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View Full Version : Just back from Costa Western Caribbean cruise/Photos added from webshots


Mjasp
02-27-2006, 07:39 PM
We just got back from our cruise on Costa cruise lines, I want to post a trip report for those who may want to try something new. I am comparing to DCL as I have only cruised DCL.

If I leave anything out I feel should be mentioned I will come back when I remember. If anyone has any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them, just ask away.

Traveling was myself, my husband and 2 daughters ages 14 & 10. Also we traveled with 3 other families with children ages 8-14. Total of 15, 8 adults 7 kids. Have to add we are all Italian desent and from New York

Pre-night...We stayed at the Amerisuites. OK hotel for a pre night stay. Pool was small (like a backyard built in pool) For one night it was fine.

Embarkation/Debarkation...PAINLESS- PAINLESS- PAINLESS
We were at the buffet having lunch at 12:30 P.M. We were at Fort Lauderdale airport at 10:30 A.M. we were one of the last people off the ship.

Cabin...We were in a category 7. Very nice, roomy and clean. Loved having a verandah. Bathroom was a nice size. Shower pressure great. Air conditioning in the cabin was very good, actually nice and cold. Here is a tip, If you leave your verandah door open for 1 minute or more the A/C goes off automatically. Be sure you pull the door closed to be sure it is closed.

Food...All except one in our party of 8 adults thought the food was excellent. Her complaint was not enough chicken choices. The pasta was cooked al dente, I was expecting mushy overcooked pasta. During lunch at the buffet, there are 2 different choices of pasta at the pasta station. Very impressed that they used good Parmesan cheese and not the Kraft parmesan cheese or some other cheap cheese. Tasted like a good Lucatelli grated cheese. The best ceasar salad is had on this ship. Breads...All bread with the exception of hot dog and hamburger rolls are cooked fresh, right on board. That may be the reason why some people think the bread is stale, their is no preservatives in them. They are made fresh all day/everyday. All croissants and danishes are also baked fresh daily.
Club Medusa, although the quality of the food there is a cut above the restaurant, the choices were pretty much the same. I personally wouldn't pay the extra to go there again.
In my opinion better than DCL's but DCL has better desserts.

Pizza & Hamburgers...The Margheurita pizza is delicious. I wouldn't touch the hamburgers after reading about it on these boards, my husband got one and I started telling him NOT to eat it as it was greasy and horrible. He said it was very good, so after watching him and my kids eating burgers and enjoying them, I took a bite of his and it was delicious. So try everything for yourself. Just an FYI, he asked for a veggie burger one day at the poolside station and they made it for him. There is also tortilla chips, with sour cream and guacamole by the pool all day along with potato chips.

Drinks...Ice Tea, coffee and juice & water along with ice is available 24/7
DCL offers free soda Costa doesn't

Late night snacking...If the midnight snacks or buffets aren't enough for you, there is Margheurita pizza & salad available for late night snacking.
DCL only has 1 midnight buffet, not that you are hungry but it is fun to go to.

Salads...There is iceberg lettuce and another salad (like auricchio) available at the buffet, so it isn't just iceberg.

Service...This is where they need to improve big time. They need to change the way they do things. We have a waiter, an assistant waiter, and a bar person. The assistant waiter can get you a bottle of wine but not a carafe or glass of wine. Soda and mixed drinks and glasses or carafes of wine come from the bar person. Alot of nights we had our appetizer AND salad & soup before we got our drinks (Costa loses big money here) Sometimes the kids were half way done with their meal before they got their sodas. This was quite annoying. Why we didn't stop at the bar and buy our drinks before dinner? Looking back, I don't know why, we didn't think of it. LOL
Hands down DCL wins this but you are paying for it big time

Kids club...Pretty much non existant for teens. The 7-12 year club...The 8 yr old liked it but the 10 year olds didn't, so they hung out with their 14 yr old siblings in the arcade. It Kept the young ones busy and the older ones honest and on their best behavior, as the little ones would rat them out.
In all honesty my 10 year old didn't like the kids club on DCL either, so that is just my child.

