After much deliberation as to which cruise line to try and which online agency to use in order to purchase the cruise, I decide upon Costa Cruises and book through vacationstogo.com. Kevin, our consultant is fantastic. At US$799 per person in a balcony cabin for 7 nights it is truly a bargain at over 72% off the brochure price.
The Costa Fascinosa, launched in 2012, is a huge ship that holds up to 3500 passengers and 1000 crew with a number of restaurants, cafes, bars, library, 3-level theatre, casino, spa and gym complex, 3 pools, jacuzzis, and much much more.
Our cabin is 1062 on Deck 10 (out of 11) and is surprisingly large with a double bed, double sofa, speperate bathroom and balcony. It is Port side which apparently is the ´better´side in terms of view. It is also an upgrade to the ´Samsara´deck which is on the 2 top decks of the ship.
Our cruise departs from Barcelona, and stops at Savona (Italy), Civitacchia (Rome/Italy), Palermo (Italy), La Valetta (Malta), a day at sea, and then Palma De Mallorca (Spain), before returning the next day to Barcelona where we disembark for the last time.
Each day on the cruise there are a number of activities that passengers can join from dancing lessons, singing auditions, games, Bingo, arts and crafts, and of course EATING! Eating is indeed a large part of cruise culture and there is always something available 24 hours a day. Being an ¨Italian¨ brand, Costa Cruises features fare from different regions of Italy each day, whether it is in the buffet restaurants or Fine Dining A La Carte. We choose to eat each night at our designated restaurant, at our designated time, as the service we receive from our Waitress is wonderful. Jennifer has been working with Costa Cruises for about 8 years and she is a Hospitality pro. For breakfast and lunch we alternate between Buffet and A La Carte depending on how we feel. Oh – and we do room service one morning too!
Each day whether we are visiting a port or spending a day at sea is pretty much the same. Gym, Breakfast, ´siesta´, lunch, port excursion, spa, dinner, and then show. The shows are fantastic and something we look forward to each evening. The Costa Fascinosa is the most technologically advanced of the fleet in terms of production effects – the stage rises and lowers, smoke billows from the sides of the stage, lights, lasers – amazing! And the talent is truly awesome. From full theatrical productions to solo opera recitals, and even on the last day a show featuring the crew with their hidden talents.
One word of advice. The ship charges outrageous prices for prot excursions. DO NOT BUY THEM. At each port there are a large variety of independent tour operators who do exactly the same excursions as the cruises sell passengers on board. One case example. A 6 hour tour of Rome includinng transfers – 65 Euro if purchased onboard. I paid 10 Euro at the port! And it was brilliant!