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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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My wife & I have been on 125 cruises & the worst cruise of all was Costa. I would not go back on Costa if it was free.On a 7 night cruise we never got a seat even though we went up 39 minutes before show. People reserved empty seats with a book or a hand bag. The food was the worst of all our cruises.Our cabin was the most forward & we could hardly sleep because the ocean was hitting the side of our cabin.

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8 hours ago, hshowalter said:

My wife & I have been on 125 cruises & the worst cruise of all was Costa. I would not go back on Costa if it was free.On a 7 night cruise we never got a seat even though we went up 39 minutes before show. People reserved empty seats with a book or a hand bag. The food was the worst of all our cruises.Our cabin was the most forward & we could hardly sleep because the ocean was hitting the side of our cabin.

 

Then why are you posting on a Costa site, we never failed to find a seat in theatre if going 30 minutes before start, Costa allow you to choose your cabin location, after 125 cruises surely you know how to book a cruise & find out about all the pit-falls each line has by reading reviews & posts on the C.C. forum.

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Also new to Costa. 

 

So we are booked on a two week cruise to Iceland on the Costa Mediterranea. 

 

1. Is housekeeping only once each day for BP cabins also? If no turn down service in the evening will the room remain with the sofa-bed always rolled out as we are a family of 4 in the BP cabin?

 

2. What is the dress code for dinners please? How strict are the dress codes?

 

3. Does the Brindiamo drinks package allow us to get bottled water in the bars to take to the cabin?

 

4. We are booked for the early sitting for dinner. It looks like we will return to the ship after some excursions with little time to get ready for our 19:00 (early sitting for dinner). How strict is the timing? Would we be better we go to the buffet on those days?

 

Thank you

 

Raj

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Raj.K said:

Also new to Costa. 

 

So we are booked on a two week cruise to Iceland on the Costa Mediterranea. 

 

1. Is housekeeping only once each day for BP cabins also? If no turn down service in the evening will the room remain with the sofa-bed always rolled out as we are a family of 4 in the BP cabin?

 

2. What is the dress code for dinners please? How strict are the dress codes?

 

3. Does the Brindiamo drinks package allow us to get bottled water in the bars to take to the cabin?

 

4. We are booked for the early sitting for dinner. It looks like we will return to the ship after some excursions with little time to get ready for our 19:00 (early sitting for dinner). How strict is the timing? Would we be better we go to the buffet on those days?

 

Thank you

 

Raj

 

 

 

Sorry don't know about the cabin layout.

They will tell you on the daily planner what the dress code is for the evening.  No shorts.

Brindiamo drink package has bottled water by the glass. If you want bottles you have to buy them separately. I bring a reusable bottle and fill it for use in the cabin.

They close the doors to the dining room 15 minutes after the set time.  So yes you would need to go to the buffet on days you are late back.

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If you are on a Costa tour the MDR will make allowances for any tours returning late to the ship.

 

That does not mean you can turn up very late but within a reasonable time. On Costa's 'Cut food waste program' all main means are the same in all restaurant's, the buffet is sometimes the best option with children.

You cabin steward will see to your beds in the evening but does not change towels unless put on floor or turn down bedding, again this is trying to cut down usage and waste.

The dress code is not as strict as it used to be & is suggested only now. However as Maryann said shorts bathing costumes vests are not acceptable but nowadays jeans are on most ships even (heavens help us) on formal nights.

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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. ... in my opinion is not good for the ship - cruise line does not control everything like during cruises organized by the line. 

 

Hi, found a good offer for the FORTUNA direct on COSTA's own web-page, so I guessed it is "organized by the line"?!

 

According to COSTA, the FORTUNA was refurbished in December 2018 - with new Shops, Restaurants, Atrium and Spa-Showers in Premium Staterooms, so why is the FORTUNA below COSTA standards (only the Service or the fittings/furnishings)?

 

Where did you booked your cruise - if it was not "organized by the line"?

 

BTW. which port was used for docking in Phuket? Is Phuket always a tender destination with COSTA?

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In my post I wrote that for few years (with short breaks between) Costa Fortuna was chartered to company from China. During this time all cruises were not organized and offered by Costa but by their partner from China. Now all cruises are offered by Costa. I also booked my Jan 2019 cruise with Costa but in my opinion earlier charters are the reason why Fortuna is below Costa standards.

 

About refurbishment I do not have good opinion - I was onboard few weeks after this "refurbishment" They did it within one week replacing carpets and some design in public areas. In my opinion ship need something more than painting few places and replacing carpets. I had premium cabin and I am sure that nothing was refreshed inside it (including shower). My friends who are cruising with Costa for years had similar opinion about standard of the ship. I hope in meantime they improved it a little bit.

 

Phuket in season is tender port - you will be tendered at Patong Beach. After season pier for tender boats in Patong is not available, so ships are docking on the other side of the island - in Phuket Deep Sea Port. I was in both places - the second one is not friendly. You can find more details about docking place here: https://www.whatsinport.com/Phuket.htm

 

 

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On 5/7/2019 at 7:50 AM, Norwegian Cruiser 73 said:

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. 

