Costa and children: With lots of Fortuna on a family cruise

You will soon find all the photos of the Costa Fortuna here under Views of Costa Fortuna.

You will soon find our detailed portrait of the Costa Fortuna here.

Believe your eyes – summer holidays with Costa

Our little one’s eyes go wide: he stands in front of the imposing bow of the Costa Fortuna in Palma and is amazed: the yellow funnel impresses him just as much as the water slide that can be seen from afar. Our big boy can hardly wait to get on board either – so let the holidays begin!

Mallorca is an ideal starting point for our two-week Mediterranean cruise. The island is easily accessible by plane and offers a less crowded harbour, which contributes to a relaxed setting. The atmosphere in Palma’s large cruise terminal is calm, as only around 50 other guests are boarding with us. This creates a relaxed feeling right at the start of the holiday, especially for the parents.

Shortly afterwards, the boys run up the gangway and we make our way to our balcony cabin on deck 7, where our spacious domicile with plenty of storage space awaits our arrival! A large double bed and a bunk bed offer each of us our own personal retreat. There is plenty of space and the „7353“ becomes our island of cosiness for the big Mediterranean cruise.

Before the discoveries on land take centre stage, we set off on our own ship rally: after all, the Fortuna is over 270 metres long and has a lot to offer on 14 decks! And of course the boys want to go to the pool and slide first in the summer weather. Unfortunately, the first disappointment awaits them here: only those who are at least 1.3 metres tall are allowed to slide. This criterion must be met and even sliding together with mum or dad is not permitted, as the „Costa slide supervisor“ makes clear to the eldest – for safety reasons.

So as not to be too disappointed, we first go to the buffet restaurant. It’s quiet here at this hour of the afternoon and we enjoy our meal. The initial selection is convincing and so we continue our tour of the large ship, well energised. There is still plenty of time before we cast off and have dinner, and the boys have a thirst for discovery.

The large theatre on the bow is currently empty, so the kids immediately seize the opportunity to have their first wild race through the countless rows of seats. Still breathless, we then pass the casino and our two kids stand rooted to the spot, fascinated by the flashing gaming machines: They’ve never seen anything like it. But the same applies here: gambling is just as little for children as riding the water slide when you’re still too young… .

Kinder and Costa get together: The joy of moving jumps on board“

Under this slogan, Costa appeals to its youngest guests in an active and colourful way. And so the children’s club – the on-board „Squok Club“ – should really be something for them.
It’s all happening here from 09:00 until midnight! And that’s no wonder: there are over 800 children on board, not all of whom visit the Squak Club, but there’s still plenty going on here. The alarm sound when the entrance door is opened is so insistently loud that every child feels as if Fortuna is about to sink. So it’s no wonder that the children look around a little confused.

The children’s club offers a colourful programme: the skilled entertainment team led by Chef Ignacio from Brazil organises painting and craft competitions and Captain Andrea also looks after his youngest guests more than once during the trip. Great!

There are also motto days that relate to the day’s activities. If the parents wish, the children can dress up as little junior captains and attend a photo shoot – but this costs from €50 upwards, depending on the package chosen.

In addition to the lively atmosphere, the language is of course a point: Italian, Spanish, French and English are spoken fluently here. An attempt is also made to speak German, but unfortunately this is not really comprehensible for the children. For our boys, the programme on offer doesn’t seem to be so appealing – from then on, they don’t want to go to the club…

On the other hand, they are very happy to take advantage of the offer and play table football – there is always a big crowd here, so you never have to wait long to find a team mate.

When we first set sail, we sit in the Michelangelo restaurant at an early seating time to enjoy dinner on board. Fortunately, we have a wonderful window seat so that we don’t miss a single departure from the harbour during the cruise. We are not quite so lucky with the food we choose: The boys order a burger, but these are lovelessly prepared and tasteless. Not only is there no sauce, but the meat patty doesn’t look very appealing either. The parental dishes are at least okay. What is not okay are the extremely long waiting times. The service crew do what they can, but things don’t run smoothly, as demonstrated by various discussions between staff and the seemingly endless running around. Costa still has a lot of room for improvement on board the Fortuna. The good news is that things are improving in some areas over the duration of our trip.