Pools...They were great. Not a problem getting a chair, even on sea days. The kids enjoyed the slide and I like that the slide is open for set hours, otherwise, we might have been at the slide quite often. I like that the pool area has a large area with a fountain where you can sit and get wet and sun yourself without going in the pool.
Costa wins this one hands down. I loved their pools and pool area.

Entertainment...I didn't think it was that great. I don't think any of us thought it was very good.
Don't flame me but I wasn't fond of DCL's show either except for Golden Mickey's I liked that one.

Was supposed to get a $100 on board credit and only received $50. No one at guest services could help us, they said to call Costa when we got home. I have a message into a Diana Vasquez at Costa, and have not heard from her yet. Guest relations said they sent an e mail to shore and are aware of the problem BUT they didn't hear back from them, so they can't help us. Just something I didn't want to waste my time on today. They need to give more authority to guest relations on the ship.
DCL wins on guest relations

Final Assessment...For the price I paid, I think I got an excellent cruise. We paid $1,800 for a verandah cabin for a family of 4. If I got another deal like that I would cruise Costa again in a heartbeat. And so would all our co-travelers, even the one who thought the food was just OK.
Costa wins on price, remember we went President's week and paid the above price. I think DCL wanted $5,000 for an inside cabin

Any questions, just ask away.

Here are some photos of the ship, and Dunns River falls. The pool in the picture with the statue is an adult pool. That's why it is small. Hope the link works

http://community.webshots.com/user/Mjasp


__________________

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Costa Mediterranea 2/2006
Disney Magic 8/2004
Disney Magic 5/2002

ganurse
02-27-2006, 08:00 PM
Sailed the same cruise last march, totally agree!

laurenk
02-27-2006, 09:06 PM
I have been anxiously waiting for your comparison to DCL. We have only sailed DCL, and are sailing on the Costa Magica 5 night cruise on 4-16. I know you were on a different ship, but I am hoping things will be similar on the Magica.

Glad you had a good time!! :)

captaincrash
02-27-2006, 11:55 PM
Wow...

Nice running commentary... thanks! We've never had the opportunity to sail Costa conveniently and now we might consider them. We've done about 15+ cruises (varies with whether you count my experiences or my spouses') and DCL has 3 of this number with another one reserved for Octboer 28th this year. So... we are currently fans of the Mouse. But we have also mixed in a few other lines in the past 4 years... including HAL, Carnival and RCCCL. Just 1 week ago we stepped off the Carnival Spirit from an 8 night Mexico sailing. Photo links below in signature... and we had a decent time but DCL does it better.

OF COURSE.... we pay for that improvement in experience with DCL. I vaguely recall it ran $500 less for a veranda for 8 nights on the Carnival Spirit versus a window cabin for 7 nights on the Magic. And that is after adjustment for the on-board rebooking discount and cabin credit! Yeah.... your 1800 sailng for a veranda on Costa is an even better deal then our Carnival deal... not bad at all!

So I'll have to settle down and draft a Carnival cruise report/comparison some time soon when I get a chunk of time to kill.

Cheers! :thumbsup2

ganurse
02-28-2006, 12:30 AM
I will be honet with you, everyone that i talked to on the ship loved the Costa ship except the professional cruisers. I am not sure why...It is a European ship but it was beautiful and very clean.

Mjasp
02-28-2006, 05:58 AM
I will be honet with you, everyone that i talked to on the ship loved the Costa ship except the professional cruisers. I am not sure why...It is a European ship but it was beautiful and very clean.

You are right, the ship is spotless. It even received a 100 rating in December by the CDC when they did a surprise inspection in Puerto Rico.

Mjasp
02-28-2006, 05:59 AM
Wow...

So I'll have to settle down and draft a Carnival cruise report/comparison some time soon when I get a chunk of time to kill.

