We just got back from a 14 days Mediterranean cruise on board the Costa Fascinosa, and today we will tell you all the good, the bad and the not so good of our cruise! Also at the end of this review, we’ll give you a special bonus – something you need to know if you are planning on cruising with Costa.
So let’s dive right in starting from boarding.
As we mentioned in our previous Costa review, we received our boarding time about 2 weeks prior to departure.
We had to take a Covid test within 48 hours prior to departure to give to the embarkation agent. On the embarkation morning, we arrived in port at 10 am, our assigned boarding time.
This time we were traveling with an older gentleman that had some motility issues. We asked the port agent for assistance with a wheelchair and they were able to organize it for us. It took a few minutes to have the chair ready, but overall it was a smooth process.
As of May 1st, 2022 no more covid test at the port is required. At 10:35 we were on board. That wasn’t bad at all considering that we had to wait for about 15, minutes for the wheelchair to arrive.
I would say that boarding was quite good. There seemed to be a little disorganisation, but, everyone was friendly, apologetic, and assured us a wheelchair would be available soon and for us, it deserves 4 our of 5 anchors, just because the wait for the wheelchair was a bit long.
Our next topic on our Costa Fascinosa Mediterranean cruise review is The Ship!
The Costa Fascinosa was built by Fincantieri and launched in 2012. It is 290 meters long. It has a capacity of 3800 passengers and 1110 crew members.
Overall we like the ship, but it is not the easiest ship to navigate. This is because the main dining rooms are located on decks 3 and 4 in the middle of the ship. So, the only way to walk from the front to the back of the ship is through deck 5.
The ship decor is fine, nothing special. The common areas are nice and spacious. Its similar to many other Costa ships. Also, the Fascinosa has a set of panoramic elevators situated in midship toward the front that runs from deck 2 to deck 11.
The ship has a lot of areas for sun tanning, in particular, one area that was quite nice was all the way on deck 12 in the front by the Scuderia bar. This area was sheltered from the wind and it the little bar was never too busy.
Another feature that I particularly enjoyed on the ship was the water slide. This is incredibly fun and Rick probably went down 100 times!
For us. the Fascinosa isn’t the best designed, the ship was not the easiest one to navigate. We did not like the fact that the only deck that was open from front to back was deck 5.
So, our vote for the ship is a 4 Out of 5 – again, mostly because of the slide.
We continue our Costa Fascinosa Mediterranean cruise review is: The Itinerary
Originally we were supposed to sail from the Italian port of Savona to the port of Haifa in Israel. This original itinerary had 5 sea days and 7 ports of call.
A couple of weeks prior to departure, we received an email that due to the geopolitical situation in Israel, the itinerary was changed to a new one that only had 3 sea days and 9 ports of call.
The new Itinerary was sail from Savona and stop in Marseille, Barcelona, Malta, Santorini, Mykonos, Heraklion on the island of Crete, Athens, Catania, and Naples before heading back to Savona.
Overall we weren’t too upset that we missed Haifa because this new itinerary gave us the opportunity to visit more places and have fewer sea days. In the end, we think that this newly revised itinerary was one of the best Mediterranean Itineraries we have done so far and we really really liked it!
The weather was absolutely spectacular. And it made visiting all the ports that much more enjoyable. This is easy. Our vote for the ITINERARY is a 5 Out of 5.
Our next item on our Costa Fascinosa Mediterranean cruise review is: The Cabin
Costa Fascinosa Cabin
Our cabin on the Costa Fascinosa was identical to every other Costa balcony cabin we had so far. It is simple no frills cabin, but it’s spacious. The bed is very comfortable, but like other ships, it is very close to the window.
The balcony is quite wide and it can accommodate 2 chairs and a little table.
The bathroom is small but efficient.
The cabin has the usual ugly brown couch that converts into a bed for an extra passenger in the room. The closet space is decent with lots of drawers and shelves. Overall we think that the cabin would benefit from a bit of a makeover to make it a little more modern. And Costa – if you’re listening, please, change those ugly brown couches!
So, for those reasons our vote for the cabin is a 3 out of 5.
My vote for the cabin is a 3 Out of 5.
