Costa Magica Cruise Ship, Costa Cruises
We just got back from West Med cruise on Costa Magica.
I had read some reviews and i wasnt expecting much.
Having said that, the reviews were mostly by Americans. MY wife and I are both 45 so here's what I thought:
The ship is not a 5 star deal, its more like a 3 or 4 star hotel. The service was outstanding, all the crew were a good laugh and pleasent if you asked them how they were doing. The food was good at dinner. We were on second sitting starting at 9pm, which we didnt initially like the idea of, but it turned out just great and our waiters were excellent. The people on our table were also excellent and I would never have picked them out as people we would get along with.
One waiter made a mistake one day and I thought he was going to through himself over the side he was so sorry about it.
We were never on the ship for lunch so I cant comment on that or Tea. Breakfast was fine, its a bit of a cattle market but then there are a lot of people.
Its not a cheap holiday but its a different port every day. We didnt do any excursions so I Cant comment on those, but I heard no complaints. At this time of year it is cold I guess about 10 or 15 degrees. The Italians had hats and scarfs on, the Brits and Germans were in shirt sleeves. I didnt see the Yanks, they must have been watching TV
We bought an X1 drinks package which was free drinks at lunch and dinner. I seriously abused the drinks at dinner, and no one seemed to mind. I also bought a 20 beers package for drinks outside of lunch and dinner. I am sorry to say I left 2 drinks behind. I dont know how it happened but I just could not drink them on the last night. The drinks are expensive, but you can get your moneys worth.
We tended to get back aboard about 4ish most days, had a nap, go to the theater, then have a quick drink and off to dinner. The theater was really good in our opinion. Someone told us that it was like watching a gang show, but we found the whole thing entertaining enough for us.
I dont know what the TV was like, we didnt watch it.I didnt expect to see North American news on an Italian ship in the Western Med, but didnt look anyway?
Most of the passengers are not American. I understand this can be a shock when you live in a country where there are lots of Americans (America)I expected mostly Italians and was not surprised to find out that this was the case. I found the Italians very pleasent. I learnt about 10 words of Italian so that I could talk to people?
Everyone I spoke to was very pleasent and interesting. The Italians started to get less in number and the Germans more in number as the cruise went on. I didnt talk to the Germans. They look so dull.
All the crew spoke excellent English and Italian. Most spoke French too. They were all from the Philipins or Indonisia. You can but admire a guy who is born into poverty and teaches himself a few languages so that he can get a job.
I have to tell you it was probably the best holiday we ever had. But then there was so much opportunity to talk with other people and have a laugh.
I guess if you want to sit on your firm but comfortable bed in you adequatly sized cabin, trying to find North American news programmes in Italy, and not have a few drinks and learn about other cultures then this would not be for you.
For me the moral of the story is: You get out what you put in. We had a fantastic time. We partied until 2 or 3 am every night and it was exhausting but we loved it.
I dont think we would go again because we wouldnt be able to recreate it. We could only be dissapointed.
If you book yourself on the Costa Magica based on this review then dont expect a good time to be handed to you on a plate. You will have to look for it. But really its not at all difficult.
22 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
We have just returned from our week on Costa Magica, having completed the Western Mediterranian itinary. Although there were several plus points, we were disappointed overall with our experience with Costa in several areas.
GETTING ON AND OFF; We boarded in Barcelona, very quickly and easily with no problems. In fact, apart from the inevitable waiting in line to embark and disembark during the excursions, the process was fairly fluid; a quick swipe of the card for getting off and on. Security was quite strict about bringing food and drink and certain purchases from shore on board. This is something to bear in mind if you like to go shopping. Some of the guides on the excursions didn't understand this, and still encouraged us to buy food from local markets.
EXCURSIONS; good variety of things to do although we found the excursions quite pricey compared to other cruise lines we have been on. The organisation was chaotic; all those taking various excursions on that day had to assemble in one of the lounges. You had a room full of people of all nationalities waiting to hear when their bus number came up, read out in several languages. It did make for a lot of confusion. It would have been far better to move separate nationalities to separate lounges throughout the ship for this exercise, as was the case when we were on the MSC Orchestra last year.
