Our Costa Fascinosa Experience.
We just sadly arrived home from our first cruise experience ever. We sailed on the Costa Fascinosa April 5th-12th. We are a family of 5. We 100% LOVED our experience. The food was amazing, the shows were amazing, the ports were amazing (once we found the good part — Palermo), our cabin was a great size, the staff was amazing, the excursions were amazing, & the Squok Club – AMAZING.
Booking: Our booking was very easy. We booked through a travel agent for military members in September of 2013. We also decided on getting the beverage package.
Drive: We drove from the state of Rhineland Pfalz in Germany to Milan. It took about 9 hours to get to Milan since we were stuck in traffic for three hours in Switzerland. It was the most beautiful traffic jam that I have ever been in. The Swiss Alps are absolutely stunning! We spent two relaxing days in an apartment before setting sail on the Costa Fascinosa. It took about 2 1/2 hours to get from Milan to Savona.
Parking: We parked at Parking Suprema in Savona. I would highly recommend getting there at least 2 hours before you are scheduled to board. Sometimes many people come at one time and only so many can get onto the shuttle at once. The shuttle will take you pretty close to the ship but you have to walk a ways. Be sure you have everything that you need. I would highly recommend bringing your swimsuit. Most ships have an indoor pool!
Embarking & Ship Life: Was very quick(for us at least)! We dropped off our luggage on the docks and the attendant will give you a boarding time pass. I unfortunately can not remember what our boarding number was but it was going to be at least an hour or 2. I had “met” some other people from area on Facebook before our cruise and they waved to me while they were boarding. The attendant asked us if we were ready to board, but I told her our boarding number was not until later. She told me since we had young children that we could go ahead and board. So we boarded! Yay! Making your way up to the ship they take your photo and they keep your passport for the duration on the cruise. You are given a ticket to pick them up the day you disembark. That way you don’t lose them while on ship. We were able to so straight to our cabins! When we arrived, we all received a Costa card,which had our photos on them. This was your pass to get on and off the ship at ports and to get into your room. Plus after we boarding lunch was being served!
Cabins: We had one window Premium cabin and we had an internal classic cabin, but since we were on the same reservation we were all considered Premium. The amazing thing about having a premium cabin is that you can have breakfast served to your room which is great for those super early port calls!
Meals: Breakfast & lunch were buffet style and they basically had everything available for everyone’s appetite and taste (they even serve burgers and pizzas!). Dinner was a sit-down served meal. Every meal we had on the ship was absolutely delicious!
Kids: The kids absolutely LOVED the Sqouk Club. My husband and I loved how we were able to have some time for just us both on and off of the ship. If you booked an excursion, you could register your children to stay on the ship while you were on it! Which is VERY nice! We were able to explore Malta, Barcelona & Mallorca without our children in tow. There is a TON for them to do. All the of providers spoke English well enough to communicate. They don’t just stay in the room. They go to the disco have a mini disco for kids. They do a TON of activities. They have pirate night and a spooky night. I had no issues leaving my kids there… maybe except for my 5 year old who is a momma and daddy’s boy. But we were finally able to talk him into leaving him. On the gala day/night the ship’s photographer comes in and takes photos of the kids. Of course my 5 y refused. The pictures were beautiful! There is a ton of activities for the everyone on the ship: bingo, casino (I won like 100euro), and dancing.
Entertainment: There is even a theater and every night there was some sort of entertainment. They played mostly American/English music which was nice. The played “Let It Go” in Italian but we still sung it in English. My kids really enjoyed the shows. The kids club (Squok Club) was open really early (7am I think) and was open until I think 1 or 2 am.
Excursions: For all of our excursions, we booked them through our cabin’s TV! In Rome, we did the Rome in Total Freedom. Our children did come with us on this excursion and it was a lot of walking for them. Rome is just one massive museum. We spent a lot of time on the HOHO (Hop On Hop Off) bus. In Palermo, we did not take an excursion, but I wish we had. Do NOT go to the right of Palermo. Go to the left. Trust me. 🙂 In Malta, we took the “STROLLING IN LA VALLETTA & CINEMA 5D EXPERIENCE” and it was a nice excursion. We took the Barracca Lift up to the main part of La Valleta. Then we were shown the absolutely gorgeous Cathedral of St John founded in 1577 by the Knights Templar of Malta. It also houses the famous painting “The Decapitation of St John” by Caravaggio. We then watch the 5D Show on Malta. Which showed amazing the island it had moving seats, water spray etc After the show we had free time to explore. Malta was certainly one of my favorites. In Palma de Mallorca, we did an easy tour. We toured a bull ring and a pearl shop where I bought some gorgeous pearls. In Barcelona, we again did the easy tour. We were shown sights around Barcelona. We checked out a souvenir store to buy some goods. We saw Sagrada Familia but we didn’t go inside. We were dropped off by the Ramblas, an open air market, to explore, shop and eat. Then we met up with our tour guide and went back to the ship.
Disembarkation: I do wish they allowed those that were driving the ability to get off the ship first. We had to wait until almost 1pm to get off and we had a 9+ hour drive home. So basically that was my only complaint. Maybe asking the reception desk if you can disembark early so you can get an early start to your drive home.