Costa Cruises Costa Magica Eastern Caribbean December 26, 2005
My new wife and I, yes, this was our Honeymoon vacation of what was supposed to be a grand ship with lots of Mediter. flare and fancy. The Ship of dreams, or so we thought.... Oh yeah it was a dream, it was a NIGHTMARE! First to shed some perspective, I am 28, (attorney) my wife, Tara (nurse), is 27, and we both have cruised numerous times before on various lines and generally enjoy cruising. We selected Magica basically because of the newness of the ship and the size, expecting lots of space and functioning mechanics without breakdowns, etc.... We could not have been more wrong - cramped spaces and low end A/C syatem!!!!! Seriously, my wife, who is a stubborn, strong willed, "tough" girl was in tears by day three begging the staff to get us tickets to fly home and get off of this horror!
First of all, boarding on Monday the 26th was a complete disorganized mess, with RUDE Costa employees yelling at everyone to get in line, make circles, then reversing the lines, then reversing them again, while they let the Italians, Hispanics, French, and German passengers sneak in line, push people, shove people, kids kicking and hitting other passengers, etc and said nothing. My first complaint was the four hour line getting into embark. process. It was awful. No one knew what was going on.
We finally got on the ship after 4:00, starved, and found nothing but hot dogs and horrible cheeseburgers, and I will say now, the one variety of pizza on this ITALIAN based ship was cheese, and ONLY cheese, all the time cheese pizza and dry foccacia (pizza dough cooked with a couple spices). No pizza bar, no pasta bar, no toppings, no nothing. Tasteless sandwiches, fatty, salty proscuitto ham cold cuts everywhere, and nasty tea and juice "cocktail" sugar saturated drink substances. We decided after realizing there wasn't any real buffet of anykind offered after this long line of hell to skip it and wait for the nighttime dining experience. We headed to our Honeymoon cabin - room # 1007 as Costa had told us they had no balcony rooms when we booked but would try to get us in a room we would like. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Room 1007 is one of the smallest on board, a handicap room --- why ----- I have no idea as neither us are handicapped or requested one..... Oh, by the way, room 1007 is not air conditioned. We knew by dinner the A/C was going to be a problem as neither of us could breathe in the room and it was dead stale air coming through the vent. We called and reported it, let's call it request #1. OH, did I mention, by dining time, (2nd seating), 9:00 the Magica had yet to pull out of Lauderdale, as they apparently were waiting on one passenger. So the cruise for the rest of the week was delayed- getting us to Puerto Rico extremely late (after dark) on Tuesday for a mere four hour port of call in San Juan.
Dinner on night one allowed us to experience the only real highlight of our cruise, our dining buddies, Pete and Alison from Chicago. What a totally cool couple. The one thing Costa nailed was hooking us all up as we were the same age and personalities, etc..... So much fun! - So kudos on that one Costa - we have made new friends that will be lifelong I am sure- they got engaged onboard and we got to be part of it, truly touching and romantic! Great people - and from Chicago USA!!!!
Dining in the dining room was an overall decent experience, but probably more from the pre dinner booze and good conversation with our new friends. Pete and I often commented that no matter the variety of meat we were offered, it all tasted the same and joked that it came from the same hunk of whatever it was that we called "mystery meat" - one day pork, one day veal, the next day lobster (all the same flavor and texture, just different shape and color). ;o) The food on a scale of one to ten in the dining room would be a 5 at best on its best night, and probably more like a 3 or 4 on most nights. Dessert choices were awful, as I opted for the sorbet everynight and it was the most watered down, over sweetened sorbet I have ever had. Service was ok, we liked our waiter and his assistant, but overall the major complaint with Costa was the lack of customer SERVICE and special attention to its guests. After dinner we found a note that the A/C was as good as it would get, so I called again. They sent a guy up that told me to turn off all the lights in the cabin and it might be cooler, so forget any reading or planning for the next day, enjoy your dark - hot cabin, honeymooners! aka, the SWEAT BOX!
We didn't sleep very well on the hard as rock beds, the mattresses seriously, no lie, are less than 2 inches think and on metal frames. Horrible, I talked to several guests that slept on the decks as the pool chairs were much more comfortable than the beds. My wife's neck was so sore the first three days she felt as if she had been rear-ended by a bus. My TMJ in my jaw has been bothering me since night one on these Hard Huge over firm pillows and hard as stone beds. Accomodations in the cabin SUCKED to say the least. No shampoo, conditioner, funny things left by the porters each day to keep you amused as we've found on other lines.... We did get a plate of dates and figs for Italian good luck on New Years eve and that was it! Just yumyumeroo! NOT, I won't even tell you what my wife and Alison said those figs looked like!
We continued to complain and ask to switch cabins for 3 days when finally in St. Thomas someone did not get back on the ship and they offered us a DOWNGRADE to a smaller cabin, and, no lie, suggested that one of us should stay in one cabin, and they would let us keep 1007 for the other so we would have more space and maybe be more cooler. Nice idea, Costa, you actually thought you were doing two Honeymooners a FAVOR by offereing them to stay on separate ends of the ship. I blame a lot of that on the LANGUAGE barrier- no one speaks english on this Lauderdale based cruise!!!!! Wake up calls on the phone are in Italian and you can't understand it to program it! Then they want you off on a few ports by 8 AM! I continued to try and explain to these Italian speaking people that this was unacceptable, and was told to go back to my cabin and "you're welcome". NOT a single freebie or comp offered, no chocolate on pillow, no "congrats" or a free bottle (or even a glass) of cheap champagne, which every other cruise would have provided. Not a single ounce of attention that it was our honeymoon. and it was explained and on our reservations, I read it on their computer myself. Captains night offered low budget champagne and an ornage juice concocted "whiskey sour". whateva! ICK!
