Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 381 out of 500
Accommodation: 143 out of 200
Food: 246 out of 400
Service: 269 out of 400
Entertainment: 65 out of 100
Cruise: 266 out of 400
Overall Score: 1370 out of 2000
Costa Fascinosa Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Costa Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9479864
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: €510 million
Entered Service: May 2012
Length (ft/m): 952.0/290.2
Beam (ft/m): 116.4/35.5
Draft (ft/m): 26.9
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (75,600kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 13
Total Crew: 1,090
Passengers (lower beds): 3,016
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 38.0
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.7
Cabins (total): 1,508
Size Range (sq ft/m): 179.7-482.2/16.7-44.8
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 650
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 12
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 5
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: Euros
Upbeat Italian decor and style, for trendy family cruising
Overview. Costa Cruises is for those who want to enjoy the casual life to the full. It does a good job of providing first-time cruise passengers with a packaged seagoing vacation - particularly for families with children - that’s a mix of sophistication and chaos, accompanied by loud music everywhere.
The Ship. With an instantly recognizable single, large yellow funnel, Costa Fascinosa is a sister to Costa Favolosa, Costa Fortuna, Costa Magica, Costa Pacifica and Costa Serena. On the open decks, two pool areas can be covered with retractable glass domes - useful for inclement weather conditions; one pool has a long water slide, much liked by children; there is also a large poolside movie screen. However, the open deck space is pretty cramped when the ship is full, the plastic sunloungers are crammed together, and do not have cushioned pads.
With three decks packed with 13 bars and lounges and other public rooms, there’s a place for all tastes. The decor throughout is on the wild side. The focal social point is a three-deck-high atrium lobby, with four glass panoramic elevators providing a neat view over the lobby bar - a good place for espresso/cappuccino and people-watching. The Casino is large and very colorful, but the slot machines occupy a separate area from the gaming tables, so serious gamers can concentrate. Other public rooms include a small library, an Internet-connection center, 4D cinema, card room, art gallery, and video game room, plus a chapel - a standard aboard all Costa Cruises’ ships.
Families like Costa Cruises for its perceived ‘Italian’ style, ambience and spirit, and most passengers will be Italian, with a sprinkling of other European nationals. However, you won’t find many Italian hotel service staff on board - although many of the officers are Italian, most crew members, particularly the dining room and housekeeping staff, are from the Philippines. But the lifestyle on board is decidedly Italian - lively, noisy, and full of sparkle. Naturally, during peak European school-holiday periods, especially during Christmas and Easter, you can expect to be cruising with a lot of children of all ages.
Printed material such as the cabin service folio and menus, are provided in six languages - Italian, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish - and announcements are also made in several languages.
As aboard other Costa ships, few staff members are on duty at the gangway when you arrive for embarkation; they merely point you in the direction of your deck, or to the ship’s elevators and do not escort you to your cabin.
Accommodation. There are many accommodation price grades, from two-bed interior cabins to grand suites with private balcony, although in reality there are only three different sizes: suites with ‘private’ balcony - which are really not particularly large in comparison with some other large ships; two- or four-bed outside-view cabins; and two- or four-bed interior cabins. Fortunately, no cabins have views obstructed by lifeboats or other safety equipment views, and, in most cabins, twin beds can be changed to a double/queen-bed configuration.
Eight Grand Suites, in the center of the ship on one of the uppermost decks, comprise the largest accommodation. They have a queen-size bed and larger living area with vanity desk; the bathrooms have a tub and two washbasins.
A total of 103 Samsara Spa Suites are designated as Samsara-grade. Occupants get unlimited spa access plus two treatments, and fitness or meditation lessons as part of the package. These grades have an Oriental decorative theme, special Samsara bathroom personal amenities, and can eat in one of two designated Samsara Restaurants.
Suite-grade occupants get bathrobes and better amenities, shaving mirror, a pillow menu, and walk-in closets - although the hangers are plastic. Music is played 24 hours a day in all accommodation hallways and elevators, so you may well hear it if you are a light sleeper.
Dining. There are two principal dining rooms, Il Gattopardo and Otto e Mezza. One is aft, the other in the ship’s center. Tables for two to eight are allocated according to your accommodation grade and location, in one of two seating times. These dining rooms offer traditional cruise fare that is best described as banquet-style food. Note that there are no real sommeliers, so the waiters serve the wine. They also dance at the tables during the cruise - for a bit of show business.
Two Samsara Restaurants - open for lunch and dinner to those in Samsara-grade suites and cabins, and to anyone else for dinner only at an extra charge - have separate entrances. While the two main restaurants offer traditional cruise fare, these ‘spa cuisine’ spots feature healthier food - reduced calories, fat, and salt, with menu creations under the direction of dietary consultant and Michelin-star chef Ettore Boccia.
Other dining options. A reservations-required, extra-cost restaurant, Club Fascinosa, has fine table settings and leather-bound menus. The self-serve, buffet-style eatery, Tulipano Nero Buffet, is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon pizzas, and coffee or tea at any time. A balcony level provides additional seating, but you’ll need to carry your own food plates because there are no trays, which makes it difficult to carry both food and a beverage at the same time. The food in this venue is extremely repetitive, and a major source of passenger complaints.
Additionally, a venue called Caffeteria is the place to go for decent, extra-cost coffees and Italian sweet pastries.
Entertainment. The Fascinosa Showlounge seats over 800. It’s three decks high and is the venue for all production shows and large-scale cabaret acts, with a revolving stage, hydraulic orchestra pit, good sound, and seating on three levels, the upper levels being tiered through two decks.
High-energy revue-style shows are performed by a small troupe of resident onboard singers/dancers, with fast-moving action and busy lighting and costume changes.
Spa/Fitness. The Samsara Spa is a large facility occupying some 64,585 sq ft (6,000 sq m) of space, including relaxation areas, spread over two decks. It has a large fitness room, separate saunas, steam rooms, UVB solarium, changing rooms for men and women, and 10 body treatment rooms. Two VIP treatment rooms, available to couples for half-day rentals, are located on the upper level.
The Spa/fitness facilities are staffed and operated by Steiner Leisure, a specialist spa/beauty concession. Some fitness classes are free, while some, such as Pathway to Yoga, Pathway to Pilates, and Pathway to Meditation, cost extra. It’s wise to make appointments early as time slots can go quickly.
You can buy a day pass in order to use the sauna/steam rooms, thermal suite and relaxation area, at a cost of €35 per person. However, there’s an additional no-charge sauna for men and women, but to access it you must walk through an active fitness area, maybe with your bathrobe on - not comfortable for everyone.