We took our first Costa cruise on March 2, 2016 on the Pacifica - we chose it partly because of the itinerary as it was repositioning from Brazil to Italy, and also because the price was very reasonable.
- ship is lovely with beautiful decor, large wide hallways and elevator banks. We had an ocean view and an inside room which were both quite spacious.
Because of the language barrier on this ship (probably 6-7) different nationalities, shows are a challenge to appeal to everyone. There were of course the ship dance and singing group which were good, very fast paced with lots of costume changes. Most other shows were acts that didn't require a lot of talking, quite a few small dance groups which after the first 5 minutes seems to be all the same and realize they were good at the chosen dance but maybe not adequate for an hour show. Lots of acrobatic acts which were all good but after 3 or 4 of them there's only so much they can do different. All in all we thought they were quite good. A few "magic" or illusionist acts which were disappointing as they were so far back on the stage and in the dark you could barely see - if they were as good as they proclaimed moved to the front of the stage. Really liked the Mime.
However, we found there was nothing to do after the show of interest to us and could definitely have better entertainment in piano bars or other areas.
- excursions - although we rarely take an excursion, we enjoyed a couple and found they are really well organized and you can book any of them right up to the time they are leaving. They just keep getting more buses to accommodate the people wanting to go - this is a great idea and certainly go the extra mile there.
- ship was very timely.
Incredibly poor customer service
- with the exception of our dining room waiter, Rex, we found on average there is immense improvement needed in this area. We realize this is a problem which needs to come from the top and don't wholly blame the employees, however, some tasks should be a given when it comes to dealing with paying customers.
- buffets for lunch and breakfast were set up poorly - a separate salad bar needs to be set up away from hot meal items. Experienced long very slow lines with huge gaps after the salad options which resulted in people skipping ahead which is understandable
- we boarded in Santos, Brazil. Brazil is a country blessed with beautiful fruit grown locally and you would think the ship would have stocked up with some tasty varieties of fruit but not the case. Fruit was sparse and selection was poor consisting mainly of pineapple, kiwi, honeydew, watermelon and cantaloupe and only got for breakfast. Where is the passion fruit, papaya, mangos to only name a few that we sampled at a local food market? What was there was devoured by those of us not interested in the huge variety of cakes, breads and pastries for breakfast.
- in the lunch buffets especially, tables are piling up with dirty dishes with staff standing around, hence customers need to clear tables themselves.
- we wonder if staff are happy in their jobs because it just seemed like they all went through the motions - even the bosses in the buffets were unfriendly and believe we were greeted one time in 20 days by a supervisor so it seems staff under them aren't taught those skills.
- shower wasn't draining, reported it to the steward who in turn told her she had to go down to the main desk and deal with it herself - really!?
- wasn't feeling well one night so ordered a juice at one of the main bars and was basically told I would have to go to one of the other bars for that.
- first night on the ship after a long day touring without lunch, decided to go to the dinner buffet instead of getting dressed up for dining room, the only thing we found there was a couple pieces of dried out pizza - to our surprise there is was no large dinner buffet and to our knowledge there never was.
- so, in the dining room we ordered a wine, first they opened the wrong wine and then we found out they did not have the one we ordered - the first night?
- Our poor waiter, Rex, had a helper that obviously had "0" training in the dining room. From what we saw he was more of a hinderance than a help - Rex had to tell him what to do and when to do it, he had no self-starter skills and Rex was doing 90% of the work looking after all his tables - again, at least some training should be done before he serves in the dining room and again needs to come from above. Because of this, we were almost always still eating our desert when they were trying to get us out for the 2nd seating, service was incredibly slow because Rex had no help.
- Costa for some reason uses all bottled water in the dining rooms. Unless your package included water, you had to pay for your water with dinner which we couldn't believe. Not to mention the impact all those bottles have on the environment, are they recycling? Because of this people were refilling water bottles at the water machines around the ship - understandable, then signs appeared on machines to not do this which of course people ignored.
- had coffee, tea, terrible watered down juices and milk available for free at breakfast buffet but were not available at lunch
- language barrier comes into play for English speaking clients, although they try the English announcements are still with an undesirable accent in most cases and hard to understand, if translation is done at all.