Cheers! :thumbsup2

I would love to read your Carnival trip report. If I could only convince my friends to do Carnival, they are afraid of the clientele.

castoff
02-28-2006, 10:00 AM
Joanna: Thanks for taking the time to write up a report and a honest one at that ! I have been waiting for your return. :goodvibes How does the size of the cabin compare to DCL and would that be the same category as a 6?

What about the activities for the adults? Assuming they had a casino on board was that really loud and distracting?

Thanks for the food report. I think this is something that Chuck & I would really like but NOT kids.

Do they add any extra special touches to make it special? Thanks ! :)

poconoboatniks
02-28-2006, 10:24 AM
Joannna,

Thanks for the detailed review of Costa. How long was your cruise? What ports of call did you make and how was the disembarkation process? Was there enough for the kids to keep the busy?

Pocono

Mjasp
02-28-2006, 04:06 PM
7 night Western caribbean.

Ports of call were:
Sun. Embark in Fort Lauderdale. Boarded at noon left the dock at 7 PM
Mon. Key West
Tues. Cozumel
Wed. Day at Sea
Thurs. Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Fri. Grand Cayman
Sat. Day at Sea
Sun. Back to Fort Lauderdale

It was great having a day at sea as the last day. Very relaxing and you pack at your leisure, bags have to be out by 1 A.M.

Disembarkation was GREAT. The porters take your bags right to a cab for you.

I have to say my kids did love it. They met up with other teens and hung out at the disco (that is the teen spot until about 11 P.M.)
There is plenty to do for 7-12 year olds. It is just my DD didn't want to do it.

Casino was not loud and obnoxious, Bingo is $20 a card for 4 games and the jackpot is $10 a card. Much cheaper than DCL but the grand prize is also less $3,000

laurenk
02-28-2006, 07:05 PM
I know you went to paradise beach in Cozumel. How did you get there, and what was the cost? Are there places with shade? My mother can't be in direct sun for very long.
Thanks!

Mjasp
02-28-2006, 09:00 PM
I know you went to paradise beach in Cozumel. How did you get there, and what was the cost? Are there places with shade? My mother can't be in direct sun for very long.
Thanks!


We took a cab there. It was either $4.00 or $5.00 a head for the cab, don't actually remember if it was $4 or $5
There are umbrella's on the beach. San Francisco beach is right next door, you can walk to it. Just wanted to add that little tidbit on.

Mjasp
02-28-2006, 09:01 PM
http://www.snapfish.com/share/p=540281141182045027/l=84180847/otsc=SYE/otsi=SALB

Here are some photos of the ship, and Dunns River falls. The pool in the picture with the statue is an adult pool. That's why it is small. Hope the link works

sandygirl
03-01-2006, 12:01 PM
I loved reading your report, I've been waiting for your return. Glad you had a good cruise. How did you get such a great rate?

Darlene

Mjasp
03-01-2006, 03:06 PM
Hi Darlene...It was a 1 day sale. Kids sailed free and you paid for an outside cabin and got a verandah.

Was anyone able to view the pics. Am wondering if I did it right?

castoff
03-01-2006, 04:08 PM
Hi Darlene...It was a 1 day sale. Kids sailed free and you paid for an outside cabin and got a verandah.

Was anyone able to view the pics. Am wondering if I did it right?

I saw the photo's ! :thumbsup2 Great pictures. Thank you so much for sharing them. :goodvibes

lynr
03-01-2006, 04:24 PM
Joanna: Glad to hear you had a good time. Your pictures were fabulous.

My son Matt wants to know if Senor Frogs is open in Cozumel? It looks like everything was destroyed. It is hard to believe that that pier was ripped up like that. :eek:

Mjasp
03-01-2006, 06:40 PM
Glad you enjoyed the pics.

Lyn...We docked at the Puerto Maya pier, I should say we tendered, can't even say we anchored because the captain said the water was too deep to anchor, so they ran a motor and kind of balanced the ship. The captain explained it to us, but it is hard to put in writing. I don't know about Senor Frogs.

