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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 CostaRomantica

Your Rating:Three Stars
Reviewed by: Renee Druley-Buckner
# previous cruises: 2
Date of Trip: December 20, 1998
Itinerary: Caribbean

The Costa Romantica is a beautiful ship to take a cruise on. The atmosphere is very relaxed and European, unlike a American style cruise. The shipboard activities are spaced evenly, so as not to overlap too much, and are run very efficiently. If you are looking for a more intimate cruise line, this is one to consider.

Public Areas
The public areas of the ship are spacious and airy. I know that sounds cliche', but it is true. I think my favorite place on the ship was the outdoor dining area on Deck 10. (I especially enjoyed sneaking out to the railing at the front of the ship, under the Bridge. Only crew is allowed there, but my husband and I did not know that the first time.) The library was intimate, done in wood and green tones. All of the staircases are marble and very wide with wooden handrails. The ship is divided into two color schemes for the fore, blue, and aft, red, areas to enable you to find your way. Also, there are plaques on the wall at the elevator/stair landings that tell you where you are and how to get to where you are going. Each deck has its' own shield, for the city it was named after. The casino - WOW! It is relaxed and fun! (I almost broke even!) There slot machines are quarters or dollars, and the best one is the quarter slot that has as a theme of a Piggy Bank. It is the most entertaining one as it has a light display of a piggy bank that can impersonate Elvis, a helicopter and so on. This machine always had a line as there is only one quarter and one dollar version. If you go, look for it! The casino game attendants are extremely helpful if you want to learn some of the more traditional games of chance. The cashiers are helpful, friendly and will remember you! All in all, the public areas of the ship are very comfortable, intimate, cozy and relaxing.

Food and Service
O.k., now the tough part. The dining area is shaped like a U, with two thin branches, the smoking areas (intimate, yes, smoky, yes, so if you are allergic do not sit there!) of the dining room, and the main dining area, a square. My husband and I were seated in the smoking area initially due to cabin assignment. I am allergic to smoke, so we moved after the first night. The wait staff seemed disorganized and undermanned. After that, we were seated in the main dining area. There are tables ranging from intimate tables for two to tables for ten. The spacing is a bit tight and, due to the marble floors, the volume can be loud. Again, as we experienced in the smoking area, the wait staff was not 100% up to snuff - for the entire 7 day cruise. It was better than the first night, but not what we were expecting from a fairly high rated ship on a holiday cruise. As for the food on board the entire ship, overall we were not impressed. The year before, we were on another cruise line and the faire on that ship was better. I am really loathe to write this, as we did have a good time on the Costa Romantica, but I feel that future passengers should be warned. The breakfast in the dining area was better than the buffet. Also, there is no one dining area that is open 24 hours continuously. Their hours are based around the main dining areas. I will recommend the outdoor dining for its' pasta bar, but again, it is only open for a limited time. If you come back on board after a shore excursion, you may be able to only order room service, and that is a very limited menu (it does not even have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich available for children!). Hopefully, any future passenger will have better things to say about their food.

The Costa Romantica is a beautiful ship to take a cruise on. The atmosphere is very relaxed and European, unlike a American style cruise. The shipboard activities are spaced evenly, so as not to overlap too much, and are run very efficiently. If you are looking for a more intimate cruise line, this is one to consider.

Our cabin was comfortable and had enough room for all our luggage. That was a feat in itself! The bath room was big enough for one person to take a shower in relative comfort. The T.V. selection was limited, but only on when we were getting ready to go out again. The decor was done in dark wood paneling and bright linens on the bed. Only a few times did we hear our neighbors, there T.V. on the Italian channel (I think) mostly and one loud argument. But for the most part, we were pleased with the room.

O.k., another hard one. Our cruise director, Gary, was the most colorful person - extremely outgoing, friendly, caring, knowledgeable, fluent in 5 languages - he was what every director should be. He was a blast! The entertainers were also wonderful, talented people. The shows started off poorly and progressively got better. By the last show, we were so pleased we thanked the entertainers personally!

The activities, as stated previously, are properly spaced to prevent most overlapping of events and are run efficiently. The massage area is clean and offers a stunning view from the window wall! I do recommend spending some money to experience one! Also, grab one of the wicker deck chairs and enjoy the breeze and scenery. Although we do not have any children yet, we passed the children's area. It appeared well staffed and enjoyable for the kids; the list of activities for them included a treasure hunt in full pirate gear.

Our itinerary consisted of 4 ports of call: Key West, FL for approximately 4 hours; Playa del Carmen/Cozumel, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Caymans.

As we were married the Saturday before the cruise, we slept through the Key West stopover, so I cannot say good or ill about it. I do plan to eventually see it, if that makes any difference. We saw the Copa ruins in Mexico. That was the best shore excursion of the trip! We got to climb a Mayan temple that was approximately 230' high! (I am basing this on the fact that I saw the top of another temple that was 130' high, as per the guide, and I was just a little over one-half the way up!) In Montego Bay, we saw the Dunn River Falls. It was picturesque, but a major tourist trap! We were not overly pleased with Jamaica. They need to work on developing their country so as to not be so dependant upon tourism. Poverty is prevalent everywhere. Georgetown, however, was our most favorite place to visit! We plan to go there as soon as we find time for another vacation. The streets are so clean that you probably eat off them! Everything is kept clean, well maintained and feels safe!

Who Goes
The makeup of the guests on our Christmas voyage was mostly foreign. Our table was all American, but next to us were Italian tables, Greek tables and combinations of all nationalities. They appeared to come from the middle to upper-middle class as a whole. Everyone was friendly and enjoying themselves. And yes, if it were not for the fact we were on our honeymoon, I probably would have gotten a few addresses to write to.

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