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Neelie October 16th, 2005 10:42 AM

Back from Costa Victoria 3rd October 2005 cruise
Further to my previous post regarding the toga night – you were right, there was none! However, I think I could have got away with wearing one anyway since the “dress code? was so relaxed.

This was my first Costa experience, having previously taken cruises with Celebrity (Bermuda and Caribbean), Princess (Caribbean) and P&O (Caribbean and Canaries).

On the whole, it was a very enjoyable cruise. We wanted something different, and we got it.

Highlights: The view sailing out of Venice was truly breathtaking. The ports were excellent. Cruising through the Strait of Itaca, between the Dalmatian islands and through the Adriatic. The voice of Andrea Bocelli (Con te Partiro) played over the loudspeaker on sailing out of our last port. Finding a sun-lounger that was not reserved – a rare occurrence for me! No auctions.

Lowlights: I need to make a hairdressing appointment! Seriously, none really, apart from when I fell off the slippery gangplank in Mykonos.

Weather: Good - not too hot in the daytime, a little chilly at night.

Ports: The ports were the main reason we selected this cruise. Venice and Bari in Italy, Katakolon (Olympia) and the islands of Santorini, Rhodes and Mykonos in Greece and Dubrovnik in Croatia. After the cruise, we stayed on in Venice for a few days – there is no place like it in the world.

Excursions: From Katakolon, we took the coach trip with guide to Olympia. In Santorini, we went on the guided tour to Oia Village. Both guides were excellent (English speaking) and the trips were well run.
From past experience we don’t generally take ships’ tours but made an exception in these ports as otherwise we would not have been able to get to see much.
In the other ports, we just walked off the ship and wandered around the old towns with our guidebooks.

Queueing or getting in line: The system commences at embarkation and works like this. The Costa staff who are supposed to be in control magically disappear. Ignore any semblance of organisation, otherwise orderly people in front will find themselves at the back. Boisterous, pushing, smiling people, mostly in large groups, come in from all sides. It’s important not to get upset and just go with the gradually deepening flow. Don’t bother complaining because nobody will understand what you’re saying anyway. Alternatively, come back later when they’ve all gone. My husband calls it “Costa chaos?.

Entertainment: I can still hear the beat of the Latin music. Unfortunately, we could not find anything much to do during the evenings, apart from eat, and didn’t find it such a sociable atmosphere as other cruises. It would be difficult to suit such a mixed group of people but they did try.

Age Group: This ranged across the board from babies (who even went to the disco) to the elderly.

Nationalities: I think they said it was about 900 Italians, 400 English-speaking, 400 Germans and 200 Spanish.

: As expected. I don’t think I’ll be able to look at a plate of pizza or pasta for a long time though. Not their fault – entirely mine. There was something for everyone, if not too much choice, at the buffet lunch.

The Ship: As usual, I could still not find my way around by the end of the cruise. The décor was very blue and unpretentious (no “works of art?).

Second Sitting in the dining room: was too late - 9.15pm or even 9.30pm. The service was perhaps not to the same standard as previous cruises but not bad. The “Baked Alaska evening? was lively and amusing. The introductions to the staff went on for seemingly ages and it was the first time I had ever been asked to dance by a waiter. The “table for 8? we requested turned out to be a table for 6 and had an “emptiness? about it.

Comparison with other cruise lines: This cruise is mainly catering to the Italian market but tries to offer something for everyone. I imagine a Costa cruise from Florida would be very different and on a par with Celebrity or Princess.

Over and out.

cookie1207 October 21st, 2005 10:14 AM

Costa service(over worked and understaffed dining room waiters) are by no way upto the level of servce offered on Princess much less Celebrity.
The food selection and taste is also way below them.IMHO

The problem with lines(passengers) is another thing Costa doesn't do well and never has.

Neelie October 21st, 2005 05:28 PM

If people don't have very high expectations about a cruise, then they don't get disappointed! I have to agree with you to a certain extent. Our only waiter was quite arrogant sometimes but was probably just tired. I just thought Costa might organise themselves better for the American market - but perhaps they're the same wherever they go.

Which line should I go with next time (next year hopefully), maybe to Hawaii. Princess or Celebrity?

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