I don't post on this board really but I thought it was important to post a review of my cruise from Oct 10-17 2009 on the Costa Victoria from Venice. I came to this website for reviews on Costa when I was in the planning stages and didn't find too much information and the information I did find was pretty negative. I had a great time on my cruise and couldn't be happier with Costa.
Our cruise was from Venice - Venice. Stops in Ancona Italy, day at sea, Santorini Greece and Mykonos Greece on the same day, Piraeus (Athens), Corfu Greece, and Dubrovnik Croatia.
The embarkation process has to be the easiest I have ever experienced. Once in the Cruise Terminal, you had to fill out a health questionnaire. You took that form along with your passport and cruise documents and got in line. We did have one couple that cut passed us in this line but it didn't bother me as I know that not all nationalities "queue". My fellow travellers were a little upset but I told them that this is how it's done in some places. You have to have an open mind when travelling to another country. You can't expect everywhere to be like where you are from. What fun would it be to travel the world if each place wasn't different?
Anyway, we showed our passports and cruise documents, handed in our health questionnaire and were walking onto the ship in no time. We did do our registration online but I didn't see any different lines for people who hadn't. We got to the ship, they took our photo and we were let on and immediately were let in to our cabin. We did not have to turn in any of the cruise documents to anyone. It was the strangest thing. They just checked your passport against your documents. When we got to our cabin, our Costa cards were already there. We did have separate room keys though. They are plastic as well but not a credit card type card. Within 30 minutes of being in our cabin, our luggage was delivered. I was amazed with this. I figured it would be hours before we got our luggage.
Shortly after we were in our cabin, our cabin steward, Amar came in to introduce himself and answer any questions we had. He was very nice and did a great job. He told us that our muster drill was scheduled for the next afternoon due to rough seas, however, the seas were not rough at all.
We went to check out the ship and I was happy with it. It was extremely clean and all of the staff were very nice, saying hello and Good Evening whenever we saw them. We found out at the end of the cruise that the English speaking passengers were in the majority for this cruise but we didn’t know that and I was surprised to hear that. There were folks from all over the world on this cruise. All announcements were made in 5 languages – Italian, French, English, German, and Portuguese. We were also impressed that there were not a lot of announcements in general. I always hated when the cruise director would make an announcement for every little thing. Instead, we relied on our daily “Today” paper to find the things we were interested in.
The nightly shows were great too. I am surprised that most of the shows were in English. It made it great for the English speakers but I have to assume that the non-English speaking crowd didn’t appreciate it. There were several lounges that featured different kinds of music each night. There was always a late night party too. I didn’t use the casino so I can’t comment on that.
I have to say the bar staff and the animation team had some really great employees. I made friends with a girl server that we saw every day on the pool deck. She would come over and talk to us every day asking how we liked the day’s port and give us information on the next port. Very friendly. I also talked to one of the guys on the animation team and asked him about his job a lot. I am intrigued about what makes someone work on a cruise ship. He is very passionate about his job and likes it a lot. They are worked to death though. I am from Chicago and once he found that out, he called me Chicago each time I saw him.
Our wait staff in the dining room was great too. Our assistant waiter was the happiest person I ever met. Always had a smile on his face and was always laughing. I can’t say enough about the workers. They are all friendly and hard working people who do everything in their capacity to make your cruise the best.
The food was really good. There is a great variety of food offered every day and there is always something for everyone.
Finally, I would just like to say that the people who comment negatively on Costa either had a horrible experience or they let other passengers cultural differences get in their way. There is nothing about this cruise that I would change. The staff is top notch and the ship was exceptionally clean. Costa does a good job and they deserve to be recognized for it.
One more thing. This didn’t mean much to me because I was prepared for a different experience, but I learned that all Costa employees must speak English semi-fluently to work on board. I was very surprised to hear that. I knew that we would have some English speaking staff on board, but all employees speak English. I didn’t want to mention this because we Americans shouldn’t expect everyone in the world to speak our language, especially when we are travelling to their country, but I brought it up in case it may help people decided to sail with Costa and not be afraid that they couldn’t communicate.