For children’s eyes: three types of shore tours

Our booked itinerary is as fantastic as it is varied: after the start in Palma, our trip can be roughly divided into two halves – the first is a city trip and the second week is a land and beach holiday. In order to get the best out of the trip for us and the children, while at the same time relaxing and not leaving anyone disappointed, we organised our planned shore excursions in three different ways:

Our shore excursions are most often individual and we almost always travel by taxi, which – with two exceptions – is affordable. More on this in a moment.
Costa Cruises also offers tempting excursions via „MyTours“, which are also, or even especially, suitable for children and offer an attractive quality-price ratio. We booked three trips, only one of which actually took place. The pirate rally we booked in Marseille only took place in Spanish or Italian due to a lack of participants, which we felt was not suitable for the children. Costa now offers particularly intensive excursions in co-operation with National Geographic. We therefore booked a visit to a local family with children for Mykonos – but contrary to the announcement, these excursions did not take place. Too bad. Via MyTours, we finally visit one of the most beautiful villages in Italy: in Montealbano on Sicily, the children climb into a defiant fortress, inspect the knights‘ equipment and run through the really appealing village with a great panorama – a very worthwhile excursion for adults too.

We used the „GetyourGuide“ app to book an individual half-day excursion to Kefalonia, which took us to the highlights of this impressive and large Greek island. Booking, payment and the quality of the service were impressively smooth: our private driver brought the booster seats for the children as previously discussed, handed us two parasols and drinks for our swim stop at Myrtos beach and guided us past the queues in inimitable Greek style straight to the caves of Melissani and Drogarati, which are well worth seeing. Kefalonia was therefore a crowning highlight of our trip and we really like it – we’ll be back!

Great experiences ashore for the little ones

But wait a minute! We are still at the beginning and our first shore excursion in Barcelona takes us off board at 38°C in the shadow. Children and a big city? Is that possible? Yes! Off to the zoo. The extensive park in the centre of the city is very impressive: It is attractively designed, very clean, easy to reach and of course full of attractions. From „A“ for Anaconda to „Z“ for zebra, everything is there. All in all, an absolutely successful family excursion for which you can easily plan just under a day.

In Marseille, we travel a long way from the city: we take a taxi to Aix-en-Provence, more precisely to Peypin, which is three quarters of an hour away. This is the location of the marvellous adventure park „Le Bois des Lutins“, which offers plenty of „fun and action“ for young and old on a huge site in the forest. The offer is as high quality as it is varied and you don’t have to worry about long queues. It wasn’t just our children who wondered why there isn’t a park like this in our neighbourhood at home…

Savona is one of Costa’s main ports in the Mediterranean. In addition to extensive passenger changing, the ships are also loaded here with everything needed for the rest of the journey. The children therefore watched the never-ending queues of trucks handing over their cargo to our Fortuna with great interest. We used the town itself for an excursion to the medieval fortress and to search for the best ice cream in town.

Civitavecchia serves as the port for Rome with its world-famous highlights. With the temperature now 40°C in the shade, we don’t do such an exploratory tour to ourselves or the boys and prefer to cool off on the beach. The great thing for the kids: we travelled to Santa Marinella on a modern Italian train. It cost almost nothing, offered a short panoramic journey along the coast and was super quick. But beware of the taxi drivers in Civitavecchia! They charge a flat rate of €30 for the absurdly short journey back from the railway station to the ship. That smells like a tourist rip-off to us.

Heraklion is the starting point for our week’s holiday in Greece and things get really child-friendly straight away: after breakfast, we head to Karteros Beach. Next to the Paradise Beachbar, you can hire sunbeds and parasols at reasonable prices and the sandy beach slopes gently downwards. Ideal for small children. To our great delight, we can also watch the planes landing at the nearby airport from here – this beach day is as colourful as it is successful.

Rhodes not only attracts us to its old town, which is well worth seeing, next to the Costa Fortuna, but also to its beaches. So we split the day up: First we dash to Faliraki beach by taxi and when we need a break from the burning hot sand, we stroll through the beautiful alleyways of Rhodes Oldtown.

Two more classics follow: the two Cyclades islands of Mykonos and Santorini. Which one is more beautiful? We think both are wonderful, although Mykonos is a little more suitable for a holiday with small children. Here, our Fortuna docks within walking distance of the children on a beautiful, medium-sized beach: Stefanos Beach is within sight of the ship and the sunbeds are comparatively cheap at €25. Otherwise, Mykonos charges up to a crazy €80 a day… As we’re staying until midnight, we use the time for an evening ashore: „Little Venice“, the world-famous windmills and the colourful picturesque alleyways of Mykonos provide the perfect backdrop to a picture-book sunset. Simply beautiful.

