CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Costa Cruises Costa Magica Eastern Mediterranean July 3, 2005

We took this cruise primarily for the benefit of enjoying tour stops in some exotic places. We did expect the traditional "great food", "fun entertainment" and social experience that we so often hear people talk about. The FOOD: two days prior to departure I learned about CruiseMates and thus read the one and only review of the Costa Magica and it was very negative regarding food. This cruise was six months later and I believe they have improved their act . but only a little. Here are my tips and avoids. The chilled soups are amazing, in fact, the appetizers and soups are excellent. The two GALA dinners are very satisfying in total. The ice creams (gelatos) receive raves, but . the entrees are ordinary and the steaks poor (except beef filet at galas). Buy the internet offered wine packages - a wonderful bargain of excellent wines for about $120 USD (6 wines). Three of us bought two packages and were delighted. Save money and enjoy extra drinks by ordering their "drink special of the day" for about $5.50 USD. The wait staff was above average and, given late tour returns, the first seating is preferred (7:15) over the late. There were no fancy midnight buffet dinners and we found breakfast and lunch were best in your assigned dining room instead of going to the buffet. We preferred Smeralda dining room over Portofino and request a 10-top at the very rear by the massive windows.

The shows were fair to poor but the Urbino Theater was wonderful. The teens seemed to have a well orchestrated evening but kids 12 years old were returning to cabins at 2 am. There is plenty of deck space and chairs for sunning. I must admit, an outside balcony is almost a must and a center of the ship location a great benefit - even though more money. The ship is new so the fixtures gleam. Expect few amenities however - like video replay - but every room has a bar/refrigerator and that is the best amenity I can imagine. I brought mini bottles of liquors and Baileys along plus crackers and cheese spreads for cocktail time.

The stops briefly: Savonna tours are great. Portofino was disappointing but we loved Santa Margarita (where we took a boat from to Portofino). Barcelona city, caves and such are great, preferred over Sitges. Myorca was wonderful. Tunisia was . well I would suggest a taxi orchestrated tour vs. having the Souks aggressively sell 50 people at a time (not a pleasant experience). Malta was a highlight for everyone - great exposure to a unique culture. Palermo caves and such were a treat. We went to Monreale and the cathederal and trip were fascinating. The only thing I might buy in advance would be Barcelona and Malta.

I suggest adding two days to end of trip for Rome and the Vatican. Memorable.

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