Lyn...What ship did you do when you sailed on Carnival? Am thinking about the Glory, but everyone has me very leary about Carnival. I need Carnival trip reports, c'mon now start typing.

RAC
03-01-2006, 07:35 PM
My husband and I went on the Glory last May for our 10 year anniversary. We both said never again. I went on with a open mind and didn't want to compare to Disney. The ship looked like it was 10 years old on the inside. The crew memebers left room service trays out beside the cabins most of the day. We even seen plates with left over food stacked in the elevators. The service in the buffets was horrible. I asked for a set of silverware and the lady looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. There was a lady that was sitting beside us at the buffet resturant said this was the worst service she had ever encountered and would be sailing back with RCCL.
Maybe we hit it on a bad week, but it was bad enough to make us not want to try another Carnival cruise. But, I am sure there are others that had a more pleasurable experience.

WDWLVR
03-02-2006, 06:11 AM
Thanks for the trip report. Always nice to hear about other ships.

SeaSpray
03-02-2006, 06:58 AM
Excellent review, Joanna! :thumbsup2 And the pictures were great, I really want to cruise to Jamaica eventually and go to Dunn River Falls. :sunny:

I'm so glad that you and your family and friends had a great vacation, but I'm going to miss you (and lyn!!) on our cruise this summer. :sad:

lynr
03-02-2006, 10:38 AM
Joanna:

We went on the Carnival Miracle last and had such a good time we are going again this year. The price was well worth it. For less then we paid for one category 6 on DCL we are getting a suite and an adjoining room with a balcony. We are in the back of the ship with the rap around balcony.

There was a lot more entertainment that lasted way into the wee hours of the morning. It was also surprising to me that they allow 2 year olds in their children's program and DCL doesn't. That was the main reason for us trying CCL last year, because my girlfriends family is traveling with us this year and they have a two year old. The food was great and had more choices.

We had originally booked with DCL to travel with all of our friends from the 2004 cruise but with the price difference, the children's program and the fact that Matt is now 19, Carnival offers more of what we are looking for.

Will I ever sail DCL again? Most definately!!!

If you do decide to try Carnival invest in the Entertainment book, they have coupons they give you $100 off each cabin.

Mjasp
03-02-2006, 03:48 PM
Rac...Thanks for your info on the Glory. When did you sail? Was it a busy time?

Lyn...Where does the Miracle sail and is it a newer ship? I will check it out. I know how you feel about the price difference. But I think you even beat me in price if you got a suite AND a balcony room for the price of DCL's cat 6.
I want to try either Carnival, RCCL or Princess next time. The best price for the best ship wins. I like that you don't have to book so far in advance to get a great price.

It is snowing and sleeting today so I have to try and savor last week.

RAC
03-02-2006, 05:14 PM
We sailed Memorial week and it was a full ship. Princess has some great prices. We looked at the Caribbean Princess for next April and the prices for a balcony was less than an inside on Disney. I think we may try RCCL if we decide to do a different line other than DCL.

lynr
03-02-2006, 07:10 PM
Joanna:

The Miracle is a newer ship I think 3 years old. We sail out of Tampa, that way we can get a Disney trip in. But I think it also sails out of Miami sometimes.

tkd lisa
03-03-2006, 12:47 PM
Joanne, it's good to read a report from you. Sounds like you had a great time. That was DEFINITELY a great rate! I just got a postcard from the mouse offering $999 per adult for the 10 night southern cruise. But the kids would be in school, and I really couldn't afford it anyway!

If you do decide to sail out of Tampa, drop me a pm, and maybe I can say Hi. I moved to Tampa from MD this fall.

Mjasp
03-03-2006, 03:22 PM
Joanne, it's good to read a report from you. Sounds like you had a great time. That was DEFINITELY a great rate! I just got a postcard from the mouse offering $999 per adult for the 10 night southern cruise. But the kids would be in school, and I really couldn't afford it anyway!

If you do decide to sail out of Tampa, drop me a pm, and maybe I can say Hi. I moved to Tampa from MD this fall.

