Costa Cruises Full Complaint #001

Here is the full complaint about Costa Cruises

  1. When we arrived on board there was no one manning reception, or anytime throughout the cruise. We were told we had to call reception on 3333. There was a phone next to reception, so we used this. We tried to cancel our daily gratuities fee as we like to tip individuals who give us the service not go into the ships funds who normally distribute on seniority. We were told this was not possible. This is my 6th cruise and I have always been able to cancel this and pay individuals. By making this mandatory this is a stealth tax and takes away tips to your very hard-working staff. The cheapest cabin was £259, so with a Euro 10 per day on an eight-day cruise, this is an additional tax of up to nearly 30% – not obvious when you book the cruise. You seem to call it a service charge – see what we think about your service below. I will be publishing this information to future travellers on a well-known social media sites so that they don’t get stung as well.
  2. The phone we used to call reception was not sanitized, had no sanitizer next to it, no instructions to sanitize and was used by hundreds of passengers throughout the cruise. I have taken phones of this, which will also be put on the internet.
  3. I understand covid very well and before I even got to the ship had had a covid test every day as I passed through the difference countries to get here. I am elderly and vulnerable, so understand covid restrictions and controls as I also consult on this subject. Costa have gotten this so wrong. Their policies verge from paranoia to stupid:
    1. Everyone had to be PCR tested before we got on the ship, so in theory no one with covid got on the ship. So why are we wearing masks, even on the open deck? We sat in a hall with hundreds of people while waiting for our test results, did anyone fail the PCR? If so, then we should have all isolated. We were not informed of this so nobody could have failed, so why the masks on board? Why were the phones near reception not included in the covid protection rules? I didn’t even get my test results, which under GDPR I have a right to. The same happened for the antigen test during the cruise.
    2. The dinning room and buffet was full of hundreds of people, yet they could take their makes off to eat. Does the virus turn a blind eye when we eat? If you were so covid paranoia as you seem to make out when it suits you, then we should have eaten in our cabins. If it is safe to eat in large groups in confined spaces, then why the masks walking around the ship. Why 2 or 4 people to a lift if we are all clear?
    3. We were told we could not get off the boat without going on the designated tours. I have been on enough cruises to understand how designated tours work; they have no interest for me as I prefer to go solo. In fact, I had booked a hire car in Split and was told if I got off my baggage would be waiting for me. No one sent me an email in advance informing me of this, if they had I would have cancelled the cruise. I lost £50 on hire car costs and the opportunity to take my partner to a beautiful place. A place they you did not offer on your excursions. How narrow mind can a company get. An antigen test takes 15 minutes to get the result. You have run antigen tests on board so have that capability. I would have had no problem coming back 1 hour early, take an antigen test (and pay for it) before I got back on the boat. I did this in German to go to a restaurant and know how simple it is. I could have even arranged an antigen test in Split to prove I we were clear – however this was not even a consideration. But you can’t clean the phones on reception. I also looked at forums for other cruises currently sailing in the Med and they have the facilities to let people go abroad on their own. I believe your motive was financial and you used Covid as your excuse.
    4. I also heard from your excursion in Corfu that one passenger went into random cafes unaccompanied to buy coffee, went into random shops unaccompanied and was allowed to go where he wanted when he wanted. He go back on the ship with a smile on his face. But by then you had his money for the excursion.
  4. When I booked this trip I did so because of 4 things:
    1. Take my partner to Zadar (outside Split) – Failed
    2. Go to Montenegro – some where I have never been to. This was cancelled before we left. I did not get an email informing me of this or even to this day have not been given a reason why it was cancelled. I suspect financial consideration may have affected this as well – Failed
    3. Go to the Acropolis in Athens – This was cancelled because of a so-called strike. However, the strike was on 5-6 Nov mainly in the container depot, not on the 10/11th when we were due in Athens. What’s more you were aware of the strike when we left Trieste but had not cancelled Athens or inform us of anything. Again, I believe this was for financial reasons. Let’s consider the fuel savings from 300 miles the ship saved by not going to Athens. Let’s consider the option of Dubrovnik. Because it was part way back to Bari and we had to include a night at sea the ship crawled back at a very slow speed, gain a huge fuel saving – failed
    4. Matera – We booked an excursion for this. However, our tickets did not say where or what time to meet for the coach. We had to take an antigen test for this, but the result did not arrive until late in the night, so we had no idea until the morning if we could go. And we had been using that public telephone next to the reception….so who knows? I was told by a tours person that we would get a letter about our tour the night before (it also says this in the daily programme) – no letter arrived. Our other friends had said their tours had started a 9am. However, based on the very bad service I have received so far I did not trust anything from Costa. The night before we called 3030 to try and get this information, after a 10 minute wait I left the cabin and found an officer, he called the tour manage on his personal mobile. I was then able to find out that our tour started at 7:30 am and not 9 am. If I had not called we would have missed the tour because your systems/processes and service failed us again. Matera was wonderful, but not due to anything from Costa, however the driver (who has probably driven hundreds of people in his bus this week) did not wear his mask while driving. We sat on second row. I took a picture of this on the outward and inward journey, so again some great pictures for social media. Costa and Covid do not understand each other. However, a PASS on Mattera – 1 out of 4!
