11 Tips for an Enjoyable Cruise Experience with Costa Victoria

30 December, 2014

We had shared at earlier blog posts on our experience onboard Costa Victoria 5D4N trip to Langkawi and Phuket as well as our meals onboard Costa Victoria.  With thousands of passengers onboard, you will definitely need to queue for various things from boarding to disembarking. If you want to save some time queuing and waiting, I have compiled 11 tips to make this entire cruise experience a more enjoyable one.

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Costa Cruise Tip 1: Check-in for your cruise early and enjoy dinner onboard Costa Victoria

Our cruise (Costa Victoria) departs from Singapore Harbourfront Cruise Terminal at 10pm on Day 1.  Embarkation starts from 4.30pm and last boarding time is at 9pm.  We checked-in our luggage at around 6.15pm and was given a queue number of “27” which corresponded to a boarding time of 8.45pm!  I guess that’s how Costa Victoria do crowd control – 6-7pm is typically the most crowded period since most passengers intend to enjoy their dinner onboard the cruise.  My tip for you is that you need not necessarily wait until your assigned boarding time.  We went up to the boarding area at around 7.45pm and there were no queues at all so we went through the paperwork e.g. passport and security checks and boarded Costa Victoria!  If there are queues, they will likely ask you to come back at your assigned boarding time.

Dinner onboard Costa Victoria on the day of departure from Singapore, is served 6pm to 9pm at Sinfonia Restaurant (buffet) and 5.45pm to 8.45pm at Fantasia Restaurant (ala carte dining).  There are more dining options – Bolero Buffet from 4.30pm to 9.15pm and hotdogs + hamburgers by the pool from 6pm to 8pm.  If you crave for supper, Bolero Buffet serves buffet dinner from 10pm to 11pm and Pizzeria Bella Napoli serves pizzas from 10pm to 1am.  You definitely won’t go hungry with Costa Victoria. 🙂

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Costa Cruise Tip 2: Print out your Cruise Ticket (including the pages with your luggage tags)

Ensure that you have printed out your Cruise Ticket.  The last few pages of your Cruise Ticket are luggage labels with your name and cabin number.  These luggage labels will be used to tag your luggage.  If you don’t have your Cruise Ticket, it will take you more time to check-in and also print the pages with your luggage tags or else you will need to wait for the staff to collect luggage tags from somewhere else, label it and then tag your luggage.

Do web check-in too – it will save you some time at the boarding counter as they will already have most of your passport information.

This is the queue to check in your luggage at Harbourfront Cruise Terminal – if you are taking a taxi here, tell the driver that you are taking a cruise at Harbourfront (there is another cruise terminal at Marina South) so that he can drop you at the drop-off point nearer the check-in counters instead of at the Harbourfront Shopping Centre where you will need to walk for about 10 minutes to get here.

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You will be required to complete a public health questionnaire – this will be issued when you check-in your luggage – do not lose this questionnaire and your boarding card (the one with your queue number as shown above).

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Costa Cruise Tip 3: Download the myCosta app on your mobile phones (available from Google Play Store and iTunes App Store)

Before you go onboard Costa Victoria, make sure you download the myCosta app onto your phone.  This app will allow you to tap on the Wi-Fi network onboard Costa Victoria to text message or call other guests onboard the same ship (who also have the myCosta app downloaded onto their phones) – the best thing is this myCosta app is free to download and there are no charges when you tap onto the onboard Wi-Fi to contact your friends (who are onboard the same ship as you) using the app.  This is perfect especially if you are travelling in a big group of families/friends and you want to coordinate on schedules and meeting timings.

The text messaging function works just like Whatsapp – you can add your personal contacts (just get the user ID that your friends register with their myCosta app).  You will need to register for an account on the myCosta app – do note that you can only do so when you are connected to the onboard Wi-Fi.

You can also call the Excursion Office and Guest Services using this myCosta app if you have any questions on your cruise excursions and special requests for your room e.g. additional pillows.