Our next item on the Costa Fascinosa Mediterranean cruise review is: The Service
The Service on the Costa Fascinosa
Service on Costa Fascinosa was a little spotty at best. In some areas of the ship, it was a bit better, while in other areas, it was not so great. This was more apparent during our first week of the cruise because there were a lot of servers at the end of their contract that appeared very tired. Most of them disembarked in Athens where we also boarded some new ones. After Athens, it was mildly better but still not great.
We ate at the club restaurant and noticed a general lack of training, especially for assistants. Normally, the club restaurant gets the very best waiters the ship has to offer – but not on this cruise. We brought this up to the manager several times and finally after a few days, and finding a waiter we liked, things got better.
Another thing we noticed was the fact that staff blamed the covid protocol for anything that we brought up. However, we knew that it wasn’t true because on previous cruises, during the pandemic, most of these issues were not there.
Now – it wasn’t all bad. One thing that was surprising to us was the help that was given to passengers with mobility issues. As we mentioned at the beginning one of our travel mates had mobility issues. Every morning before going out to explore, we contacted the front desk to arrange a wheelchair to take him outside. In less than 5 minutes the wheelchair was at our cabins ready to take us out. This service was incredibly efficient and professional. The person pushing the chair always took us to our bus or even to the taxi stand when needed. This made our vacation way better and we really have to commend Costa for this service.
Based on this our vote would also be 2 out of 5. However, the way that they handled the wheelchair situation was really really good.
Let’s move on to our next topic on our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review and we talk about: safety and cleanliness.
Costa Fascinosa safety and cleanliness
First, let us say The Costa Fascinosa was absolutely spotless. Incredibly clean in every single corner. The crew was constantly washing the ship, cleaning, and dusting. It could not be cleaner. We even had our balcony washed twice! From the cleanliness point of view, it made us feel really really safe.
The covid safety protocol was eased on May first, 2022. You can check out this video to see what is cruising like with the new protocols!
For this reason, our vote is a 5 out 5 for safety and cleanliness.
We continue our Costa Fascinosa cruise review by talking about the: costa club loyalty program.
On May first, Costa changed its loyalty program. They introduced a new category Platinum, which is really difficult to reach! Our status on the old program was “Perla Diamante” and it was the highest at the time. Today, it’s the second to highest.
Most of the perks we had with the old program were still available, but a couple was not available anymore. In particular, we did not have the €75.00 onboard credit we used to have – this is very unfortunate.
Also, on this sailing, they told us that we had no more turn-down service, which was available only for Platinum or those traveling in suites! However, after checking on a few Costa groups online, we found out that on many ships the service was still available – even to Costa Club Gold members like us – traveling in regular cabins!
Then there was the Costa club show, for, well you guessed it – costa club members. On this cruise – it was incredibly lame. It was less than 20 minutes long, there was no speech from the Captain or the hotel director. It felt rushed and forced. Also, there was no free photo at the event, and they blamed it on covid!
How was that possible that on our 4 previous cruises in 2021 and 2022 we were able to take the photo even though we were in the middle of the Pandemic, while now that it is a much better situation we can’t take a photo anymore??? To be sure, the photo was against a green screen, so there was no executive staff involved. Maybe this was more of a cost-saving measure, than a covid one.
That said, one very good thing about the Costa Club on this particular cruise was the end of the cruise gift. Instead of the usual beach bag, we had a nice bottle of Port wine and the ship model which was really nice.
To summarise the Costa Club still offers some very good perks, and it is a good program. But to us, it feels like as we cruise more, perks that were available have now been taken away – and this is never a good feeling. Also on this particular sailing, the show and the lack of free photos were really disappointing.
However the program is still quite good, better than some other loyalty programs in the industry but on this ship, it was obvious that something was not right – almost amateurish and not in line with what we’ve come to expect from Costa. For these reasons our vote is a 3 out of 5
And now our Costa Fascinosa cruise review continues with the: Drink Package.
As we mentioned before in our cruise review video onboard the Costa Luminosa, by the way here’s the link to that, the drinking package on Costa is a very good deal. It’s even a better deal if you buy it at the time of booking – just select the all-inclusive fare.