  5. Room Service – a service we paid for:
    1. On first night we could not get through to room service after more than 30 minutes of waiting on the phone. We then called reception and requested 2 extra pillows for our room. We waited 30 minutes and called again. They said there was only one person on room service on the ship all night….really? It took 45 mins to get our pillows which delayed us getting to sleep having just driven across Europe to get to the boat.
    2. Second night we tried to call room service again – another 30 minute wait. We ordered hot water – 20 minutes to bring it….by which time we had gone to bed
    3. As Room service is covered in our package, so we called during the day – wait was only 10 mins. We asked for food and drinks to be bought to our room. The only food option they had was sandwiches. We were told they could bring no drinks to the room. None of this is documented. This is very poor service.
    4. On the third day after trying to order some breakfast to our room and waiting 20 mins on the phone, we gave up with room service for the rest of the cruise.
    5. We put a do not disturb sign on our cabin as we did not want people in the cabin as we spent many hours in there and didn’t want to be continually disturbed. On the second day somebody had taken our sign away, entered the room and tried to clean up, moving our personal belongs around. I had to call room service to get a replacement ‘do not disturb sign’ and request our room not be disturbed. Why did room service ignore our do not disturb sign? And before they say it must have twirled around to ‘clean room’ that would be a lie because I made the effort every time before I walked away from our cabin to have the do not disturb sign facing the correct way.
  6. Our cabin was 8393 – Outside our balcony is the music speaker for the back deck on the 9th This speaker blares out music (and I use that word music cautiously as most of it I would consider piped noise). Because of this it was impossible to use the balcony or leave the door open at night for fresh air. We paid extra for a balcony; this was another unnecessary cost. It also was very irritating and annoying after a few days. I looked at the speaker and it can’t be unplugged as it was hard wired.
  7. You want me to give you my credit card details. I have searched the PCI Standard Councils website and I can’t find anything to say you are PCI DSS compliant. I would be a fool, to give you my credit card for security reasons, especially based on your management of covid controls – I lack faith in your policies and procedures. Furthermore, my credit card in in pounds. I understand your minimum transaction on the credit card is Euro150. As I do not intend to spend any money on the boat (for some absurd reason my cash is not good enough) the overall costs to me of transferring £150 euro would be £15, and the same if I got a refund. So why would I throw away £30. This is why I did not give you my credit card. It also stops you from taking money from me for things that your surreptitiously charge for, such as water.
  8. 150 euro on credit card – to buy an ice cream – the exchange rate to get euro, the transaction cost and the same for any refund to buy a Euro 1.50 ice cream, would mean the Ice Cream would cost nearly £30. That is the most expensive single cone ice cream in the world. This is going down a storm on social media. I am on an Italian ship and have to pay for ice cream, a cheap commodity! It is not even on the dessert menu in the dining rooms. Laughable.
  9. Most boats have a video channel per language for people who relax in their rooms. Because of Covid and not allowed on shore there would seem to be more reason to have videos of films for people to watch. Alas this basic facility was not available – maybe a cost issue? Fortunately, I had an HDMI cable and laptop with my and Amazon and Netflix accounts where I could download films, to then sit back and watch them on the cabin TV. Guess what? You have disabled the source button on the TV so no HDMI cable can be used. I have tried my hardest to enjoy this cruise but you seem to have me beaten.
  10. One thing I do enjoy is a jacuzzi and have used it every day. Unfortunately, small children are allowed to use the Jacuzzi (even though signage says otherwise), aged from 1 to 10 years old kids were often in the Jacuzzi (look at your CCTV footage). I once pointed this out to an Italian family and you would have thought I had farted in front of the Queen. Beside not policing this (even though large numbers of staff roam around polishing the floors), you actually encourage it as often staff where taking pictures of families and children in the jacuzzi. Also the policing of smoking on the back deck was no existent an people smoked everywhere on the back deck. You tried to do something about this with a single announcement but as nobody was policing it, everyone ignored it. Lets just consider your smoking area for a moment. It has sofas and table there to make it comfortable for smokers. Due to this they drank and smoked there all night and in large numbers (of course covid virus avoids smokers) – however the door next to the smoking area is the buffet – where you serve drinks and food. When you walk out of the buffet onto deck, you are faced with a toxic haze of smoke. Most boats make the smoking areas high on the boat away from any heavily used facilities. They also tend to be small, cramped and standing only to encourage smokers to not congregate for long periods. But of course Costa policies are as random and their Italian football team.
  11. Other minor nuisances include not being able to eat after 9pm without having to pay for it, and getting covered in soot from the funnel whilst in the back deck jacuzzi.