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New to Costa; what differences to expect

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My husband and I are booked for a Southeast Asia cruise in February 2020, due to it's itinerary.  We're booked on the Fortuna.  I'm reading as much about Costa as I can so I'm not completely blindsided by the differences from "mainstream American" cruise lines such as Princess, Celebrity, etc.   I want to enjoy this cruise vs. be frustrated at the differences, so preparing myself mentally ahead of time, hopefully.  I've read that Costa up charges for many things that are included in most other cruise lines, such as water.  Does this mean bottled water only, or during dinner if a glass of water is served, there's a charge?  Even though we do have the Brindiamo drink package, I'm used to the buffets offering some juice, tea, or coffee options that are included.  Is this also the case on Costa?  And with this package, will I be limited to 2 drinks at meals, or do I get more if I choose?   I've read that there's no turn-down cabin service, so am wondering what I can expect from our cabin steward on a day to day basis.  I've read that multiple languages are announced.  Are all loungers for fee or just certain areas of the ship?  Are pool towels provided, or do I need to bring some from home?   If my OBC is in US, will that be changed to euros onboard?  Might there be a currency exchange onboard for the places we visit?  Are there any other differences that you can think of, off the top of your head that I might need to be aware of before boarding that might allow me to prepare myself for this difference?  We've cruised with MSC before and at first the differences frustrated me, but once I figured out their way of doing things, it was a lovely cruise.  Just trying to avoid this on Costa, so we can enjoy it from the start.  Thanks for filling me in.  All information is appreciated. 

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If you have Brindiamo, you will receive free water in restaurant (and of course other drinks included in Brindiamo). No limits. In buffet water is available from water dispensers (free for everybody).

 

Most of loungers are free - I am sure that you will find them without any problems. Sometimes (not on every ship) Costa is defining special area (not directly near pool) where loungers  are paid - this is more quiet place with limited access.

 

You will find pool towels in the cabin. Your steward will replace them with new ones when necessary.

 

For OBC I think they will recalculate it to EUR - please ask when you are onboard in reception.

 

Currency exchange is available on Costa ships in reception or in casino (depending on the ship) - but rates are bad or extremaly bad - it is not good idea to use it. Additionaly it is limited to main currencies only (not for all places visted by the ship). It should not be problem - you could exchange money usually in port, take money from ATM, pay with credit cards etc. I have never had problem with that.

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Greg has answered most of your questions.

 

But if it is not in English the announcement does not concern you.

Do seek out the English speaking host & attend any meeting they hold best way of getting to know other English speakers on board. This is also the person to contact with any problems that are not handled by reception. 

Although there is no longer a 'turn down service' your steward does change towels and tidies up in the evening and will also get anything you need, (name by cabin door)

Your Brindiamo package gives you beers, fruit juices, soft drinks including water, by the glass, coffee's & tea, some item from chocolate bar, wines, plus limited hard liqueur & long drinks, normally anything up to 9 euros or ten dollar's.

Currency on board is either euros or dollars depending on where you are cruising. There is a money exchange machine on board, but as Greg said  the rate is not good, better to just use US dollars which are accepted in most places.

 

If you need ant more info just ask.

 

 

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I assume you've booked with Costa USA.

SE Asia I believe the currency to be Euros. If it's CCL OBC, check on the shareholder benefit page.

Brindiamo is just fine for me (I don't use alcohol). Cappucchio is highly recommended.

It's possible for there to be slight changes in detail depending on your exact itinerary. Make sure what you're reading applies to SE Asia. If your agent can't explain Brindiamo, I wouldn't trust them for any information. I suspect this cruise will have a rather older demographic than usual, much closer to MSC than an American ship.

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Hi

 

We did this cruise on the Victoria early 2018. It is a great itinerary. The Fortuna is quite a bit bigger than the Victoria but it is likely that you will have the same tender or docking arrangements. Phuket is tender. When we went we anchored just off the main beach area(cannot remember what it is called). They used local boats for tender. There was one other tender port but I cannot remember which one.