Our package was the “My Drinks” one. This is the basic package and includes pretty much everything we needed. In fact, it included a selection of 3 white wines, 3 reds, one rose, and a prosecco to choose from.
It also included most cocktails, spirits, dessert wines, drought beer, and digestives like grappa and scotch. It also included espresso, cappuccino, specialty coffees, and teas. On top of that, it included one half litre bottle of water per person, per day at bars. It is possible to purchase an upgrade to the My Drinks Plus that includes premium wines, premium liquors, and the cabin minibar.
We really think that the My Drink package is a fantastic deal and for this reason our vote is a 5 out of 5 anchors.
Our next topic on our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review is the: Costa App
The Costa App is the main portal on your mobile phone that allows you to check what is going on board, track your expenses, track the ship, purchase excursions, make reservations, check the menus, etc. Since our last cruise, we noticed that the app had some mild improvements in functionality and some extra features added.
However, toward the end of our cruise, the App stopped working properly. In particular, it wasn’t connecting to the ship server and it would simply stall on the opening page. Since we did not buy an internet package and we were using the per-minute option, the fact that the app wasn’t working was particularly annoying, because we never knew if we were disconnected from the internet or not.
Overall the App is ok, it has a lot of room for improvement but it is pretty much similar to all the other cruise line apps we tested so far.
Well, the fact that for the last 3-4 days of the cruise the App stopped working properly was really annoying – so we’d give the app a 3 out of 5.
And now we continue our Costa Fascinosa cruise review by talking about: Bars
Bars on the Costa Fascinosa
The Costa Fascinosa has several bars on board. However, it did not seem to have the same amount as we found in other ships.
We did find a secret bar on deck 12 that we loved because, as I mentioned before, it was right by our favorite suntanning area. Overall the bars were good. Service at the bars was again a bit spotty. For example service at the aft pool bar was fantastic, with great bartenders, very friendly and efficient. While at the bar on deck 3 by the panoramic elevators service was slow and very inconsistent.
Overall our vote for bars is a 4 out of 5, due to the spotty service.
Our next topic on our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review is one of our favorite The food
Costa Fascinosa Food
If there is an aspect in which Costa excels it’s the food for sure. The Food is always perfect, well seasoned, well prepared, and well presented.
The selection is fantastic, a little overwhelming at times. You will always find a selection of appetisers one seafood, one meat, and one vegetarian. After that, you will find the “primi” which is usually a pasta dish, and again you’ll find one seafood, one meat pasta, and a vegetarian and a soup of the day.
Then you’ll find your “Secondi” or mains and again you can choose between seafood, meat, and vegetarian. On top of all that you’ll find the “Destination dish” designed by one of the Michelin chefs that partnered with Costa. Also because we were having our meals at the Club restaurant (more about that later) we had a gourmet dish always available in each category.
If all those selections weren’t enough for you, there is a section in the menu that is called “Great Classics” where you can find a selection of dishes that are always available. And then, as we mentioned in our previous video about the Costa Luminosa, you can choose options from the Squok menu – it’s the Kids and teen menu where you can pick dishes like chicken nuggets, burgers, and fries, tomato pasta, and more. Finally, there is an entire section of gourmet dishes available for a fee that includes caviar, lobster pasta, lobster and prawns, tomahawk steak, and so on! However, we noticed that the gourmet food prices went up as much as double, from our last cruise just a few months ago.
As we told you in the past a special mention has to go to the desserts! They are not just delicious, they are also very pretty and perfectly presented. If you travel on Costa make sure to keep some room for desserts you won’t regret it!
Well, it is almost impossible not to give Costa a 5 out of five for food. In fact we would give them a 10 out of 5 if we could!
We continue our Costa Fascinosa cruise review by talking about the: Restaurants
Restaurants on the Costa Fascinosa
The Costa Fascinosa has the main dining room located on decks 3 and 4. This is quite nice and spacious. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dinner service has an early seating at 7 and a late seating at 9.
The buffet is located on deck 9, it is quite large and it offers a good selection of food. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and on this cruise there was also a limited selection for dinner!
