CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Costa Cruises Costa Magica Eastern Mediterranean July 17, 2005

There were 17 of us going on this cruise as part of a family reunion. Our group included several parties of 2, a single, and 2 families of 4. Overall, I'd say our experience was very good (less so for the 2 families).

The cabins were much larger than I had expected based on my 1 previous cruise. The cabins set up for the families of 4 were much, much larger than those on our previous cruise. Unfortunately, the particular cabins our 2 families had were situated on deck 2 in the middle of the ship, directly under the ship's kitchen. This meant that the families were awoken between 3am and 4am every morning by loud banging and other noises. The noises rarely subsided before 7am. Complaining to ship's services didn't help. By day 3 they were able to sleep through all but the worst of the noise, due to extreme fatigue. There are other 4-person cabins available. Avoid deck 2, center of the ship.

We all enjoyed the dinners in Smerelda. Our American bellies couldn't have handled waiting until 8:45 for dinner. We had the 7:15 seating. The waiters for our two tables seemed a bit overworked with since they also had 3 other tables to serve. We really liked that we could eat at those exact same tables with the exact same waiters at breakfast and lunch as well.

The picky eaters had some problems finding food they liked. The 2nd day during lunch we asked if fettuchini alfredo (aka fancy macoroni and cheese) could be offered to them. The pickiest eaters ended up having that every lunch and dinner for the rest of the cruise, even though it was never offered on the menu. Just because they don't offer it, doesn't mean they won't make it for you.

I wouldn't suggest ordering anything from the "standard" menu. Order from the "Chef's Recommendations" menu. As our waiter said: "if you don't like it, I'll take it back and get you something else!" There were a few unusual items, but all were good. I did miss chicken by the end of the cruise. The meals were very beef/fish oriented, the fish generally being the better choice. The cream soups were wonderful, but skip the cucumber one.

Desserts were OK. Few chocolate offerings, but the chocolate gelato was heavenly. If offered, always order the fresh fruit (in addition to whatever "naughty" dessert you want). All of the fruit was 'the best fruit I've ever had', excluding the canned pineapple rings at breakfast. Hint: fresh pineapple could be found in the fruit cocktail. Beware of seeds in the grapes!

Entertainment: The "local acts" were good, but the shows put on by the ship's crew were laughable (although several adult members of my family thought all were quite good). The one standout was the show put on the night we left Sicily. Where were these people the rest of the time?! They were good!!

We only took 1 guided tour: in Tunis. I would recommend that. It was rushed, but I think we wouldn't have escaped the souk to see anything else, if we had gone on our own.

The Savona, Barcelona, Malta, and Palermo stops were all about 2 hours too short. We could have used another 4 hours in Palma. Malta was my favorite, with Barcelona and Savona tied for 2nd. In all 3, you could easily walk off the ship and wander the city on your own (you needed a city bus to safely leave the pier in Barcelona).

Be prepared to have people cut in front of you in line, getting on and off the ship. With 17 of us, we could fan out and block the sides of the line from cutters. When there were only a few of us, we learned to use elbows to good measure.

We had 2 days in Rome before our cruise, but spent most of that time recovering from jet lag. So we were glad we still had 3 days in Rome after the cruise.

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