our Costa Magica cruise to the Caribbean. Was it good or bad?
April 13th, 2017, Posted by travelwith2ofus
We were so excited to go on our second cruise, but before I delve into the details of that let me share some information that all newbie cruise passengers should know. Always check and double-check the cruise package you are purchasing. Let me explain.
We booked our first sea adventure with Pullmantur Cruises. It was an amazing cruise and the package included selected alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. We enjoyed the selection of drinks we were entitled to and we gave them thumbs up. When we were booking our second cruise on the Costa Magica I thought that the package included alcohol and non-alcohol drinks, but as we disappointingly found out it did not. So again, if you are newbies like us check out the details of your package to make sure all that you want is included. Trust me it makes the difference between decent cruise and an amazing one.
Our second cruise was not without misadventure. From our luggage being lost by Liat airlines to no standard power outlets to charge our devices at Pierre & Vacances Village Club in Guadeloupe, to the delayed flights to Guadeloupe from Dominica and on our return trip as well. Despite those sore points we visited several Caribbean ports of call for the first time including Santo Domingo and Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic, St Maarten/St Martin, Fort De France, Martinique and a first time visit to St John's, Antigua and Barbuda by Nikks.
Chaos and frustration
After spending two eventful, but wonderful days in Guadeloupe it was time to make our way to the cruise ship terminal, which is located in Pointe-A-Pitre, the biggest city in Guadeloupe. We were surprised to see an extremely long line of people waiting outside the gate of the cruise ship complex. We disembarked the taxi with our luggage in tow and tried to get into the line. It was impossible as we realized people were just coming and heading straight in front of the gate. We have never seen such poor organization in our lives. Oh my goodness it was total chaos.
We waited and waited in humid conditions until finally the gates were opened and the rush started, we were pushed and shoved all over the place. This was so totally different from our first cruise, which was so much more organized and efficient. Just recently Nikks was saying that when we boarded the Pullmantur ship it was no hassle at all, in fact in our review of that trip I said, “The check-in process was fairly simple.” This, however, was ridiculous. After much frustration, we eventually got on the ship and were directed to our cabin. Another thing we did not expect is that they took our passports made a copy and gave us the copy. So for the entire trip we had just a copy of it with us. We later found out it's for immigration pre-approval at the selected ports of call.
Our Cabin and ship crawl
When we entered our cabin we found it to be quite good, well designed, spacious and comfortable. There was a welcome package waiting for us and this contained brochures, safety info and our plastic card room keys, which also serves as our ID cards. After we had settled, we decided to take a walk around the ship and see what the interior of the Costa Magica was like. The ship was manufactured in 2004 and carries about 2,720 passengers, but it has a maximum capacity for over 3000 guests. There are 1,358 cabins, 11 bars, four restaurants, four pools, five Jacuzzis, gym, outdoor jogging track and a multi-purpose sports pitch. One of the amazing things about the ship is that you will find over 5000 works of art on the ship. At every turn there was a different painting or sculpture. It was very pleasing.
drinks package! What drinks package?
After we roamed around for a bit, trying to figure out where the bars, restaurants and everything else were, we decided that it was time to get a glass of wine, sit, relax and take in some entertainment. I mean after the stress of getting onto the ship is there anything better than getting a glass of vino to relax. So licking our lips we went to the first restaurant we saw. Greeted the barman and asked for a list of the beverages we were entitled to. He asked us for our room number and then he broke our hearts. He said we did not have a drinks package. You probably can't imagine the collective disbelief on our faces when we heard his response. We asked him to check again, and again, and every time he did, the answer was the same.
We went back to our cabin disappointed and the next day we spoke to the hospitality manager trying to find out what had happened. We were told when we visited the Costa Cruises website we were sent to the Costa USA website (Apparently the USA website handles sales in our region) which only has water packages included. Yes, you heard right! Water packages. Which included mineral water by the glass at diner. Hold on, it's limited. Very limited. If we sit at a bar and ask for water they ask us for our card and then tell us we are not entitled to water at this bar. Madness right. Anyway, I take full responsibility for us not getting a drinks package. I should have double-checked. We thought about purchasing a drinks package, but when we saw the prices it did not make any sense. We just got our drinks when we stopped at the different ports of call. This turned out a lot better as it costs less and we got to try the local drinks.
Food - lots of it!
While there was a problem with the drinks there was no such problems with food. The food was one of the best features of this cruise. You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet style if you choose or have it at one of the available restaurants. Our restaurant of choice was the Costa Smeralda and we had dinner every night at our set time of nine p.m. There are two times available for dinner, seven and nine. Once you choose your time it is for the duration of the cruise.
Food is available around the clock with a decent variety of items. Costa is an Italian cruise line so of course the food had a lot of Italian influences, which we did not mind. The Bellagio Restaurant Buffet located on deck nine is where we had breakfast most mornings. Food included Italian, international and grilled items as well as pizza. There were always a lot of snacks and desserts, both healthy like poached apples, fruit salads and fruits, and the amazing tasting kind that you know is not good for you, like cakes, pastry and every and anything stuffed or covered in chocolate. The Vicenza Restaurant is a specialty restaurant on deck 11 and you will have to pay extra for its Italian haute cuisine.
Dinner was really great as we were treated to some of the traditional cuisine of Italy. One of the tasty appetizers we had was the Livorono-style fish broth. There is actually a story behind it. According to the menu the soup was almost certainly invented by the fishermen of Livorno. The legend goes like this. Fisherman drowns during storm, leaves wife and kids to live in poverty, other fishermen help by giving one fish each, mother uses herbs, tomatoes and a little olive oil creates a delicious meal. Legend or tale it was tasty. At least I thought so. Nikks not so much.
Activities, bars, shopping
There are lots of onboard activities. Nikks took part in dancing lessons, which are provided on the sun deck. You can learn to do the Salsa, Merengue or ChaCha. She also took part in Zumba classes, which looked like so much fun and takes place every day. No, I did not take part because someone has to be behind the camera. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it. There are three theatres, a disco, and a water slide, which was under renovation, while we were on board. Several bars, including the Capo Piano Bar, the Capri Lounge and Spoleto Lounge make deck five one of the levier floors of the ship.
If you are interested in shopping you can catch some great deals in the shopping area on deck five. We were really surprised at how reasonable some of the prices were. Of course it was around Christmas time so Nikks got some of her gifts on the ship. You can get perfumes, jewelry, clothing and other high-end brand items like watches, sunglasses and hats as well.
Would we go on a Costa Magica cruise again?
So there you have it, our experiences on board the Costa Magica ship. There were a lot of things we did not like, but one of our main concerns was the lacking friendliness of the staff. While our waiter at dinner was very welcoming and our cabin steward was polite, we found that most members of staff were not as welcoming, warm or friendly. However, I found that the men were friendlier than the women. Even the barmen were not as jolly as was in the case with the staff of the Pullmantur Monarch. Both Nikks and I agree that we had more fun on our first cruise. The bar men were always joking with us, posing to take photos and even taking photos for us. It just was not a happy place like we expected. Would we go on a Costa Magica cruise again? I don't think so
Click here to watch this video on YouTube: Our Costa Magica cruise to the Caribbean. Was it good or bad?
WANT TO HAVE MORE FUN OFF THE SHIP? CHECK OUT THESE SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Have you ever been on a Costa Magica cruise? What did you think about it? Would you go back?
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