SHIP; 4 years old now, Costa Magica is essentially kept very clean in places where it matters. Cabin bathrooms were spotless, cabins kept clean and tidy, eating areas and restaurants clean. However, there was no hand-sanitizer for entering the eating areas or where entering the ship, which we have experience on other cruises. The furnishings are showing some wear in places (although not surprising for the age and useage), but the staff do work hard to maintain standards. The thing that struck me as soon as I got on board was the state of the windows. They looked as if they had not been cleaned for ages. Our balcony was filthy and was not cleaned the whole time we were on board. There was one day where staff oiled the wooden handrail on the balconies, but that was it ! Getting around the ship was confusing; access is poor on the inside and the up-and-down decks outside got very crowded. There was supposed to be an 'adults only' quiet area at the rear of the ship, but this was not adhered to, with children and teen-ages dive bombing in the pool here, and when I pointed this out to a member of the bar staff, I just received a shrug of the shoulders!
SHOPS; very good, nice range of jewellery at decent prices and the standard duty-free fare.
FOOD; inconsistant, ranging from very poor to good. We thought the best
food was served in the buffet areas, rather than in the main restaurants. Buffet area at lunch time fairly crowded, but providing a decent variety of food, fruit and salads. Drinks are quite pricey, and families may be better off getting the drinks package at the start of the cruise.
ENTERTAINMENT; standard stage shows, including a mime artist (great for the kids), the ship's own dance troupe (who were really good), female singer, and some talented acrobats. Good family entertainment. Nice theatre.
OVERVIEW; a different experience than what we had last year with the MSC Orchestra. Yes, the Orchestra is a newer ship, but if I had to choose between the 2 Italian cruise lines, and are looking for a more classy, organised experience and surroundings (with consistantly decent food) I would choose MSC.
15 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Being a first time cruiser I wasn't too sure what to expect from a cruise ship, let alone an Italian one. The whole family - wife and two children met the ship at Barcelona (arranged flights and transfers independantly) and was amazed at the organisation of the team. Boarding was swift and as you made your way into the grand lobby you're amazed at the sheer size (11 floors). The decor reminded me of a Las Vegas casino, very grand with lots of gold columns etc but with some fantastic art mixed around the ship.
The cabins were amazing - 4 of us fitted with ease and with a balcony it felt as though you're in a normal hotel room.
The staff were absolutely brilliant - mainly Phillipino and Brasilians but english was no problem. The passengers were mainly French, Spanish, Italian and at least 10% American and Canadian which was fine with us and we didn't have to endure watching British holiday makers embarrasing us!!!
Food was non stop with quite a nice evening meal in the restaurant followed by a good show in the theatre(which was great for entertaining all ages).I'd recommend purchasing the water and soft drink packages in advance as they do work out cheaper than purchasing on board.
The itinerary was good with full days in nearly all the ports but be prepared for the excursions with a typical excursion for the 4 of us reaching €200! We actually managed to see most of the tours etc. by walking out of the ports and getting on the tourist buses (at least you could get off when you wanted to).
All in all a fantastic first cruise experience and we're already eyeing up our next Costa cruise especially when the two new ships launch in 2009.
Well done Costa.
7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
I have health problems, so Iglucruise (Warren) was magnificent in allocating all of my preferences, such as late eating and a cabin at the front, so I wouldn't be sick so readily.
We flew with Delta (not so good) over to Florida and stayed in a great hotel in Miami, after being collected at the airport, and sent to a coach, to get there. We then had an opportunity to go shopping in Miami prior to departure, via coach to Fort Lauderdale, the next morning.
We didn't have to queue for long in the embarkation terminal, as I have disabilities, and was allowed in earlier. However, we left port late, as there were so many people queuing for over 4 hours!
Our baggage turned up late, but at least it was all there! We did pack our luggage with a lot of drinks from downtown Miami, so it worked out good value for us, and we bought so much on the trip, that the drink space was filled on the way home!
Iglu.com didn't know the way that the beds faced in the cabin (Costa itself this morning, when I enquired, also couldn't answer this question!), though, and when we arrived, the ship was full and we couldn't change cabin, as the beds were facing backwards, in cabin 7207.
The house keeping staff were magnificent in changing the beds around, and our personal steward, Donny, was great. He was Indonesian and his wife was living in Bulgaria, and he was extremely polite and helpful.
