, they told us and it seemed reasonable, what they didn't tell us about was the 5 euro charge for changing the money. This ship has more ways of getting your money. We resolved early on to give Costa as little of our money as possible just as a matter of principal. In short, it is our recommendation that if you are American or Canadian you look elsewhere to spend your traveling dollar. And if going to Europe avoid Italy and France, and consider Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Scandinavia.

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