Recently the news was flooded with reports that Costa Cruise Lines’ Concordia had run aground, the harrowing rescue efforts and the many lives lost. What a tragedy! Now Costa Cruise Lines’ Allegra is adrift in the Indian Ocean following a fire in the engine room. When I saw the images of the ship resting on its side all that I could think about was my relatives response when I invite them to cruise with us. They always say, “I can’t swallow all that water.” Now we have the image of being stuck in the middle of the ocean in our heads! Once again the people who are afraid to cruise have had their worse fears confirmed.
I have been on ten cruises including a Costa cruise out of the very same port in Civitavecchia, Italy where the “Costa Concordia” disembarked. Our itinerary included ports in Italy, Greece and Turkey. Oddly enough out of the ten cruises that I have taken the only one that I have had an issue with was the Costa Cruise.
Costa’s parent company is Carnival, and I have had amazing experiences with Carnival. The entertainment, food, cleanliness and service have all been wonderful. Knowing that Costa’s parent company was Carnival made me feel confident that a Costa cruise would be equally excellent, but it was not.
Costa caters to its European clientele. In the United States most public places have banned smoking for health reasons. When we arrived on the Costa ship we were met with guests smoking throughout the boat. In addition, the food was different. We had our choice of potatoes and other starches cooked every way possible, mystery meats and other foods that we could not pronounce. To add insult to injury on days where food that we did know was served we were surprised to find that it was not prepared the way that we were accustomed to it being prepared.
Another issue was that there were people from all over Europe so every announcement was made in multiple languages. Much to our chagrin our announcement was always last. If we had questions related to excursions or something on ship we had to go and see the American liaison who was only there during certain hours and whose English was barely decipherable.
The upside was that the tours were great. We went into the actual cave where John wrote the gospel, visited a factory where gorgeous rugs were made (no wonder they cost so much!) in Turkey, strolled the streets of Santorini and Mykonos, Greece and thoroughly enjoyed their beauty and the amazing food, and visited a lovely winery at an estate in Sicily.
We too had a harrowing experience on our Costa cruise. Our Santorini tour was cut short because a storm was headed our way. The scene was chaotic as everyone was herded onto waiting tenders (small boats for transporting people to and from the cruise ship) for a very bumpy ride back to the ship. Once onboard we endured a night of some serious rocking and rolling which I decided to spend in bed.
I made up my mind that Costa was not the cruise line for me, however I was not turned off to cruising in general. I still feel that it is the most economical way to experience the world so I will continue to cruise. Even though I “cannot swallow all that water”.