Unfortunately, our toilet really smelt of something strange, so I kept pouring my husband's aftershave down it, to stop the smell! Donny tried with loads of cleaning agents, but there just was no escape from the smell, once the water returned to the bowl after a flush.
Max was the cruise director on our voyage and we totally enjoyed his work. We even won the 'Newlywed not so newlywed game' and it was playing for 3 days afterwards, much to our despair, as people kept coming up to us, congratulating us and commenting on our strange answers to some of the explicit questions!
The shows in general, were well performed, and we especially enjoyed the Italian singer from New York, who had us singing along to bubbles on the screen, which denoted which words to sing along to!
The casino was small enough to not hamper us, and we could glide through readily, without feeling compelled to gamble! The casino managers were great and change was readily available, without queues, for the slot machines!
We enjoyed the advice offered to us, by Richie, on purchases and we invested in jewellery, so we are really happy! He even helped us out, by bringing the gem on board the ship, when we left our credit cards behind in our cabin, and considered it too much to go back and forth to get it, in St. Thomas.
Puerto Rico and Grand Turk were rather monotonous for us, as it was holiday time and they were closed except for sales.
The photos of us getting on and off the boat, and in various evening activities, did work out to be very expensive, but we did appreciate a wonderful card hand-signed from the captain, after we posed with him for a photo one night.
We even won the bingo one night, which paid for our entire room costs! We didn't use the pools, as there were always children in them and I couldn't risk an infection. Nor did we frequent the upstairs buffets, as ice tea along with ice cream and standard food daily, just didn't appeal to me, and I wasn't too sure of the safety of the water.
We are both vegetarians, so we were rather disappointed with the limited choice on the restaurant menu, especially on Christmas day! The maitre d' helped us out, but I lost my appetite towards the end of the cruise, and just stopped eating due to the repetitive Italian dishes. I did manage to eat some Mexican from a Mexican buffet, though - too bad it was only for one day!
The alcohol-free cocktail card booklet that we bought at the beginning of the cruise, was really good value, and we didn't even manage to use all the vouchers! There were always staff available, to take your order, even when you were in the middle of a lounge, and playing a trivia game!
We felt like we were back in a kid's party, and played every game - totally loved everything to do on board! And even had afternoon tea in one of the lounges with cakes!
We also opted for the laundry service that they offer at the end of the cruise, but one or two items were ruined in this wash, including an expensive shirt that my husband put in!
The excursion on Catalina Island was great - the best beach I've been to in a long time!
And the beach barbeque was a great idea, too! we were taken out on the life boats in a rough sea, which was amusing but rather scary too! As it was a short trip, there wasn't much chance of vomiting!
The disembarkation was best left after the initial people got off the boat, and was well organised, for the final one, where we disembarked by colour codes. Our luggage was easily identified and organised, so we got home with all luggage in one piece!
But in general, we were satisfied in all aspects, apart from the food choices. At least, the food was safe to eat and I didn't have any food poisoning, which would have really messed up my holiday and I may have died from.
We are currently trying to book our next cruise with them for this Christmas, for a different itinerary but for no longer than one week, to save us from the food boredom again. Thank you Costa!
10 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
We have cruised with Costa before in 2002 on Atlantica and loved it, so we decided to book another. I wished I hadn't, the standards have dropped considerably.
The non existent organisation of transportation from airport to hotel and hotel to ship was a nightmare, having you hanging about too long. Yet on your disembarkation it runs like clockwork.
The food was OK not the standards it was before 5 out of 10. Entertainment again 5 out of 10. Friendliness of staff you can't complain
Shore excursions are not always described in the leaflet correctly and are overpriced and when you happen to complain, they fob you off and the manager won't even come out to speak to you.
Don't get me wrong the ship is beautiful, cleanliness is spot on and the kids club is absolutely fantastic, speaking to other past Costa passengers they felt the same and were very disappointed and won't be cruising with Costa again, quite a sad situation they have let themselves down.
2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Fabulous cruise. Excellent service in all aspects. Cleanliness was top notch. Food was first class. Courteous staff, no complaints at all. Plenty of entertainments.