To get from the pier in Santorini up to the old town of Fira, you have to get up early. Otherwise the queues at the cable car station are so long that you have to wait an hour or more – especially if, like today, there are four cruise ships at anchor and they all guests want to go up at the same time. The typical Santorini panorama impressed more than just our two explorers. Santorini is worth seeing – every time. Tip: You can also walk to the top or ride a donkey. The latter is best avoided as the animals are not treated well. It is better not to support this business model.

The butter story as a culinary parody: a lot of fortune for a piece of butter

Let´s head back to the Fortuna-tables: like everywhere else on board, the fully booked Costa Fortuna is also fully booked in the restaurants. As we soon realise, we don’t just need to be hungry when it comes to food, we also need to be patient. However, with small, hungry children at hand, you need more patience in the buffet restaurant than we can offer: The queues are regularly so long that you don’t even know what you’re queuing for, as the displays are hidden behind the people waiting close together.

The Sushino or the pizzeria, where we sometimes enjoy a tasty meal, are much better (after booking and paying extra).

As we are usually on a shore excursion at lunchtime and try the local specialities, we usually choose the main Michelangelo restaurant for breakfast and dinner. But even here, especially in the morning, there can be long queues and plucked buffets without “ restocking“. Not every day, but it does happen.

Our reserved table in the evening, on the other hand, is great. Here we sit comfortably with a view over the stern wave of the ship and can dine in comfort.

Unfortunately, it also takes an unusually long time here and we can hardly manage less than two hours for dinner.
Nevertheless, there are some positive aspects to mention: The meals are satisfactory and the crew are particularly attentive when it comes to the children’s special requests. A smile accompanies every request. However, the children’s menu remains unchanged for the entire cruise period of two weeks, which is somewhat disappointing. Although variety is not absolutely necessary for children’s menus, a little variation would have better fulfilled our expectations.

As far as the general quality of the food is concerned, it unfortunately does not reach the level that we are used to on other ships such as the Costa Smeralda or Toscana. For a cruise line that is part of a large group with supposedly high standards, this fact surprises us. It is an aspect that falls short of our expectations, even if the basic requirements are certainly met.
Let’s move on to the „butter story“ in connection with standards: All tables are elegantly set for dinner – including a generously stocked bread basket. What is missing is the butter, dip or similar. Unfortunately, this can only ever be ordered(!) when the entire menu order has been taken. Then the butter is brought from the kitchen for each(!) table. After looking at the process for almost half the journey and no improvement in sight even when asked, I finally ordered butter for every evening at our table as a starter via the restaurant manager. This worked like magic and from then on we no longer ate our bread dry… By the way: the same thing happened at the breakfast buffet: Butter is not available anywhere and has to be ordered from a waiter – preferably well in advance(!). And where does he get each piece of butter from? That’s right! From the galley. There could hardly be a more complicated and nerve-wracking start to the day for everyone involved… Unfortunately, no-one was able to explain to me why this extremely cumbersome procedure is like this.


The Costa Fortuna is celebrating its 20th anniversary with Costa this year – a fact that can be seen on the outside decks – inside the ship, however, everything is in tip-top condition, even if the design style no longer quite reflects the pulse of the times.
In culinary terms, the Fortuna cannot compete with the flagships Toscana and Smeralda: The food is „average“ in many cases and the service staff are often out of step. At the buffets, especially at lunchtime, it is a test of patience to get to the food or even to see what is on offer. The crowds on the fully booked ship are always correspondingly large.

The children’s programme on board is extensive, varied and often loud every day. The southern European lifestyle is different to that of northern Europe and this is probably also the reason why our boys don’t want to join in the hustle and bustle of the Squeak Club. However, they did enjoy dropping in on other events such as the ship rally, ice cream challenge, children’s disco or „Meet the Captain“ and were interested in what was going on.

„Believe your eyes“ – the Costa motto particularly captivated us with regard to the destinations travelled to on this trip. The destinations travelled to by Costa provided us with wonderful stays ashore and the layover times were also generous for our purposes. What we personally weren’t convinced by in terms of the children’s club, the quality of the food and the irregular procedures, our cabin, the route and the varied experiences ashore more than made up for. It’s clear that a ship like the Fortuna is not comparable with the newest ships in the fleet, but the four of us still enjoyed an eventful family holiday.

At the end of our journey, we moored back in Palma to a beautiful sunrise – a multi-faceted cruise with many impressions comes to an end.

„Believe my words“ – we’ll be happy to set sail with Costa again in the future, and then we’ll take a closer look at the more modern ships.

Advertising: SHIPS@SEA travelled on board the Costa Fortuna at the invitation of Costa Cruises.



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