 

We used mainly US$ but asked taxis to stop at a local ATM to get local money. In Shianoukville we went into the market area and there were loads of money changers happy to take whatever we had.

 

Brindiamo is fine but excludes many of the cocktails and drinks that I like. We usually upgrade at €5 per day per person. Costa still has the cheapest drinks packages that I can see. Going with MSC for the first time in June and quite a bit more expensive.

 

The bars are all free. The pay for restaurants on the Fortuna will likely be the pizza/burger place. Still pretty cheap. If you are a Costa club member they are half prize I think. You could use your drinks package in this restaurant as well.

 

I did a trip report on this cruise if you are interested. I have no idea how to link it but if you click on Alicat it shows all the drivel that I put on CC. There are lots of photos and info about taxis etc and how much we paid. If you do the overnight in Bangkok with Costa be prepared for 2 extremely long hectic days. 

 

I honestly don't think the passengers were of a rather older demographic Dancer Bob. If anything they were younger than the Med cruises.

 

Riana

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Posted (edited)

I'm following this thread with great interest as we are looking at the 7 night cruise on the Costa Fortuna from Singapore to Phuket in February 2020. We have never sailed on Costa. We are regular MSC cruisers and have also sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We are considering a suite on the Fortuna. I can see that a drink package is included. Is there any other perks available when sailing in a suite on the Fortuna? How is the ship in general? Any venues without very load music in the evenings and finally are most of the passengers Europeans flying into Singapore? 

 

We really like this itinerary and I suspect that Costa have a lot of similarities with MSC which we love, especially the Yacht Club. 

 

Any answer very appreciated, thanks a lot. 

Edited by Norwegian Cruiser 73

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I was on Fortuna in January 2019 (14 days from Singapore). In my opinion ship is below Costa standards comparing to its vessels in Europe. Not so bad as Victoria when she was in Asia few years ago. Cruising with charters for a longer time (f.e. Fortuna, Victoria, Atlantica, Serena, neoRomantica) in my opinion is not good for the ship - cruise line does not control everything like during cruises organized by the line. The main problem for me was big chaos and bad organization. I used standard cabin. Probably for suites it could look much different. 

 

For music you will find place for you whithout any problem. Most of passangers from Europe. 

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On 5/7/2019 at 10:47 AM, greg2014 said:

I was on Fortuna in January 2019 (14 days from Singapore). In my opinion ship is below Costa standards comparing to its vessels in Europe. Not so bad as Victoria when she was in Asia few years ago. Cruising with charters for a longer time (f.e. Fortuna, Victoria, Atlantica, Serena, neoRomantica) in my opinion is not good for the ship - cruise line does not control everything like during cruises organized by the line. The main problem for me was big chaos and bad organization. I used standard cabin. Probably for suites it could look much different. 

 

For music you will find place for you whithout any problem. Most of passangers from Europe. 

 

Thank you very much for your feedback 👍 So If I understand you correct, are the sailings on the Costa Fortuna from Singapore charters and not ordinary Costa cruises? 

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Posted (edited)

Not exactly.

Please look for schedule of cruises on Fortuna available via Costa agents or website. Between them there are big gaps - it is time when ship is chartered. All you can buy via Costa agents/website is organized by Costa. Switching between Costa and charter cruises makes chaos - big part of crew is replaced with local people, there are different menus/prices/rules in bars and restaurants, completly different entertainment etc. During charter Costa crew is reduced to bridge/engine/safety staff and people responsible for the most critical services. One of hostess said that during last "switch" on Fortuna it lasted one week when some hundred of crew has been replaced and in meantime Costa made some repairs, replaced menus and even types of alkohol in bars, restarted Costa shows in theater etc.

 

On the other hand please look on Atlantica or Serena. For few years both ships are not available for European guests. Most time they are operated by different companies from China who organize charters for Chinesse guests.

Edited by greg2014

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