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Costa Firenze Repositioning Cruise Experience


travelkpm
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There are few reports about Costa from the English-speaking perspective and the recent reviews are pretty negative. Thought I would give a more positive experience. Quick background - German-American couple, a few cruises behind us (transatlantic, Med, Canary Islands) on both US and German cruise lines. Happy to answer questions if you have any.

 

Very positive - excellent pasta and desserts at MDR, no issue with ordering mulitple starters/pasta course/dessert and skipping mains if not interesting. Very good entertainment and an interesting variety of modern/cheesy/fun/classic genres. Paid for restaurants (burger, hot pot, sushi, pizza and one room service breakfast) were very good and the prices were reasonable. Drinks were generous, coffee was delicous and I had (almost) no incorrect charges. Charged 5euros for something on my last day (after I downloaded my last invoice) so not sure what  happened here. Email out now to Costa. This respositioning itinerary was fantastic and the price was reasonable - 14 days on board from Savona, Italy to Kiel, Germany with 4 sea days. If there are any questions about Savona, Tarragona, Cadiz, Lisbon, A Coruna, Le Havre, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Skagen, Kiel feel free to ask.

 

Positive/Interesting - ship was built for the Chinese market so this was interesting to see Italian design via Macau eyes. Curious how Carnival will use this design in the US market.  An unique experience even if this led to some slightly negative things (shops were not to my taste but I rarely shop anyway on board), public areas/pools were smaller than normal (found out on behind the scenes tour that the theater on ships in China is for a fee, not free). Staff was overall very friendly, but seemed unsure of themselves if anything was outside the norm. I had no issue with English but our ship was 50% German and the crew was not prepared for that. I actually did public translating in the theater on disemebarkation day because the crew was overwhelmed and Germans are not patient. Ship cleanliness was good but there was a gastrointestinal illness outbreak the last few days (I blame the other guests here vs. the staff/cleaning). Dishes and glasses were generally cleaned away quickly. I lauged at the trip report that mentioned issues with elevator usage. That was definitely a problem, but we took it as entertainment (like watching a clown car...how many people would try to shove into one elevator) vs. a negative. I loved all the different languages and cultures and we also had fun guessing where people were from based on how they acted/drank/ate. Again, free entertainment.

 

Negative - buffet was overall not good (only ate breafast and snacks here) and you were served in the main buffet, but if you went to the main restaurant for breakfast, there the buffet was a free-for-all. Not sure why the discrepancy. The food was just a bit boring and repetitive although fruit was good and generous. We actually brought breakfast pastries with us from port on the last few days and just used buffet butter and fruit and that made our experience better. The photographers were annoying. You had to be rude to get them to go away. The communication from Costa was definitely lacking in some cases (due to language issues/general Italian way of life?). There were a few things broken in the room that I could not get fixed - drain plug in sink (important because I wear contacts), reading light near bed. I reported to reception/room steward a few times then gave up. Disembarking in Kiel was chaos (translation issues, delays for other guests) - luckily we carried off our own bags, even though this was not given as an official option.

 

I would definitely book Costa again if the itinerary was interesting. I would plan on some chaos, avoid the buffet and eat all the pasta I could manage.

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I am loyal to Costa and have done many of their ships, but i have to say this was the worst ship i have ever been on.

I started in Rio and left in Kiel on Friday. The first part of the cruise from Rio to Savona was just awful. 

All the staff in the buffet looked utterly demoralised, not one of them smiled, not one of them said good morning (in any language) and their managers just walked about with their chins scrapping the floor. 

Unlike all the other Costa ships, the buffet was not set up in stations. On Firenze there was just one station to get everything and the queues were, on many days, just horrific. I would queue for 20 minutes just to get cereal then the same again to get cold milk at the coffee station. Then another 20 minutes to get warm breakfast then back to the queue to get coffee, awful experience.

At lunch and dinner they served the food on plates no bigger than saucers for mugs. You literally had to beg for food.

There were only 2 pools and hot tubs on the ship (perhaps not a Chinees thing) and when the weather was hot, they were very busy. There was no ware on the ship to escape the music unless you were in your cabin, but that's the same on all Costa ships. The bars were good and the entertainment was the usual Costa fare. Did not do any excursions but heard plenty of complaints. The internet was very expensive but you could get free internet in most ports. 

Best port calls for me on the entire cruise were Fortaleza in Brazil and Skagen in Denmark. The worst was Tarragona (over 1 hour walk to  get out of the port) in Spain. Most port calls were not very long which limited the places you could go. 

Embarkation in Rio and Disembarkation in Kiel was chaos.

I don't think there was over 3000 people on the entire cruise and this ship holds over 5k. How this ship would cope with full occupancy, is beyond me.

I was on Toscana in March and that ship was 20 times better than this. I would not recommend Firenze to anybody.

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Hi Gerry - we also did the walk out of the port in Tarragona. Luckily in the morning it was overcast so we found the walk pleasant (if a bit long). In the afternoon with full sun, we caught a taxi leaving the port and got it back to the ship. Best 15euros spent. Also did not do any excursions, but they looked chaotic. We talked to the cruise director (and did a behind the scenes tour so caught some signage)...I think the official passenger count was at 2983 (if I remember correctly) with staff just under 1000. Many of the staff we talked to were leaving after the first 1-2 Norway cruises and heading back to Brazil or India.

My husband and I would divide and conquer at the buffet so that definitely helped a lot with waiting times - I assume the begging for food was at the buffet...in MDR we were always served generously although like I mentioned sometimes we ordered multiples of each course so we were never hungry and if one dish was not great, we had choices. I did change my seat at the MDR - first night I was on an aisle practically IN the service station. Seeing how empty the ship was, I requested a better seat and got a window. One time the communication worked first time!

We enjoyed the music everywhere, but that is us. My husband actually won twice at trivia with music categories.

We were pleasantly surprised by Le Havre and Rotterdam. Both more modern cities but so easy to reach from the ship and plenty to see and do.The gorgeous weather did not hurt of course.

We are not loyal to any ship, so my review was just to let people know that my personal experience with Costa was not overall poor and to answer any questions about my experience. Yes, there were some bad things, but there were also some very good things.

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