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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Costa Cruise Line

MS CostaMediterranea

Your Rating:Two Stars
Reviewed by: Rose Wilson
# previous cruises: 9
Date of Trip: December 26, 2008
Itinerary: South America

For the neophite to cruising, this might be of interest; for the experienced cruiser, there may be too many disappointments. If given a choice, any cruising passenger should not embark at the port of Santos, Brazil unless they are familiar with it. The chaos of this 'modern' port are unacceptable to any passenger who has travelled before and would frustrate anyone with a mountain of patience. If given a choice, choose to embark in Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires. At this time of year the sea was not calm, so a great deal of movement was experienced by the guests which resulted in a fair consumption of medication for sea-sickness.

Public Areas
The public areas are adequate, nothing special compared to all cruises out there. Most impressive though were the secluded nooks which were intimate, clean, comfortable. The nooks were tucked away and absolutely delightful. The upholstered chairs and bendes in the dinning areas were in sad need of either extensive cleaning (many stains), repair (many worn patches), or replacement due to fading or just being worn out. The walk-around promenade was fine, if you could actually walk on them! The winds and the agitated waters made walking on the promenade almost impossible most days. At no time during our cruise did we see anyone lounging on any chairs (if present) on the promenade. If you wanted to walk around you just went to the top deck and walked there (if you could). The pools were adequate. The covered pool (retractable roof which never retracted) was often too loud to stay at for any period of time. If you had children, you got plenty of reminders to use the 'children's pool, but from the deck you really didn't know which was which as all signage was inside and there was nothing outside. Children were not supposed to be in the whirlpools, but parents often went in with their children, then left, leaving their children in the whirlpool. The casino was nothing special; pretty much the same as any cruise ship; however, this one had a few machines which appeared to be for children, so children did use them which then brought up the problem of children wanting to use the other machines as well. The Internet is painfully slow and at sea is not available, working best when closest to the land.

Food and Service
The food was adequate. You could always count on one or two items as being wonderful, but for the most part, standard fare. The constantly available tomatoe and cheese pizza was great for a day or two, but then you began to wish that there were other options. The options for children are very limited at the restaurant seatings. Most frustrating was not able to have coffee served during mealtime, unless it was breakfast. I can understand that if you wanted espresso, then to take it in any one of the bars after your meal, but with dessert, I really would have appreciated being able to get a cup of coffee at the table. The privat dining experience was never available for us to try. It is our understanding that if you are a Costa Cruise Club member, that you are given preference for seating in this restaurant, which did not leave much of an opportunity for anyone else to try it. The fact that those who are frequent Costa passengers chose this venue to eat over the general restaurant probably says more about the food than anything I might be able to add. The Staff of the ship were friendly and many multi-lingual. Although we are fluent in four languages we did, from time-to-time, we did run into staff members who did not understand us.

The furnishings are looking tired and stained, and one wonders when the ship will be going in for refurbishing. It must have been a magnificent ship when released in 2003. The beds were comfortable, as were the beddings. The cabins were kept clean, and the room stewards helpful and wonderful. The only glitch would be that our room safe did not function. This inability to use the safe was brought up to the room steward who realized there was a problem and promised to get it fixed, but by the end of the ten day cruise it still did not work. We also called the 'Technology' service department who were to have serviced the safe, but, to no avail. The closet space was plentiful for the four of us in our cabin. The bathroom was comfortable and easily accommodated a full size person in the shower. The rooms were very quiet; perhaps too quiet. If you wanted to hear any announcements you had to keep the cabin door open as you heard nothing in the cabin. Our cabin had a balcony, but it was difficult to open the door during the cruise (unless we were in port), especially if your room door was open. One guest did break her arm when it got caught in the balcony door of her cabin when the wind abruptly closed the door on her. Yes, guests need to be aware of this possible danger; however, we have been on multiple cruises where our cabin has had a balcony and we have not experienced this type of problem.

The entertainment in the lounges and bar was good, as were the shows. There was true talent and they were actually enjoying what they were doing, which did spill over to the audience for a positive experience. I did not quite understand why the Gala Dinner was not held on the same night as the Gala. Sitting in a theatre with one drink to be introduced to the officers of the ship, to us, was not a Gala Event.

The programs offered are standard. The shore excursions are adequate. Unfortunately, it was raining and cloudy in Rio, so the beauty of this city really could not be fully appreciated. Our bus ran late in Uruguay, but I understand that a different bus also just broke down altogether. The tenders were not able to keep up with the guests so the ship ended being about 1-1.5 hrs late in leaving port. The rains in Portobello, Brazil lead to the cancellation of the beach excursions. The weather also forced the closure of the port of Santos by the Brazilian authorities which delayed disembarcation from 8AM to 1:15PM, a problem for people who had to catch a flight, and frustrating for the guests on board who had planned to get off to explore the City of Santos that day. For those who did stay on to go to Rio, the ship was late in leaving Santos and then tried to make up for time by travelling at a faster speed which resulted in a very bumpy and Dramamine rich experience.

Who Goes
The guests were a delightful mixture of cultures. I would definitely invite some to dinner, but others, no way. I don't understand why some guests left all elements of civility back home. Cutting in line when everyone is going in the same direction, to me, does not make sense. Cutting in front of us, while we are looking at something, to look at the same thing, makes no sense either, it is just plain rude and we are not invisible. Smoking at a table clearly marked 'non-smoking' is arrogant and rude. Not moving aside from a narrow doorway when you are going out and they are coming in, again is very rude and uncalled for. We found the 'younger' members of the cruising passengers were rude, while many older passengers were civil. The cruise was a mix ages and generations. There were children, but I would not rate this cruise in the top five of child-friendly; it is for the sweet couple on their second honeymoon; or the young couple on their first cruise who spend their time either in the gym or their room.

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