On top of those two choices, there is some specialty paid restaurants. The most important one, and most fancy, is Archipelago where the 3 Michelin star chefs offer a set menu for you to pick from. The ambiance is fantastic, modern, and really classy. However, as we mentioned before in our Costa Luminosa review – at this restaurant you can NOT make any substitution to the menus.
Even if you have a food allergy or intolerance you’re out of luck! Andrea doesn’t eat seafood, for example, and the majority of the dishes served there is seafood. For this reason, we won’t be able to eat there! While we don’t know how long this will last, I did hear from grumblings that the management is looking to make some changes… The second specialty restaurant is the Sushino sushi bar. And again, on this cruise again it was almost always empty.
The third specialty restaurant is the pizzeria. We actually did try this and it was excellent. Again service was off. We ordered an appetiser, pizza, and a dessert. And the appetiser and the pizzas came at the same time, and we were each given 2 plates – weird! I brought it up… and well, they comped the pizzas for us. But, this is serving 101. If you have courses, you stagger them!
Another strange thing about this restaurant is the location. The pizza oven/are is on deck 9 – but all the tables are on deck 10. Why didn’t they use the tables on deck 9 – around the pizza was a bit of a mystery.
Also available on the Costa Fascinosa is the street food grill that serves gourmet burgers for a small fee at night.
Also on deck five, you can find the Gelateria Amarillo which serves gelato, chocolate, freshly baked cakes, and desserts for a fee. We did not try this venue because the desserts on board are pretty fantastic and we were always full!
Lastly, the Costa Club restaurant is dedicated to suite passengers as well as costa club gold and platinum passengers. This is a nice and classy restaurant located on deck 11 at the back of the ship. The setting is more intimate than the main dining room. As we mentioned before the menu is the same as the main dining room with some extra gourmet dishes available. Non-suite or gold passengers can eat at the Club for a fee and with a reservation.
Overall I think that the restaurant selection on the ship is good. I still don’t understand the concept of the Archipelago restaurant with the strict no substitution and for this reason, or vote for the restaurants is a 4 out of 5.
Our Costa Fascinosa cruise review continues with: the entertainment.
Entertainment on board of the Costa Fascinosa
The entertainment team on board the Costa Fascinosa was definitely better than the one we had a couple of months ago on the Costa Luminosa. In particular, the Cruise director Giovanni was really good. Very friendly and he was always greeting passengers and interacting. The team was doing their best to keep people entertained with games, dance lessons, and activities. Some of the parties on board were pretty good and very well attended. Overall we think that the team was good, not Marco good but pretty good.
Some members of the team could have been a bit friendlier but overall they were friendly.
The entertainment team was good, Giovanni was great and everyone seemed to be doing a good job. So our vote is a 4 out of 5.
Let’s move on with the next aspect on our Costa Fascinosa cruise review and we talk about:
The Shows on board of the Costa Fascinosa
On this cruise the shows were the average Costa shows. Lots of singing and dancing. Some acrobatic shows. Singers. A magician. Overall was good. Nothing amazing but pretty good. Most importantly there was a decent mix of shows during the 14 days and they never felt repetitive. As usual one of the most attended shows was the Voice at Sea, the singing competition that mimics the tv show The Voice.
For this reason, our vote for the shows is a 4 out of 5.
And now we continue our Costa Fascinosa cruise review with one of our favorite places on board:
The Costa Fascinosa Spa
As you guys know by now we LOVE the spa! On the Costa Fascinosa, the spa is located on deck 11 and 12 all the way to the front. The area is huge for the size of this ship. The spa has a large Jacuzzi, a sauna, a steam room which was unfortunately still closed due to the covid protocol, a few relaxation areas at different temperatures, a winter garden, and a solarium. It is really nice. We spent an afternoon there and we loved it. This was a free entrance part of our gold status.
We were advised that due to covid restrictions, we were not able to book the area for the all cruise in advance at the discounted rate. Strange, because on our last cruise, on the Luminosa, it was available for us. Another strange covid rule on this ship but not others… Also we were informed that only 7 people at the time were allowed inside and only for 75 minutes. So we did not bother to book it. Also, we think that when the weather is nice and hot like it was on our cruise the chances of using this area are very slim.