The shows are ok, the highlight is the last night on board you have toga night. Everyone is supplied a bed sheet and a crown to wear to the dining room and then attend Roman night to "judge" the talent show of passengers on board. That was the best part of the entertainment all week - and they were amateurs - just passengers on board- but they were really very good! NO comedians all week, just the same dancers - ok, I'll admit it, the dancers are pretty good looking, but that is about the only thing I can say good about the shows. The low end Carnival last year we did had MUCH better entertainment and a nice variety. My wife was so pissed the night of the Newlywed Game as we had hoped to participate then at the last minute MAX, the cruise director decided to pick couple that had been married like 50 years! Yeah MAX why call it the NEWLYWED GAME! ??? again no special attention to the newlyweds on board... and we talked to a couple others that felt slighted the same way.
The only place we really enjoyed was the piano bar - the bartender in their - Richard from the Phillipenes - and pianist, Lucky, from South Africa had real customer service skills. They were fun, got to know the four of us, and we all loved it up there. The only two nice staff on the ship were Richard and Lucky. The cruise director, MAxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!, has a head the size of all of Europe and is very stuck on himself. He basically loves himself so much he speaks all the time, oh and you get him on 5 of the 7 channels giving different talks on the TV all week along if its not enough seeing him all night every night. ( on day 6 they are still running his welcome speech on channel 8) While on that subject, the TV selection is ABC / NBC / and a dozen foreign channels. And for an 8.95 fee you too can see "Meet the Fockers" which has been on DVD for a year! Only reason we wanted to watch the boob tube was to relax because the pool decks FORGET ABOUT IT! There were so many rude Europeans on this ship that took up all the space, smoking, talking VERY loudly, letting their kids go crazy....... It was a panic attack everytime you went to a main deck as there was nowhere to walk, everyone was pushy and shovy, would cut you off getting on elevators, getting in line to get off the ship, buffet lines, etc..... This cruiseline clearly does not like nor cater to the Americans, the crew and staff was not friendly except the two mentioned above. All seem VERY unhappy to be onboard, no smiles, no going out of their way to take care of you. THAT is my main beef, I say again, LACK OF ANY KIND OF CUSTOMER SERVICE, send the Disney Corp. in for a 10 day makeover - this cruise sucked. We paid a premium since it was New Years, very little New Years eve activity, the 11 year olds ran the disco everynight, drinking, smoking, no one saying a thing! Hell, they were playing slots and the casino games at the tables with me all week as well. You feel like a third or fourth rate citizen on this ship as an American. Everyone talks in code even if they can speak English - they purposely don't to leave you out and feel like you are in a tower of babbling tongues.
The ports of call: San Juan, St. Thomas, Catalina Island / Casa De Campo- Domincan Republic, and Nassau were very short stops, two of them being after dark (San Juan & Casa de Campo). We enjoyed the shore excursions we did - they were nighttime activities, and they were nice. Not quite sure how they offered it, but many opted to Kayak in the dark in San Juan. and then by midnight we were back on the ship for more SWEAT BOX.
There was nowhere to relax on this ship. NO WHERE, we wanted to get off and not get back on when we were in port. To sum it up - RUDE people, bad food, lackluster entertainment, big bookoo bucks at this time of year, MEGA bookoo bucks on bar bill and extras, hell they take the tips from you at 8.95 a day per person and take away your ability to tip who you really want! So you end up spending even more on tips -- all said and done, this was over a 6K trip for a week, and we didnt even have an outside cabin. Costa comped us nothing for our troubles with no A/C and the split room on opposite ends of the ship from each other they wanted us to spend our honeymoon in rooms across the ship from each other!!!!! I still can't get over not even one free drink for this s&*t! I must say I will NEVER cruise COSTA again and this week of hell makes me not want to cruise at all again for fear this nightmare could happen again. I'd rather take my money, go to Hawaii, get a NICE suite, with space, and relax and take my time - and eat at 5 * dining and know I am getting a filet or a piece of prime rib when they say it is! Now, we are home, thank God, and back with some space to move, no shovy LOUD smoky Euros (and smelly - deoderant would have gone a LONG way for a lot of these folks on board!) and the A/C in Florida working well. I am off to my nice comfortable bed for the first time is 8 nights and can't wait to flip on the DirecTV -- Trust me people, if you can get out now- DO - DON'T DO THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S SO NOT WORTH IT. Pretty ship, nothing more can I say positive other than Richard the bartender and Lucky the pianist and our new friends Pete and Alison! I would grade this a C- / D overall experience and that is being VERY generous----
Costa - oh yeah, it'll cost ya! Horrible experience.
Feel free to email me for more questions / thoughts / slams on this ship :o) email@example.com