No lectures on any of the ports telling you about the history on things you might see on excursions or giving you information on what there is to do if you don't want to pay for an excursion. We went to what we thought was going to be an information session on the ports but all it entailed was a gal selling just the excursions and absolutely no other information.
Costa is also very happy to sell transports into the different towns at a much higher cost when there is usually free transport with a small walk from the ship (they don't tell you about that option)
I have to mention the total zoo that is the disembarkation. We disembarked at Savona, Italy. Our time was supposed to be 9:45 and our color was orange, but after more than two hours later we finally decided we were getting off as we wanted to get on with our day - we'd go grab our luggage and catch a cab to our hotel in Genoa. Well, wow! We soon found they only set out the luggage for the colours having already been called. People were all getting very upset as they were missing flights and other timelines so were a lot of people like us who had gotten off so they could get on with it only to find the bags were only being brought in as the colours really called. We ended up standing around at least another hour waiting for the "workers" who are obviously Union to bring the bags in most taking one at a time. Very frustrating to watch the work ethic there.
Our pain did not stop there. There were no taxis waiting for the hoards of people needing one and no attendant keeping the peace or ordering them which was badly needed as at this time people were getting majorly pissed and trying to jump the que as were missing flights and trains.
The other problem was there was another Costa ship that disembarked before us so got all the taxis. This terminal is owned by Costa so they should be prepared for the influx of people needing taxis - just another example of the poor and almost non-existent customer service on Costa.
- where do I start!
- walked into stateroom, on the main counter there were smudges of mascara leftover from who knows when. I left it there on purpose to see if our steward "Renata" would clean it - never did in 20 days and I bet they are still there today.
The finger prints and smudges on the inside of our stateroom door were unbelievable - no cleaner had been used there for many cruises - ewwww!
- my sister was sitting in the buffet dining area in between meals as was quiet for reading and was able to see first hand the lack of cleaning. Tables were not cleaned with any cleaner but crumbs were just swept off with a dry cloth.
On other ships we've been on there is constant cleaning being done along with maintenance, not so much with Costa and that is why the whole ship was sick after about a week.
Hand sanitizers were at the doorways, but I never saw anyone use them as no one was standing there making sure they were used - this should be a must especially when the silverware is not wrapped separately in napkins but is being touched by many dirty fingers in public bins.
Sun decks would go days without being cleaned as spills were still evident from days before. Never smelled a cleaner and hardly saw anyone cleaning so....
Was absolutely terrible. First of all most everything is frozen and then cooked, nothing is prepared fresh and it tasted like it. Food is very bland and hard to find anything with spice of any kind. If you like a lot of breads, pastries, cakes, etc. You will be in heaven on this line.
The menu in the dining rooms includes items as normal and then they have meals that would be offered by any other line for free, are charged for. For example, on formal nights you could get lobster that is a norm on other cruise lines for free, but here you had to pay for it - could not believe it.
Had a gentleman we ate dinner with that had a restaurant meal for $35 US included in his package - he said to save your money as is no better than the dining room.
On the whole we enjoyed the ports as there is so much history in those parts of the world - always something to see and learn about.
In our opinion there were too many ports in Brazil - Rio, Ilheus and Salvador were nice stops but Maceio and Recife are a waste of time as not much to see - and Brazil on the whole is not a safe place. As always when travelling, you must always be aware of those around you and who is watching you. My husband was approached in a few ports by people who told him he was being watched as he was carrying a backpack and to be aware - makes you kind of paranoid. But on the other hand we were also helped by locals who knew no English who tried to help us find our way and tried to keep us safe by giving us the best routes to take.
Loved Gilbralter and Barcelona and hope someday to go back as more time can definitely be spent especially in Barcelona.
We started to think maybe we were just being picky, but after talking with other cruisers, we soon realized it was definitely not just us. The standard we are used to with Princess, Royal Caribbean or even Carnival is just not there and Costa likes to nickel and dime you that is very apparent.
I think you get the drift about our opinion of Costa and can make your own decision on whether to vacation with this line.