It was a very relaxing cruise, no hassle and no problem in getting the required service and attention. Spectacles, shows and activities all day (and night) long.
Six course meals (Italian always on menu) in restaurant. Deserves 5 stars rating.
We will not hesitate booking for another cruise on this boat. We recommend this cruise line to any first starter.
2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
After reading numerous reviews about the Magica, I was kind of wary about going on this cruise.
I had read numerous times that the food was horrible and service was mediocre. Well, now after about a week after the cruise, I am here to tell you that all those negative comments must have come from rich or silly people.
We had an absolutely great time. The food was always hot, quite a variety was offered and there was plenty of it. The chef and his staff are to be commended. The whole crew from top to bottom was excellent. Keep in mind, I travelled with my wife and 2 children (9&17).
We all had a great time.
The only problem we encountered was some of the European passengers, once they new you were American, became very rude. Not just once or twice, it became the norm.
Besides these rude people, we can not find fault with Costa or the Magica. By all means take a cruise on this ship and you will be greatly surprised! We can not wait till next year for the next cruise.
6 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
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.
Ports-I didn't do any of the excursions offered by the cruise line. I stayed very close to the docks in Nassau, just shopped at the Straw Market and took some pictures at Junkaboo beach. The weather was horrible that one day we were in Cozumel so we walked around downtown. It was a pity we weren't able to go snorkelling.
Unfortunately, an accident had occurred so our stop in Grand Cayman was cancelled.
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 high school 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 cruise line. 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 before and never has been room been constantly cleaned.
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 like I was experiencing a sliver of contemporary
Italian culture. My biggest complaint is that contemporary dance music was only played at the disco where the teens were. The dancing there was all very clean since no one on that dance floor was past 16. Alot of us kids in the middle just sort of wondered around and went to bed early whereas the younger teens partied into the morning. This is good for family vacations going together in large groups, retired couples, or Americans thinking they are going to seek their Italian heritage.
With the gambling and drinking age set at 21, don't be suckered in by the cheap prices when it comes time to decide a senior trip come April.
2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Just returned off the COSTA MAGICA, plenty of good things to say about the ship, starting with the ports of call. Savona, Naples, Alexandria, Limassol, Rhodes, Marmaris, Athens and finally Katakolon. Cabins regardless on which deck, outstanding, layout of ship in general not as good as others of this fleet but plenty of places to sit and relax. Great bars and shows and quiet areas to sit in.
The crew and staff certainly up to and above most standards we have had before on Costa. For the non-sailors amongst you even in a force 8 I reckon you will hardly feel this ship moving.
I fear the critics are right about the food on this particular ship, oh what has happened to that wonderful Italian Cuisine, those sumptuous menus from around the globe. The presentation, the choice of dishes available are still there, but it arrived at the table cold, or at best luke-warm.
Surely this is down to the shear size and the large number of passengers to be served, at each sitting.
Ok knowing Costa as we do I am sure within one month this will be rectified, but as we head towards bigger and bigger cruise ships will this become the norm?
Two very bad marks for the designers of this ship, getting to every bar or lounge at the stern of the ship, which to us were the better lounges, you had to funnel though a very small gap to the rear of the casino less than eight foot I would say, this was chaos during the time second sitting for dinner was going in and first coming out. The second why on earth does the start of the queue for the buffet begin under the staircase used by the dinners.
Is BIG really Beautiful. not for us thank you. This may well be our last Costa Cruise something was missing.
4 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Being avid Costa fans, we looked forward to this our eighth cruise with them in five years. but for the first time we were disappointed.
Certainly a wonderful itinerary, superb staff and crew, spotless ship as was expected during this the inaugural season, but oh how crowded it was during sea days and nights. wherever you went you were funnelled through small spaces, in the case of all the stern bars and lounges, access through the Casino and a gap of less than six foot, while fighting against the second sitting Dinners coming the other way. The buffet area was an accident waiting to happen, with the hot drinks bars, situated right were people were queuing for food. talking of which whatever happened to that wonderful cuisine we expected, and indeed got on all the other Costa ships. the food on this ship was appalling.
If as we are reading these extra large cruise ships are the way forward then count us out, taking up to 40 minutes to board after taking a tour in not my idea of enjoyment.
5 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
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