January 2, 2006
I am a 20-year-old college student who went with my parents and 8-year-old brother. We are first time cruisers from the Midwest. I enjoyed the experience and would recommend others to try the Magica. Food-Before boarding, I was prepared to starve for the week since I had read many reviews criticizing costa's food. On the contrary, I gained weight and laughed with joy the first time I went through the Bellagio buffet. I never had a problem with lines, always got my food instantly.I suppose those used to luxury travelling would complain about the dinning and service. My filet mignon wasn't anything special and dinner did seem slow at times.
For kids- My brother had a good time. Just like on any cruise, there are pools, slides, and kid's clubs to preoccupy the time.
Daytime activities- During the day most people just lounged around by the pool because the activities weren't worthwhile. I attended free yoga classes, a cooking demo, and "mini-facial" (product endorsement). Though Costa prides itself in offering Italian, the language class was nothing more than a page out of the dictionary. While the ship is at sea they have dance regimes by the pool deck for sunbathers sick of sitting on their butts all day. The gym is equipped with the latest gizmos. Classes are expensive and not worth your $11 for 20 minutes of spinning. What's nice and free is the Sauna and Turkish bath. Nightlight- Unless you're below the age of 16 or cruising without young children, the night was very limited to college-aged people. Since my friend is 18 and there was nothing better to do, we hung out at the Teen Zone (Discoteca 11pm-?) a few times. The icebreakers were fun and short, which allowed time for the teens to dance and chill.
I consider myself a structured party girl (enjoying costume parties, prom) and the themed nights targeted at everyone weren't all that impressive. Alot of people were enthusiastic about wearing togas for Roman night though. They had several competitions such as electing a Mr.Pizza, Newlyweds Game, or James Dean contest. Entertainment-There wasn't any stand-up comedy or drama because there were too many universal languages on that ship.
I went to all the shows and I can honestly say that highschool productions outshine what Magica offered. However, I have to give them credit for trying, it isn't easy appealing to such a diverse group. There's several lounges/piano bars where musicians perform individually, since I'm not old enough to drink I didn't stick around too long. What I consider the highlight of the trip was to see the waiters dancing at dinner time. For $400 you can may not be entertained 24/7 but the dancing waiters was worth every penny. Fellow cruisers- A large portion of the passengers are French, Spanish, and predominantly Italian-speaking, which means you'll be coming face-to-face with G-strings and Speedos. Unlike the other reviewers who interpret cultural differences as rudeness, remember that this is the #1 EUROPEAN cruiseline. Have some common sense and respect while onboard.
Service- The cruise director and his staff is Italian, they mingle more with the Italians. As for the waiters and stewards, they are English-speaking and very friendly to everyone. Be nice to them because they look after you the whole week and work long hours. I've stayed at 4 star hotels around the world bfore and never has been room been constantly cleaned.
Overall If you want an "Italian" experience, this is the cruise to go on and hence many Italian-Americans do so. With all the Italians from Italy onboard, I felt somewhat immersed in their culture. My biggest complaint is that contemporary dance music was only played at the disco where the teens were. Alot of us young adults just sort of wandered around and went to bed early whereas the teens partied into the morning. A Magica cruise is good for family vacations going together in large groups, retired couples, or Americans thinking they are going to seek their Italian heritage. Though for the party animals out there, the Magica boat doesn't quite cut it.