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  • Writer's pictureTori Carter

Our Experience On The COSTA FASCINOSA Cruise Ship (As North Americans)

We sold our house in Canada so that we could travel the world by cruise ships. Our intention is that we could see the world, and report to our followers about the great itineraries, and different ships that are available to travel the world.


This blog is about the Costa Fascinosa Cruise Ship, where we boarded it on January 4, 2024 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to go to Brazil and back. We will briefly cover what we loved, and what we didn’t love, and get into a few of the specifics as to what we had to do to get ready for this trip.


This entire blog is also visible on YouTube if you would like to click and subscribe! (We would really love it if you did!)




BOARDING THE COSTA FASCINOSA CRUISE SHIP


We arrived the morning of January 4, 2024 from the Sapphire Princess cruise ship in Buenos Aires. We had just finished a 34 day cruise traveling from Los Angeles to see beautiful ports that included Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Antarctica.


While we were on the Sapphire Princess, we were alerted by a travel company that we used, vacations to go, that we would be expected to have a VISA to travel to Brazil. That notification said that "as of January 10th, 2024, anyone traveling to Brazil needs a VISA", however the date as of now, is April 2024. You can follow the instructions of how to get yours in the video below.




The cruise terminal in Buenos Aires recently had damage to the roof by a massive storm, so there was some chaos and confusion with a lot of people coming to board Costa Fascinosa cruise ship at the wrong place.


There was no problem disembarking from the Sapphire Princess, but we had to take a shuttle bus to the convention centre (about 10 minutes away) so that we could check in our luggage, and then join a 4 hour line to take another shuttle back to where we started, so that we could check into the Costa Fascinosa.


Tori's Tip: If you book a suite or a mini suite on the Costa Fascinosa, you get priority embarkation, so you skip the line completely!


Once we boarded the ship, we immediately went to find our room, to drop off our backpacks! The overall process of checking in was very smooth once we got back to the terminal.


Our check in was unbelievably fast. This is probably due to the fact that Costa sends its passengers all of the instructions 10 days in advance through email. For example, you must check-in DAYS before, online. This would include filling out information such as your passport information, emergency information etc. Then, you MUST print out the boarding pass and bring it with you, or they will refuse your embarkation. *They ONLY accept the printed embarkation paperwork!


Once they verified that all of our paperwork was filled out correctly, they issued us an embarkation paper and our Costa Card (Hint: Bring a lanyard with a clear pouch to put your card into, as if you put a hole punch in it, the card will not work!)


In less than 5 minutes, we were processed, and boarding the ship, looking for our mini suite stateroom, 7455



THE COSTA FASCINOSA STATEROOM


The stateroom was a decent size overall. It had a queen size bed, 2 super small end tables on either side of the bed with USB ports, loads of storage, a desk with a mirror, 3 chairs, an additional table with a fridge underneath, and 3 storage closets. The bed was really hard and somewhat uncomfortable with the lumpiness, and the bed linens were a little scratchy.


The cabins are very sound proofed, and if the balcony is kept completely shut, you won’t be able to hear the outside at all.


THE BATHROOM

The bathroom was a good size, and was well lit. The shower curtain was a little too short in length, causing a flood of water on the floor every time you had a shower.


The cabin offers a combination soap, shampoo and conditioner that I did not dare to try. At least they offered something, unlike the Costa Smeralda where there was nothing.


THE BALCONY


Our mini suite stateroom was pretty nice! We were located in the AFT and Starboard side of the ship which gave us a HUGE balcony that spanned across 35 feet! (Kirk measured it for accuracy!) You could see the ocean from all angles, depending upon where you were standing on the balcony, including Starboard, the AFT, and parts of the Port side!


Pros:


One of the benefits of having such a large balcony is that we had so much extra space. We had a large covered area on the Starboard side, and we had beautiful sunshine and no-cover along the Aft. It was fun to have a choice of what kind of view we wanted each time we sat out on the balcony!


We spent time sipping coffee on our balcony. We spent time closing our eyes and listening to the waves, and we fell asleep for a few minutes under the hot sun.


There were 2 chairs and a small table. We also had a lot of privacy. Nobody could see down into our balcony.


Cons:


We could NOT get internet once we went out onto the balcony! We had to prop the door open, and sit inside of the doorway to get a weak signal.


We didn't have a chaise lounge... but that is just a suggestion of what they could add to the cabin!




OUR OBSERVATIONS OF THE COSTA FASCINOSA


Overall, there were really good moments and then there were really frustrating moments on the Costa Fascinosa. Please keep in mind that these are only OUR opinions, and also it is our opinion of coming from primarily north American ships.


1. The Costa Fascinosa is a ship geared toward families of all ages. The ship has a ton of activities, menus, and clubs geared toward every age group. You will note that you would be in the club, dancing at and there will be babies, and little kids, and teenagers surrounding you. This family oriented ship is a definite pro for families, but a con as well because there is a lot of screaming, crying and shrieking at all times of the day and night in every venue.



3. Water… Did you know that the COSTA brand does not include water with your meals unless you have some kind of drink plan? We had the "Water USA" plan which entitled us to a glass of water with our meals. If you want more water, or your own bottle of water, it would cost you extra! At least on this ship, there was a water fountain that we could refill our water bottle with, so we could drink water throughout the day without breaking the bank!


4. Coffee was only available at breakfast and at "coffee time" for free. Otherwise, it was just not available unless you wanted to pay for specialty coffee.

5. One big difference between a lot of the ships that we have been on, and the Costa Fascinosa, is that they have people embarking and disembarking at every single port. The rotation of passengers is always different!