WOW $999 per adult for DCL is a great price, too bad you can't take advantage of it, but now that you are a Florida resident you will get good rates often. Around where in Tampa did you move? I have a cousin in Spring Hill and another cousin in Brandon, are you familiar with those towns?
Good Luck to you and I am sure you are enjoying the warmer weather. How did the kids handle the move? We almost moved to Orlando, I still have hope, I am no quitter LOL

Being a Florida resident, you can really take advantage of some last minute cruise prices since you do not have to pay airfare.

Take Care
Joanna

Mjasp
03-08-2006, 08:40 PM
Bumping up for Long Island Mouse to read.

LI Mouse are you in Nassau or Suffolk?

pppiglet
03-11-2006, 02:22 PM
Mjasp....We also just got back from a Carnival cruise. Pride to Mexico. We loved it. It was just as good as food and service as our Magic cruise to Mexico last June! I think it all depends on which Carnival ship you go and how long. This was 7 days in Feb. and there was not a whole lot of kids on it, but beautiful ship. We actually had better waiters here than on DCL. Couldn't beat the price either. Our verandah room was the exact same size as our DCL room. They don't have the split bathroom on Carnival, but I liked it better because it was more roomy. I also was a Carnival skeptic...but not anymore!

princessmomma
03-12-2006, 08:19 AM
Hi Darlene...It was a 1 day sale. Kids sailed free and you paid for an outside cabin and got a verandah.


Do you recall what time of year they had this one day sale?

Mjasp
03-12-2006, 09:03 AM
Mjasp....We also just got back from a Carnival cruise. Pride to Mexico. We loved it. It was just as good as food and service as our Magic cruise to Mexico last June! I think it all depends on which Carnival ship you go and how long. This was 7 days in Feb. and there was not a whole lot of kids on it, but beautiful ship. We actually had better waiters here than on DCL. Couldn't beat the price either. Our verandah room was the exact same size as our DCL room. They don't have the split bathroom on Carnival, but I liked it better because it was more roomy. I also was a Carnival skeptic...but not anymore!

Debbie...My DH and I totally agree about the bathroom. It is sooo much larger when it isn't split. The shower is much roomier and the vanity is very roomy. Our room also was the same size as DCL's room. I'm glad you had a good time. I want to do the Eastern route next year for Presidents week, but the only 2 ships that are going Eastern are the Glory and Destiny. Although the Glory has 4 1/2 stars out of 5 on Cruises only, people are saying it isn't such a swift clientele. I like that on other lines it doesn't matter when you book, it doesn't have to be 2 years before to get the best price. So I can flip flop back and forth on which line I am going on.
Here are my picks, This week, it can change by next week LOL
Holland America...Nice ships, great food, maybe a little subdued
Carnival...I just commented above
Princess...No game room on the Caribbean Princess
Royal Caribbean...Expensive and am not sure if the super liners will be overwhelming, may spend the whole week trying to find my way around the ship
DCL...Expensive
NCL...The NCL Jewel is getting real consideration, Captains on NCL concern me, too many incidents with waves
Celebrity...A little expensive, but am considering it
Costa...Give me the one day sail and I'm in
Did I miss any? LOL If I did let me know.

Mjasp
03-12-2006, 09:11 AM
Do you recall what time of year they had this one day sale?

To be exact it was July 7th. I got an email the day before, telling me about it.

princessmomma
03-12-2006, 12:43 PM
To be exact it was July 7th. I got an email the day before, telling me about it.

Thank you, did you just sign up on their web site to get on the mailing list?

Mjasp
03-13-2006, 07:26 PM
Thank you, did you just sign up on their web site to get on the mailing list?

Hi Princessmomma...Yes, I am signed up to Costa but I also received an email from cruise411 first. So I would sign up at all the cruise lines and cruise 411, I never would have sailed Costa without that sale, and I would have missed out on quite a nice ship and cruise.