Yeah, and on this cruise Rick did not book a massage so he can’t really review the service. However, the Spa manager recognized us from a previous cruise and she was incredibly nice to us! She welcomed us and she was really happy to see us again. That was a very sweet touch.
In the spa, you can also find the hair and nail salon, several massage rooms, and the gym. One thing we have noticed on this ship is that the gym changing room also has a dry sauna inside that is free to use.
We really loved the spa, the area is beautiful, the Spa manager was incredibly nice to us so for us it also deserves a 5 anchors out of 5, no doubt.
Our next topic to our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review is:
If you watched our Costa Luminosa cruise review you probably remember that our rating for excursions was quite low. We are pleased to tell you that on the Costa Fascinosa the excursions team was really well organized, well run and efficient. One very important thing we noticed right away was the fact that the excursion manager was always around. We spotted him several times on actual excursions always dressed like a normal passenger. We think this made all the difference!
Since April 1st, 2022 passengers can leave the ship and explore on their own – which is so much better.
One thing to consider when booking a Costa Cruise is the excursion package. It is called My Exploration which includes 3 excursions to be picked from a list of selected ones and also gives you a discount on all the extra ones. If you book the super all-inclusive package cruise fare my exploration is included.
We booked only 3 excursions with the cruise line and we really enjoyed them. In particular, the tour of Santorini with wine tasting was really fun! Another thing worth mentioning was how great the excursions team was with our travel mate with mobility issues. They always reserved the first row on the bus for him, they always made sure he was fine and accommodated his needs. We were quite impressed with that.
Lastly, Costa is partnering with National Geographic Explorations to come up with excursions that are off the beaten path. We hope to try some of these on a future trip.
One thing that is worth mentioning is the fact that on the Costa Portal the description for the excursions is not always very accurate and it is quite difficult sometime to find out if the excursion includes. However, we were always able to clear everything up in advance with the excursion team. They were really helpful and knowledgeable on what was included and not included.
Well after this long review is time to vote, We give the excursion a 5 out of five because I think they were really on top of things and they deserve it.
And now we continue our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review with the:
Casino on board of the Costa Fascinosa
The Casino is really big for this ship, it is located on deck five towards the back of the ship. There are a lot of tables and a very good amount of slots. On this cruise the casino was a little busier than our previous cruise last March, however, was not busy at all. Most of the tables were closed or empty due to a lack of people. In fact, there were only 2 roulette tables, one blackjack and one caribbean poker table open every night.
Even though we did not use the casino very much we can vote on the location and the setting. our vote for the Casino is: 4 out of 5, what is your vote Rick:
Our next topic for the Costa Fascinosa cruise review is: The photo gallery.
The Photo gallery
The photo gallery on the Costa Fascinosa is located on deck four in mid-ship. We personally think that it is a terrible location due to the fact that nobody really walks on deck four. In fact, the only time we went down there was specifically to look for photos. Photographers were around the ship every day and night. They were pleasant and and not too pushy – but they definitely try to get you to take the photos.
Our vote for the photo gallery is a 3 out of 5, i did not like the location of the gallery. Also, out of the 30 photos that we took, we didn’t buy any of them.
Let’s move to another topic of our Costa Fascinosa cruise review and we will talk about: The stores.
The Costa Fascinosa Stores
The stores on Costa Fascinosa are located on deck 5 toward the front of the ship in an area called Galleria. There is a clothing store that sells brand-name clothing, bags, and shoes. A duty free store that sells perfumes, watches, and jewellery. It also has a very small area for travel essentials and chocolate.
One thing that was not available at the duty-free is tobacco. We heard a few passengers complaining about that. Next to the duty-free there is a Costa merchandise store all in the same area. Overall the area is nice and big for the ship. It was quite busy at night and during sailing.
Also during sailing, they always had a booth on deck five by the Grand Bar TopKapi where they had stuff on sale. This was a great place to find deals on perfumes, scarfs, t-shirts etc.
As we mentioned on our previous Costa review the selection of toiletries was very very limited. On this particular sailing it was not a problem because we were in port almost every day – so we could buy what we needed. But if a cruise has a lot of sea days it might become a problem.