6. This ship is pretty stable for being a mid sized ship. It holds 3700 passengers and 1068 crew. For the most part, we didn’t feel any motion at all on the ship. (It is the same sized ship as the Sapphire Princess ship that we just got off, but it squeezes in 1000 extra passengers!!!)


7. The Costa Fascinosa has a decent layout. There are many venues, and places to go on this ship. Even though they pack in way more people, there are still places to go around the ship, and that is because the layout makes sense.


8. Many of the staff speak multiple languages. It doesn’t matter if you speak with someone in the Entertainment staff, the restaurant staff, the room stewards… everyone speaks more than one language. We did find that English was not very common in the shows, so other than hearing "Ladies and Gentlemen"... we would not understand anything else.




ENTERTAINMENT ON THE COSTA FASCINOSA


Probably the most amazing part of this entire ship experience was the entertainment. There is so much to do, and the level of professionalism in all of the shows was just incredible.


Day time activities included trivia, music quizzes, dance lessons, games and tournaments, creative classes, exercise activities, food tasting, coffee time, bingo … just to name a few.


The evening shows on this ship was nothing short of spectacular. The dancing troupe had a special theme based show every single night, and in the other theatre the acrobats had a handful of different shows each night as well. On top of this, there were other specialty performers that had amazing shows, and the entertainment team which had their own shows too.


There were also shows and entertainment that featured the passengers such as “Voice of the Sea” We had met one of the contestants at lunch one day. She did a great job!


The music, the sets, the shows, the costume changes, the energy in every single performance was unlike anything we have ever experienced. As a former head of performing arts in Toronto, Canada, I can undeniably say that every show was absolutely incredible and top notch.





THE PARTIES ON THE COSTA FASCINOSA


Every day there was a different theme on the ship, therefore, there was always a posted “suggestion” of what to wear, so that you could really immerse yourself into the experience. Some of the themes included “Carnival”, “Elegant”, and “White Night”, You get the idea!


At night, the club would open and the theme would also correspond with the kind of music and vibe you would get!


We experienced the Silent Party (where you wore headphones and chose the DJ you wanted to listen to); the disco, and our particular favorite place on the ship, the Angelo Azzurro Lounge, listening every night to "Easy Listening Live" with Anastasiia and Atem, and the Saveh Duet.




THE VEGAN FOOD ON THE COSTA FASCINOSA


The Costa Fascinosa has a dedicated vegan menu which changed on, we believe, a 5 day rotation. The menu is the same for both lunch and dinner for the same day, but most of the time, there was enough choice on the menu to try different things.


The food was good. The portion sizes were great, and nothing was coated in oil or too much salt.

You could also order as much off of the menu that you wanted! We sampled all kinds of different food, and hope that you take a minute to look at the pictures of the food that we ate while on the ship.


The only real painful part of eating off of the vegan menu, was the waiting time. On Costa Fascinosa, you do not get to sit alone. At lunch, you MUST sit in a group of 6 to 8 people, wait for your food. It is frustrating to sit in between everyone who is eating around you, while you are literally waiting for sometimes upwards to an hour for anything to eat.


The worst experience that we had, was when we were scheduled for an organized tour from the ship, and had to meet our group by 12:30pm. Since 11am that morning, we were running around trying to find ANYTHING to eat to sustain us for our 7 hour tour, and had no success. We had gone to the burger place that didn't have any veggie burgers; then we went to the Buffet which wasn't opened yet; then we went to the restaurant we were supposed to go to at 11:30 and just ordered pasta... which never came. We sat there until 12:20pm and watched everyone else eat before we had to leave to meet our tour. We literally only ate BREAD. Not one staff member seemed to care either.


So yes, there is a vegan menu, but it is not easy to eat at the restaurant. The limited choices in the other venues (such as the buffet or burger place) made the food more of a disappointing experience, as there were no WFPB options.




TORI'S TIPS REGARDING THE COSTA FASCINOSA


1. The Costa Club Card: This is a FREE club card that you just sign up for. Once you are a costa club member, you will save money on different things such as getting a discount on a wine bottle purchase, or saving 25% off of an applicable excursion. In addition to this, it would also give you a 10% off your next cruise booking!


As Costa Club Members, we were invited to a "special" party where you would see who the main officers are, see the most travelled guest, and see a special show of acrobatics and a singer. Sadly, none of it was in English, so we didn't understand most of what was going on. Secondly, there was NOTHING special about this show. Other cruise lines, like Princess, offer guests a complimentary glass of champagne or something, but there was nothing.


2. Costa falls under the umbrella of Carnival Corporation, so if you book a ship on a COSTA cruise, you can get your shareholder’s perk!



3. We purchased the internet package on the Costa Fascinosa, and found it to be reliable and pretty fast. We only could use one device at a time, so we were constantly shifting it from a cellphone to the laptop, but that was fine. Because we purchased the internet in advance, we apparently saved a lot of money. The cost was $112 US for 8 days, with an additional $3 activation fee. This works out to $14.36 US. Because we had so many sea days, it didn't make any sense for us to buy the internet on our Canadian plan.



IN SUMMARY


We had a nice time on the Costa Fascinosa. For the most part it was comfortable and fun, with a few personal frustrations such as getting specific food.


There is a dedicated International Hostess on this ship to help you if you miss out on what is going on, due to lack of translations in English. Also, you could expect that your "OGGI A Board" would show you all of the daily events in English as well.


Overall, we would definitely travel on a Costa cruise again, but maybe we will take a few language lessons in Italian or Spanish first!


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