 

 

A suite on Costa is nothing like Yacht Club - unfortunately 🙂 

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On 7/31/2019 at 4:02 PM, greg2014 said:

Phuket in season is tender port - you will be tendered at Patong Beach. After season pier for tender boats in Patong is not available, so ships are docking on the other side of the island - in Phuket Deep Sea Port.

Hi, thank you for the words! I have done everything in the past, from 2 to 5 star cruises, from CMV to Cunard - so I am prepared for everything to come. 

 

Regarding Phuket, nobody -not even Costa- seems to be able to answer my question. I will do Phuket end November. All Costa could tell, we will land in "Phuket Port"; no further explanation -if tender or not- was given... :classic_sad:

November is season, isn't it?! And where about in Patong will be the jetty; close to "Sunset Beach" hotel I heard?!

 

BTW. is it true that all staterooms have a fridge to use?

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Posted (edited)

Pier for tenders at Patong Beach is located close to "Seaview Patong" - you can find it on google maps. It is also marked on google maps as "Patong Boat Pier". It is on the other side of the bay, comparing with "Sunset Beach" hotel. 

 

Pier is temporary (made of floating elements). After the highest season it is dissasembled. Few years ago I was in Phuket in 2nd part of October and it was not available - then we used Phuket Deep Sea Port (you can also find location of it at google maps). Unfortunately I do not know when they are building this floating pier at Patong Beach and if it is the same time every year. Maybe even Costa does not know... 🙂

 

In all cabins fridges with minibar are available. Of course you can use them. If you need more space, you can take bottles and cans from the minibar outside.

Edited by greg2014

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On 4/29/2019 at 8:38 AM, greg2014 said:

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).

 

Hi all,

 

I sailed with Costa Magica in July 2019 but had Brindiamo package and would like to book again. Not sure if it was worth paying the extra for a Classic cabin. Just wondering if you go for the basic cabin must you buy water at dinner in the restaurants? I understand bottled water is included in the packages but do you actually get nothing included in the main restaurants, I don't mean the buffets?

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Yes, if you book cabin in "Basic" tariff, no drinks are included and you need to order also water in restaurant. In buffet water is available for everybody.

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The savings between a Classic cabin & Premium price must be considered especially if you are a drinker of coffee  water or alcohol, it does not take much to reach the premium cabin price which carries a drinks package.

The other options are purchases of the water/wine/ coffee/beer packages offered by Costa once you have booked.

 

Friends on one cruise had a basic inside yet paid more when we finally worked out how many drinks they had to pay for than us in a premium balcony over the nine days.

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Posted (edited)

Hi I am booked on my first costa cruise later this year on Favolosa we have a premier room so have the drinks package.  The cruise is 10 nights. Do costa do formal nights and if so how many on a 10 night cruise and how formal is formal (I now this is subjective but we have had a mix Carnival - very formal (but was nye) RCL and Marella  semi formal but Celebrity - more dressed chic for going to a good restaurant than formal.  Husband wants to know if its kilt stuff (black tie), suit and tie or just trousers and a shirt/ jacket. Cruise is in the Med if that makes any difference

Edited by fragilek
sp

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You'll probably have 2 elegant evenings at least on a 10d cruise but there will also be theme nights like "white night, Italian night etc". One of the elegant evenings will be gala.

 

Hubby has a smart blazer and trousers he wears on these evenings. Not seen a tux for ages. Some of the guys wear suits. Mine has even given up on a tie but he loves wearing cufflinks on these occasions.

 

I like to dress up. It's a good excuse to buy something new for the occasion. 

 

All the other evenings people in the Med will dress reasonably well. Not really seen totally scruffy in the MDR. Some might wear nice jeans and tops. Quite relaxed and never seen anybody kicked out, yet.

 

Riana

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42 minutes ago, alicat58 said:

You'll probably have 2 elegant evenings at least on a 10d cruise but there will also be theme nights like "white night, Italian night etc". One of the elegant evenings will be gala.

 

Hubby has a smart blazer and trousers he wears on these evenings. Not seen a tux for ages. Some of the guys wear suits. Mine has even given up on a tie but he loves wearing cufflinks on these occasions.

 

I like to dress up. It's a good excuse to buy something new for the occasion. 

 

All the other evenings people in the Med will dress reasonably well. Not really seen totally scruffy in the MDR. Some might wear nice jeans and tops. Quite relaxed and never seen anybody kicked out, yet.

 

Riana

We like to dress for dinner every night on a holiday ( cruise or hotel) so dressing for MDR fine for us, just was trying to judge weather to take kilt stuff as that means adding additional case to booking.  He may just take suite can wear tie for gala then take  off if most have no tie on (just back from celebrity 7 nights and suite did fine for that although most just in trousers and open necked shirt ).  That will save the additional case hassle for the kilt.

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