Why not go on a voyage with Costa Cruise

There are plenty of cruise companies, and it’s difficult to choose the right ship and the best itinerary. I won’t nominate the best one, but I will tell you why you shouldn’t travel with Costa Cruise.

бассейн коста романтика

A cruise trip is worthwhile when the ship docks at remote or isolated places, or at places hard or costly to access, or when hotel and flight expenses are high. For example, French Polynesia or the Indian Ocean islands. Unfortunately, only Costa Cruise carried the uncommon Indian Ocean destination we sought, so we decided to travel with it.

However, 15 days that were meant to be amazing turned into two weeks of hell.

1. Food.

Be ready to eat the same food every day, just like in a Turkish hotel: uneaten breakfast will become a scrappy lunch, and salads from dinner will be a perfect match for eggs at breakfast. A “circle of food”, indeed.

You think there is a choice between a buffet and a restaurant, but lunches and dinners are the same in both places, perhaps with just a little decoration added in the “a la carte” option – and two more hours waiting for your order.

ресторан коста неоромантика

In case you are tired of ground-hog day menu, you can make a reservation in one of the other restaurants for an additional price. However, even your reservation won’t guarantee you are on the list. We made a reservation a month before for a special date, but on arrival were told that we were not on the list and that we had no reservation.

We had to purchase expensive on-board internet access to present the confirmation letter at the reception desk.

We stayed at this Japanese restaurant for almost two hours – and it was only half-occupied. Was it really necessary to make us wait at the entrance for 20 minutes and to require an internet confirmation? Or was this just bad Costa Cruise service?

2. Staff treatment.

No-one cared when you had problems unless you were a Deck 11 passenger. We spent three days at reception asking to change our cabin because it was so noisy we couldn’t close our eyes for five minutes. We were sleeping on sofas in the bar during the daytime for the first two days at sea. It sounded as though someone was hammering the walls on both sides, and the ship itself sounded like Titanic going down.

проживание коста

Do you know what we were told at the reception desk? They said that the engineers had not found anything unusual. For a ship of this type and age it was normal sound, and they could change the cabin only if the problem was serious. Our trembling ceiling and disabled air conditioning were not serious.

The message was: “You should understand that there are guests who have priority, and if something is left after we accommodate them, we will let you know. Moreover, we cannot change the cabins without the approval of the head office in Italy.”

It was December 23. No-one was in the office that day. We had to purchase Costa internet to write a letter to the main office.

On December 25 they told us they were not responsible for such problems and that this was the responsibility of the on-board crew.

The ship crew, however, kept telling us that they wouldn’t do anything until the main office responded. When we asked another time if there was any news, the receptionist took a deep breath and sighed: “These Spanish Russians again”.

бар коста романтика

3. Excursions.

Discrimination again. You can buy a guided Costa tour for five or more times its real price, or negotiate on site with local guides. But be warned: if you don’t buy a Costa tour, you will disembark after the “privileged ones” – those who did buy a Costa tour. That is you will leave the ship last (you are assigned a disembarkation number the night before landing in case of “docked at sea”). That will cost you an hour and a half when every minute counts in a short stopover.

People were crowded on six decks waiting to go ashore in only two launches. One poor woman fainted. After this case, the crew abandoned their number system.

It was a desembarkation on Nosy Be island in Madagascar on the 31st of December.

costa dancing lessons

4. Paid water.

After the Costa Concordia shipwreck caused enormous losses, Costa Cruise cut frills. The exception might be toilet paper, where the ship actually leaves two paper rolls. But drinks aren’t served at lunch and dinner. Not even bottled water is offered. Passengers are offered a glass of chlorinated tap water. It’s common on cruises not to include beverages, but at least they should serve bottled water. They will sell you a bottle of water – for three euros! You aren’t allowed to bring on board your own drinks. So you might pay 10 euros or more a day for water – or, on a 15-day cruise, up to 150 euros.

We didn’t meet one passenger who was satisfied by Costa Cruise services. A Spanish couple told us: “We chose Costa NeoRomantica because twenty years ago we made an amazing trip on the ship during our honeymoon. It is a total deception now.”

worst ship costa neoromantica

5. Room service.

You will pay 25 euros a day for room service. Yet, after 10 days on board, no one changed the bed sheets and a red dot left by an unknown person was still there. You won’t receive any services unless you complain. Fruit is included in the price but no-one brings complimentary fruit to your cabin, in contrast, for example, to Holland America Cruises.

We asked for the television set to be fixed. The technician did nothing but leave daily messages that he came and looked. That was it. We were unable to check the balance of our card and had to do this at reception. However, they diligently debited our account and had the gall to embarrass us at the front of a line of passengers in the restaurant, accusing us of not paying for services on board. After ten minutes of argument, it was agreed it was their database mistake. It was embarrassing.

Two days earlier in Tamatave (Madagascar), for the same reason, we were made to wait in the pouring rain and stopped from going aboard until crew found out what was wrong with our cards.

ship costa neoromantica

6. The cost of the cruise.

Do you think that for such an old ship and low level of services the price will be reasonable? You wish. The double cabin price is from 200 euros per night, because Costa had a monopoly on this route. The cruise line cuts costs rigorously, probably in the wake of financial losses and compensation after the Costa Concordia wreck. Be ready for minimum services at high prices.

7. Ship.

Old, even ancient, ships. The company planed to refurbish the Costa Romantica into Costa NeoRomantica, but “Neo” never appeared. The wrapper looks nice, but the candy is old.

8. Internet.

Extremely expensive mad slow onboard internet connection and blocked sim cards. For 21 euro cents per minute, you can purchase onboard internet to say hello to your friends or to check your email. The speed is too slow for Skype and you can barely check your Facebook account. You will need at least three to five minutes for settings and loading. It is impossible to share your connection with another device.

9. No postal response.

After our cruise, I wrote a letter describing everything that happened to us during these long 15 days, but no-one was ready to address the problems. The answer was “no” to every point we raised.


These are the main points that disappointed us, and we will never recommend a Costa Cruise to anyone.

I hope this cruise company will close, and that all its potential customers refuse to buy.

Costa Cruise disrespects customers. It’s a low-cost, low-service, bad-mannered company that cares only about income and not customer satisfaction. Yet a contented customer brings more customers.

cruise indian ocean

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