Cruised aboard Costa Deliziosa

This item appears on page 29 of the July 2011 issue.

A travel companion and I took the 11-night cruise “Eastern Mediterranean & Alexandria, Egypt” aboard Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa, Nov. 11-21, 2010. Excluding airfare, and with an “obstructed” ocean-view cabin, we each paid $1,300.

We enjoyed the ports of call we visited and the time to relax, but we were very disappointed with Costa. We’d had a great experience with them on the Costa Concordia in the western Mediterranean in 2006, however it was quite different this time.

The lounge/bar Vanilla aboard the Costa Deliziosa. Photo: Oakham

The disappointment began with our arrival at the port in Savona, Italy. We took a taxi from the train station and were dropped off in the place allocated for taxis. There were four Costa ships in port that day, so things were a bit confusing. We didn’t see any signage, nor did we encounter any personnel to indicate where to drop off luggage. We could see passengers going into the terminal and up an escalator with their luggage, so we followed.

The terminal was jammed with passengers checking in for two of the ships. There was just one little sign indicating which ship was being processed at which desk.

When we got to the counter, the Costa representative asked us for our boarding-number card, which we didn’t have because there had been no one in the arrival area when we got there. She gave us a card she had and processed our check-in.

To avoid returning outside to find the luggage drop-off, we simply took our luggage aboard with us. Fortunately, to go aboard it was all ramps and no stairs, and the security luggage-screening machines were just large enough to handle our larger roller bags.

I found the layout of the ship to be strange. For example, the bar/lounge areas were designed in such a way that people were constantly walking (and talking) between the seating and the entertainment.

On a cruise, I usually enjoy sitting in a lounge and listening to the music, but on this trip I didn’t find any of the entertainers alluring. After attending only three evening shows, I didn’t bother going to any more.

One of those nights featured “finger shadow performers.” While the results were far superior to the “barking dog” we made as children, 45 minutes of it was a bit much. Other nights featured a pianist/violinist duo and, with routines so slow it became more tedious than amazing, Chinese acrobats.

I found the food on board to be very disappointing — as examples, tough steak one night and too-mushy pasta on another. Nothing was memorable.

I found the personnel to be attentive in those areas where there was “dedicated service” (with a particular person serving you, such as a cabin steward or dining room steward), but in the general-service areas the service personnel could be very slow and inattentive.

In the pool lido area, tables were not being cleared when it was very busy, with people looking for tables at which to sit, and bar service there could take forever. At times, our drinks did not come until we were almost finished with our meal.

I ended up spending a lot of time in our cabin, so I was glad that we had a nice-sized cabin with a floor-to-ceiling window, albeit with an obstructed view. Since we were located between lifeboats, we were able to see out to sea.

We did enjoy the itinerary: from Savona to Naples and Messina in Italy; Alexandria, Egypt (more interesting than I had anticipated; we had arranged for a private tour); Limassol, Cyprus (the most disappointing, with little appeal and not much to see); Marmaris, Turkey (where we went to a Turkish bath, the location of which we obtained from the tourist information center downtown), and Santorini, Greece (where we traveled between Oia from Fira by local bus).

At Katakolon, Greece, we took a ship’s tour to the archaeological park of Olympia and spent some time in the modern town of Olympia, which was quite nice and quaint. This four-hour tour was very well organized and well managed.

On this cruise, there was a good amount of sea time interspersed with port calls, so it was very relaxing. We enjoyed the various ports, most of the time exploring on our own.

Tucson, AZ

ITN e-mailed a copy of the above letter to Costa Cruises ( and was sent a copy of their response to Mr. Oakham, stating, in part…

We are thrilled to learn you enjoyed your cabin accommodations; service, and the itinerary through the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt regions. We acknowledge your disappointment in other aspects that took away from the overall cruise experience.

We regret to learn your embarkation in the delightful seaport of Savona was uncomfortable for you. On that particular day, we had several Costa ships in port — an historic day. We regret it may have contributed to the inconvenience you experienced.

We recognize that you found the entertainment and food to be disconcerting. Our entertainment and dining staff work diligently to accommodate the internationally diverse interests and palates of our guests.

Your comments are important to us. It is with your input that we can acknowledge, understand and correct any areas that are contrary to our mission.

CAROL PENNINGTON, Senior Advisor, Office of the President, Costa Cruise Lines