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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: Bob Fage
# previous cruises: 10+
Date of Trip: January 5, 2002
Itinerary: Caribbean - Eastern

Back to back cruise, 7 days figure of 8 in Eastern Caribbean starting at Guadeloupe then Catalina Island 4/10(Dominican Republic) Aruba, 7/10 Curacao, 7/10 Margarita Island 1/10 (poor) Grenada 8/10 Guadeloupe 5/10 Catalina Island again 4/10 Tortola 7/10, St Maarten 8/10 St Lucia 6/10 Barbados 5/10 and back to Guadeloupe again. This was a fly cruise and we had an 8 hour delay on the way out at Paris and a 6 hour delay on the way back making us miss our connections to London. Also Air France loss our bags and 36 others on the ship. One English couple did not get there bags until we were at the airport coming home (04.30 departure in the end...bad show Air France/Costa Cruises) Our bags ended up with us after 4 days. Costa Cruises need to do something about there air partners as we heard from a senior crew and we are talking with lots of brade that every week they had a problem with arrivals from France and Italy. I must say the Hotel Director was 101% and did more than anyone else to help. Thank you Michael. The weather was between 75 and 85% most days with a little rain in the evenings and some afternoons. Sea very slight and the Costa Romantica rolls badly even in a slight sea, not good if you get sea sick.

Public Areas
Public rooms were comfortable on the whole. There is nowhere to get away from the noise of singers (even at 1.30 a.m) the music is too loud throughout the ship (despite asking for it to be toned down). The pools on the ship are sea water about 2 mtrs deep and just big enough for about 6 to 10 people. The ship is not over large with only 8 lifts (2 always not working) lifts always busy, the Italians and French on the ship would not walk even one floor down, and would ride the lifts up to the top to keep a place in them to get even one floor down. Exit from the ship is on deck 3 and only 4 lifts service this area and one was always not working, it can take 20 minutes to get from the higher decks to the disembarkation area and no access direct from deck 10 suites (have to go via deck 9 first) real pain. Security on the gangway was slow and little help to get the wheelchair on or off until we kicked up. Guadeloupe is a real pain for locals checking the passport when you wanted to get on the ship, talk about inspect it. I swear he could not read the English in any case and he just wanted to look important. Wasted a lot of time. Casino is small and the noise from the slot machines is loud and they are all to close together.

Food and Service
Overall the food was good, very European, but as we have been on 3 Costa Line ships before we expected that. But they would always cook me a steak on request. The food was better this trip than the Victoria last year. Midnight buffets a little disappointing except the ice carved one. The dining chairs have all been replaced this year with rubber feet so the noise in the main section is better, a regular remark in the reviews. The side wings are better than the middle but the two wings near the entrance to the dining room are too far from the kitchen - food takes for ever to get to the tables. Less noise but long to be served. No Costa Toga party on this ship and they have done away with the red rose for the ladies and give a cheap metal heart instead, shame the rose was a nice touch.

We had grand suite 1003 of Madrid deck 10 with a balcony. (port side) This has two full size wooden lay back chairs and a small table. A fair size. Wood grating under foot. A good view from this cabin. The interior is split into 2 with a day cabin separated by sliding doors (2)one each side of the bed, to the bedroom. Plenty of room. 2 tv's a pullout settee bed in the day cabin, a table and 2 chairs to eat breakfast at, also a writing desk and chairs and a coffee table. Good fittings and the cabin was bright. Fruit every day. Electric window blinds. Whirlpool bath and a shower plus even a telephone by the WC. two sinks. Again good fittings. The shower could have been bigger, a bit tight for my 20 stone. Overall the cabin was good. The best part of the cabin is it comes with a butler, our Pablo is from Chile and was a real help. Nothing to much trouble. We also had a first class stewardess Joanne from Lithuania, saw her in the corridor as the cabin was always made up before we got back to it. Always tidy. The bad part of the cabin was the overhead noise...I saw this complaint by another passenger who had the same cabin and I can confirm it is bad. Any movement of a bed on the sun deck above and you hear it. If there is deck dancing or games it is bad. We were lucky it rained a few nights and stopped the deck activities. This noise is bad in all the cabins in deck 10 (10 of them). be warned...

What entertainment! - SHOWS: if Costa Cruise call that entertainment then it is a misrepresentation. Poor is about the best I can say. Entertainment in the lounges was very loud and the same over and over (songs) night after night. The only golden ray was the steel band when they played classical music and popular music like Phantom of the Opera..they were good, but twice in two weeks was not enough.

Well even at 52 I painted a tee shirt, there were activities and you could take them or leave them. There seemed to be a lot of dance classes on the deck above our cabin and an area for the kids (not to many this trip thankfully..but you still got the odd parent bringing in under 5 year olds to second sitting at 9.15 p.m.) The ports of call were as expected and I have already given my own ratings, you either love them or hate them. None come up to Grand Cayman and the worse was Margarita Island in Venezuela, this is a joke Costa Line. The cruise terminal doubles for a container terminal and as we left a container ship took up our berth. The port is some 45 minutes from town a free bus does run, but no one tells you it is there once an hour. The taxi's are a rip off charging $80 round trip for 2. The buses are little better. Very disappointing. Talking of rip off taxi drivers.

The Barbados taxi's should charge $4 into town. They wanted an extra $2 for my wheelchair and $10 on the way back. Best deal was on Tortola where we had a 12 seat to ourselves for $35 an hour and a good trip round the island and some shopping came to $80 with tip for nearly 3 hours. Mind you the tee shirts near the ship are very expensive. Guadeloupe closes at midday on a Saturday even when it is a cruise terminal and a ship is in port every Saturday. Note they do not take US$ only Euro's Speak English and they leave you alone near the market area. Not safe at night, even the crew has to be on board by sundown. The duty free shop in the port is good and Rum is only #3.50 a bottle or $7.00 US (by know you will work out I am English). Catalina Island is ideal if you want the beach, if not stay on the ship and get the pool to yourself. It can be rough from the ship to the shore on the tender. Aruba is fall of American cars, discount store and great for shopping (even has a public loo in the shopping centres)next Curacao is an interesting town, the moving pontoon bridge and the free ferry are a bonus, the town has one or two tours.

Undercover market is interesting. Ship stops here half a day - not long enough (same for Aruba). The gem for us was Grenada. A must is a visit to the plantation (now not in use much) up the coast and a visit to the Nutmeg station were they clean and grade the nutmeg. Took a private taxi (needs new springs as the main road has a lot of speed ramps) roads are poor. Taxi $25 an hour. The town centre has the usual hoard of people trying to get you bucks, it is a case of darting in to shops to get rid of them. Very attractive town for the view. St Maartin is one long street of shops, you can buy anything electrical or booze. The ships now dock at a cruise terminal and there is a return water taxi for $5 each...works well. The trick is to get off the taxi at the first landing and then walk down to the second on 3/4 of the way down the street. Great local food on the main key and reasonable price. just by the public toilet as if you were getting off the taxi at the second landing and it is on the right. The court house faces you. That brings me to the end at Barbados. A long way from town..watch the taxi drivers. The big department store in town has good food on the balcony at good prices and it is all local food.

Who Goes
First week only 8 British, the second week we were 40 (we can rule the world with 40 of us) The rest was French, German and Italians, a few Swedish. We meet and got to know 3 couples from the UK, all in the suites on deck 10 or 11 i.e all had top end accommodation, all professional people, The odd French made an effort to speak to us, but the Italians were not that friendly to the English and of course very noisy.

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