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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 CostaVictoria

Your Rating:Five Stars
Reviewed by:Janet & Noel Beadle
# previous cruises: 10+
Date of Trip: January 21, 2001
Itinerary: Caribbean

We have travelled extensively but are not experts on cruising and we had read mixed reports re Costa cruises. However, we decided to give them a try in view of the excellent discount on offer and because the dates of the trip were convenient. The cruise proved to be excellent in every respect and we enjoyed it more than other expensive holidays we have taken previously. We would not hesitate to take another Costa cruise in the future.

Public Areas
The Costa brochure does not do justice to the Costa Victoria's many public areas. There are areas to suit all tastes and moods. It is possible to find a quiet corner on this busy ship even on a day at sea. Our personal favourite is the fifth /jogging deck, where we usually only encountered a few people like ourselves taking a stroll and admiring the sea views.

Food and Service
We were allocated a good table in the Sinfonia restaurant on the first sitting as requested. We found this to be a good choice, as we were then able to enjoy the main entertainment in the Theatre after our evening meal. Our waiter Jose and his assistant Bernard were attentive and seemed to enjoy their work. We were fortunate in our dining companions Alan, Patrica, Annie and Joe who all helped to contribute to the enjoyment of the cruise. The menus were varied and catered to all tastes, the standard of food and presentation was excellent. Our initial intention had been to only use the main dining room at evenings ,however, we were so impressed by the service that we ate most breakfasts and some lunches as well. On the occasions that we used the buffet the choice and quality of the food was good and many people seemed to opt for this. One evening we went to the midnight buffet,which was a splendid affair around the swimming pool, quite incredible to be eating outside after midnight in January.

Our cabin was a superior outside cabin 90404 in a good position. The cabins are on the small side 150 sq feet, but are well designed with all necessary amenities, we especially like the picture window.There was adequate storage space ,we were even able to store our empty suitcases under the bed. The bathroom/ shower is compact but again well designed with plenty of storage shelves,however it would have been better if the hairdryer had been placed in the main cabin rather than above the toilet! Our Steward Aida anticipated our needs unobtrusively ,she always seemed to have a ready smile.

Entertainment was another aspect of Cruising which we had been uncertain about, we had envisaged lots of tacky variety shows! We were very pleasantly surprised by the range and quality of the entertainment. Costa we feel had catered well by varying the types of entertainment on offer in the main theatre to include acts as diverse as one evening a classical piano concert, another a tenor singer and other nights the more traditional shows, but all were professional and most enjoyable. Costa seemed to have gone for quality rather than quantity as these shows only lasted an hour at most, which we felt was preferable as there was excellent diverse music/ entertainment in numerous locations on the ship. The Cruise staff and entertainers were first rate, lead well by Joe Radd the Cruise Director and his wife Heather.

There were all the usual organised shipboard activities which we chose not to get involved in. The outdoor and indoor pool and health club were all well facilitated. Our cruise the Mexican magic departed from Fort Lauderdale and called at Key West,Playa del carman,Cozumel,Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. The ports of call were all enjoyable in different ways, we took the organised excursion at Playa del carman to Tulum , which was the only practical way to see the sight in the short time available, but as is the nature of these trips it was rushed with too many people arriving at the same time so the atmosphere was spoilt. At the other ports of call we did our sight seeing independently, which we personally prefer. We had been advised to take an organised tour in Jamaica but as the ship cancelled the one tour we were interested in and were not helpful in assisting us in making alternative arrangements we teamed up with another couple . At the pier we hired a taxi and negotiated to take us to Firefly Noel Coward's house which is situated about 23 miles east of Ocho rios . We had an interesting guided tour of the house and the gardens which is in a beautiful setting in the hills overlooking the sea. We also travelled through the more rural Jamaica and still saw all the usual sights like Dunns river falls and spent some time shopping ,all this for less than the price of the ships excursion! In contrast to what we had been lead to expect we were not harassed by anyone and we found our driver/guide to be most helpful and informative. Anther point of interest is that at Grand Cayman the ships organised Island tour was USD30.00, we paid USD15.00 for the same tour which is operated by taxi and mini bus directly from the quay. The Grand Cayman people are delightful ,we even found a little english tea shop for traditional afternoon tea!

Who Goes
There was a wide variety of people and nationalities on this cruise, as is often the way in these situations you tend to have the most contact with those with whom you share a common language,in our case English. We were happy that there was a multi cultural mix and would certainly prefer this to a cruise aimed mainly at the American market. We do intend to invite some of our fellow passengers to dinner,in particular our fellow diners on table 201!

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