We think stores are average, nothing special and as usual a lack of choices for toiletry so our vote is a 3 out of 5.
And now our next topic for our Costa Fascinosa cruise review is: The Internet On board.
The Internet on board
On this sailing, we found out that there was an unlimited package available for 100 euros. But considering there were only a few sea days, we found that to be excessive compared to what we’re used to. Other cruise lines offers unlimited for much cheaper. There are also social media and whatsapp packages available for a cheaper price. We decided to use the pay per minute option which cost €0.25 per minute because we only needed the internet for a short time when sailing. The speed of the internet was fine, not the fastest not the slowest.
But, the main problem here wasn’t speed – it was accessing it. There was one evening that we needed to use the internet, and I couldn’t because the costa app didn’t work. After about 30 minutes of trying, we called the front desk, and they suggested going through the web browser, but in the end, it didn’t work. So yeah, we really weren’t happy with it.
Our vote is a 1 out of five because we still think that the full package is way too expensive – and it wasn’t available when we needed it.
Moving on our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review continue with: The overall feeling.
The Overall feeling
The first thing we noticed on board was an overall tiredness from a big number of crew members. Especially the crew members from Brasil who were at the end of their contracts. It was quite apparent that they just wanted to disembark. For most of them, the disembarkation was after the first week of the cruise in the port of Athens.
Passengers on the other end were quite happy and very friendly. There was a good mix of passengers from all over Europe. We were able to have conversations with a lot of fellow passengers which was really nice. Everyone was really happy about the relaxed protocols on board and the fact that we were able to explore ports on our own. Also, on this cruise, there was a majority of passengers were long-time cruisers and they were very familiar with life on board.
We wish we could give 2 votes one for crew and one for passengers. As we mentioned the tiredness of the crew was pretty obvious. Other passengers on the other hand were very nice and friendly. So our vote is a 3 out of 5, for overall feeling.
We are almost at the end of our Costa Fascinosa cruise review and we will talk about: disembarkation
Costa offers a safe place to hold bags for passengers during disembarkation. On this particular cruise, this area was very disorganised. It opened at 8 am and there was a huge crowd of people waiting in line. Also something that was peculiar on this cruise was the fact that had to leave the cabin by 8am sharp, even though the ship was not scheduled to arrive in power until 9am. So basically, around 730-745 – there’ were hundreds of passengers just roaming doing nothing with all their hand baggage. Again – not cool.
On previous cruises, there was always some flexibility on the time that we had to vacate the cabin. On this one, no! Absolutely no flexibility., Weird.
One thing that was quite nice though was the fact that right by the gangway door the Cruise director and the Hotel Manager were there to personally say goodbye to passengers. We thought this was a very nice touch.
Time to cast the last vote: Given that we had to give up our room by 8am, and that the baggage storage was disorganised, we give disembarkation a 3 out five.
And now it is time to wrap up our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review with:
Overall we feel this was a very good cruise, especially because it was a fantastic itinerary and the weather was stunning! We had 13 days of sun out of 14 and the sea was always as smooth as glass. The ship had a bit of problems – especially with service, nothing major but still needed to be addressed.
The ship wasn’t our favorite due to the strange layout but it is still alright. But – Costa always surprises us with the quality and presentation of the food.
Now before we wrap up we want to review another service that is not really part of the cruise but it did make a huge difference. Bag express!
Costa partnered with a service called Bag Express. For gold and platinum members, this is a free service – but anybody can use it for a small charge. In the bag express portal, you put your first name, last name, and reservation number.
Then, they will arrange a bag pick up at your home and deliver the bag to the cabin at embarkation. They also arrange to pick up the bag from your cabin and ship it back to your home in a couple of days. We used this service for this cruise and we have to say that it is quite fantastic! Incredibly efficient and convenient.
Especially if you are taking a train to the cruise this will save you the hassle to move your bags around. We will certainly use this service again in the future for sure.
Well, folks, this concludes our Costa Fascinosa Cruise review, we hope you enjoyed our video.
If you have any questions leave a comment below we love to read and respond. In the time, we hope you enjoyed our article.
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30, he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America, and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising, and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.