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A late review of Costa Smeralda cruise


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Due to all negativity in these Costa topics I want to bring out some positive feedback too. So this is about our 2022 cruise in Costa Smeralda.


The original plan was to celebrate our wedding anniversary in summer 2020. In January 2020 Costa ran an ad campaign in Finnish media. The cruise price (flight not included ) was nice (about 2500 € in balcony, drinks included ) for 2 adults and 1 child. Wife and I have previously cruised on two different Celebrity cruises but those prices are insane for us (comparable mediterranean cruise is 6000+€) so we decided to try Costa. If it is crap we still see some nice places and have a small vacation. Well, covid hit and the cruise was multiple times delayed, changed etc. Costa kept us informed nicely and nothing to complain about that process. Finally 2022 the cruise was actually happening.... The rescheduling flights is an another story... 


We got embarkation bracket late after noon and I emailed Costa asking for earlier bracket.  We got the midday bracket which fit nicely into our flight schedule (ie early morning departure from Helsinki, short lay over in Munich, then Barcelona). The embarkation process was chaotic due to covid. Outside was this huge queue with people and their luggage mountains. At least there was shade but it took some time as people had to show passports, tickets, covid certificates etc to get the luggage tagged. Some people did not listen to the instructions so tempers were short on the staff side and the people. Finally we got the luggage off our hands... Our child commented "How hard it is to have all the paper work ready, instead of starting to dig/hunt around your belongings at the desk" Actual process was rather quick with the papers checked multiple times, temperature taken etc.   Finally the adventure can start...


What can be said about the ship? It is beautiful, huge and has some quirks.... The quirks have been told already by many others. Like blocked views in the central entertainment area etc. Due to the ships size prepare for some transit times. Especially the elevator usage in the evening was utter chaos. Kids running around, pressing elevator buttons, people jamming into a full elevator that is going up and then waiting it to go down instead of waiting the down elevator to show up, cutting elevator queues, rude behaviour etc. As our cabin was in 17th deck forward, we started to take some odd routes to avoid the elevator chaos. Example walk from MDR 5th floor, aft to 7th floor forward elevator... The child commented on 5th day that "There needs to be an elevator access training added to the cabin key, and misbehaving can remove the elevator privileges" 


What can be said about the entertainment? No complaints, basic cruise stuff. However sometimes getting the seating with good view was hard - we solved the problem by taking our evening drinks with us into our cabin and just watched the show from cabin tv. 


What can be said about the food? It depends. If you hate pasta don't bother. 😀 The breakfast was normal hotel stuff - the order from the menus in a MDR was better but trying to figure out how much or what shall you order from the menu was hard. Ie. some of the dishes were small (2 hams, some melon) some large (3 large croissants stuffed to brim with ham+cheese). The lunch buffet was also bit basic but nothing to complain about. The MDR lunch was  good bordering on excellent depending on the staffing. The bread, pastas, hams were excellent. Also the pizza was excellent. The dinner was good, only that anything "grilled" was rather bland compared to anything that was done slowly. Ie anything that was to be heated then brought to table was not so good. Those that had been simmered, sous-vide etc were good. The regional special dishes were nice idea to bring the food for tasting.  Also mixing adult menu with child menu was not issue with our kid. Sometimes we asked to bring some "special" dish as an extra dish for our child for her to taste. And the ice cream and Nutella bar got some high points from our kid.  The teppanyaki special restaurant was fantastic - good show with good food. And the afternoon tea was excellent - some nice cakes, cookies etc to fill your belly while waiting for the dinner. You quickly learned what is excellent and what was not. 


I think drink package is not optional - it made our life so much easier as 99% of stuff was included in the package so we could just enjoy life. I can understand if you are not heavily drinking wine, cocktails etc why you would want to skip it. For us it is not optional and the basic "my drinks " is good value.


Ship excursions? Most of the our preplanned excursions were cancelled and hem getting refunded or replacement was annoying. 


What can be said about the staff? Very friendly and willing to help you. No difference in Celebrity except the cabin was not cleaned often nor throughly. No complaints. At 3rd day the  bar tender at our favourite  corner did not ask any specifics anymore, just "The usual?" Also majority of the staff was not Italian so English was used most of the time. At few times there was language barrier but the usual "smile, point, smile" technique worked. At the end of cruise I went to ask about any future cruise discount at Costa desk - the first agent didn't speak good English but after a quick chat he switched the clients with his colleague - The new agent spoke almost perfect English and we got a nice offer for this summer...


In the end we were so happy about the cruise and the price that we decided to try Costa Toscana this summer. Sure Celebrity had better food and some better stuff but the price is too way too high for us - we can take 2-3 Costa Cruises instead of one Celebrity cruise.

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