Who knows which cruise line will have the best sale next year. LOL

Good Luck

ricka47
03-14-2006, 08:42 AM
To the OP. We've avoided Costa in the past despite some good deals that we've seen. The reason is that we've been told that there is very large amount of smokers onboard compared to the other lines that we've sailed: RCI, X, HAL, Princess, and DCL. I'm not anti-smoking and think people should be free to do what they want within some the limits of reason.

But, I don't want to go on a ship where there are so many people smoking in the public areas that it is not pleasant. What was your experience with this? Maybe the opinions that I've heard were way off base? Thanks!

Mjasp
03-14-2006, 03:00 PM
In all honesty, I have to say I was concerned about it also, but it really wasn't a problem, not even in the casino. I mean in the casino, you smelled smoke, but it wasn't strong and it wasn't smoky.

Now I have to ask you, which of your cruises that you have done, HAL, X, RCI which did you think has the more fun things to do and is just generally nicer. Am thinking HAL or NCL next year (those are the 2 top runners this week LOL) but I have a 14 & 10 year old and am concerned about HAL being too old for them, were their kids on HAL? I would be sailing Presidents week, so that alone adds to the kid situation. What is your opinion? Costa had 450 kids on board when we sailed in February. Just the right amount.

ricka47
03-14-2006, 07:18 PM
RCI probably has more fun. HAL is definitely more subdued and has an older traveller base. My wife and I were in our early 50s when we sailed the Volendam for 10 nights and felt very, very young. Our DD was 11 and was one of the few kids on board. It was a very elegant environment, but not much happening in the evenings. Now, that has been a few years ago and I understand that they have worked to attract younger folks. I commented on the Magic a few weeks ago that we had traded walkers for strollers. One night on HAL, I put my drink on a table and a gentleman put his teeth in the glass! :rolleyes1

X is maybe between the two. It is more "classy" than RCI, but more fun than HAL. As of now, it is our favorite line.

We have never sailed NCL although we have heard some good things about them. Also, we're biased against CCL. My parents, who are now in their mid 80s (and joining us on the Wonder this September) have been on over 60 cruises and CCL is the only one they wouldn't sail. But, I've heard folks have had a great time on their newer ships. It just seems that there are too many other choices to take the chance with what could be an overly rowdy party group.

So, if HAL and NCL are your two major choices and you are looking for fun for the kids, I would go with NCL. Check out the good boards at cruisecritic.com as well. They are great for line-specific information.

Mjasp
03-21-2006, 05:46 AM
One night on HAL, I put my drink on a table and a gentleman put his teeth in the glass! :rolleyes1 ROTFLMAO, you are too funny

So, if HAL and NCL are your two major choices and you are looking for fun for the kids, I would go with NCL. Check out the good boards at cruisecritic.com as well. They are great for line-specific information.

Ricka...Thanks for your opinion. This week, LOL we are leaning toward the Norwegian Jewel. Also, liked the Caribbean Princess, but when I was on webshots.com their balcony cabins overlook the balcony below and the balcony above you looks onto your balcony, no privacy. But that is this weeks choice, if Costa comes up with another deal like this years, we are there, since the Magica will be doing the Eastern route next years Presidents week, it will a different ship.

ricka47
03-21-2006, 05:53 AM
We'll certainly take a closer look at Costa next time. Also, I want to try NCL. It's the only "mainstream" line beside Carnival that we haven't tried and I'd like to see how their Freestyle Crusing works in practice. Some of their new ships look beautiful. Have fun!

Mjasp
04-07-2006, 10:19 PM
I have been anxiously waiting for your comparison to DCL. We have only sailed DCL, and are sailing on the Costa Magica 5 night cruise on 4-16. I know you were on a different ship, but I am hoping things will be similar on the Magica.

Glad you had a good time!! :)

Lauren...In case I don't get here by the end of next week I wanted to say HAVE A GREAT CRUISE, be sure to let me know how you liked it.

Enjoy
Joanna

laurenk
04-08-2006, 05:15 AM
Thanks Joanna!! I will let you know our thoughts when we get back!!