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Costa Cruise Tip 4: Electrical sockets onboard Costa Victoria are Italian ones so you will need to rent an adaptor from Guest Services

Because Costa Cruises is an Italian company, the electrical sockets onboard Costa Victoria are all Italian ones – the 3 round holes in a line-type.  You can borrow an adaptor from Guest Services for free – they will charge USD 25 to your account which will be waived when you return the adaptor.  Do note that you will need to return the adaptor by 11pm the evening before you disembark at Singapore so there will be a 15-hour window where you won’t have access to electricity to charge your laptops, phones and other devices.  So bring your own adaptor and extension plugs if you need it.

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Costa Cruise Tip 5: Attend the “Important Information” Briefings at Festival Theatre

Costa Victoria conducts 2 of these briefings in various languages – once (in English) at 8.30pm after you board the ship and another time (in English) at 5pm the day before you disembark the ship.  The host will share some administrative information, the itinerary and what to expect onboard Costa Victoria and for the disembarkation brief, what time you need to leave your cabin and what to prepare for disembarkation.  It is not compulsory to attend these briefings (the emergency drill is compulsory for all guests to attend) and some of the information will be reflected in the Today daily programme.  I strongly recommend that you attend the briefings as they provide quite useful information to help you get started for the cruise and the briefings take only about 15-20 minutes.

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Costa Cruise Tip 6: Use your Costa Card for cashless payment onboard Costa Victoria

All transactions onboard Costa Victoria e.g. shopping and casino games are cashless – just hand over your Costa Card to the staff and they will charge your payments to it.  This is not exactly a tip since you don’t really have much of a choice in all you want to pay – only by Costa Card.  Anyway, the Costa Card is very useful since everything is charged in USD so you need not bring a bunch of US dollars onboard if you are settling your bill by credit card.

Do check if your cruise package that you paid for has taken into account gratuities.  There is a compulsory daily service charge (gratuities) per guest for the duration of your cruise.  If not, you should budget for the gratuities – i can’t remember the exact amount.  I think is about US$10++ per day per guest (not per cabin!).

Your Costa Card is also your form of identification when you disembark and embark at Langkawi and Phuket for your day trips – your passports will be kept by Costa Victoria.  So don’t lose your Costa Card.

In the case of emergencies onboard the cruise, you can also find the information for your Muster station (where to gather) – see picture below, in my case, it is Muster Station C.

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Costa Cruise Tip 7: Register your Credit Card with your Costa Card within the first 24 hours of embarkation

If you intend to do some shopping or gambling onboard Costa Victoria, make sure you register your credit card at one of these self-service credit card registration machines at Deck 5 and 7.  Do so within the first 24 hours of embarkation – I tried registering later than that, it won’t work and the guest services counter is often unable to help you with the registration due to “network” problems.

The reason why you need to self-register your credit card is so that you can avoid long queues on the last day of the cruise when everyone is required to settle their outstanding accounts on the Costa Card.  Even if you intend to pay by credit card, you will still have to endure long queues to settle your bill (if you had not register your credit card at the machine earlier).

If you had registered your credit card successfully within the first 24 hours, then you need not bother with the queues.  Your bill will be placed in your cabin – check that the amount reflected is correct and no further actions are required.  Your registered credit card will be billed directly by Costa Cruises.

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Costa Cruise Tip 8: Plan your day with the Costa Victoria Today Daily Programme Sheet

The Today daily programme sheet is filled with activities everyday from free and fun activities like learning dance moves from Michael Jackson impersonator to paid activities like Bingo and fitness classes.  There are also demonstrations like Tiramisu making and Vegetable Carving.  There are also discounts for watch, jewelry shopping as well as for spa treatments in the programme.  There are meal timings for each restaurant and also a synopsis of what’s performing that evening.  Lots of things to do so plan your day onboard the cruise well so you don’t miss out the fun activities – for me, I am into quizzes and I won quite a few prizes at the Costa Victoria quizzes :-p

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Costa Cruise Tip 9: Rent Board Games and Table Tennis Racquet for Free

Yup you can rent board games for free – they will charge a deposit on your Costa Card which will be waived when you return all borrowed equipment.  I think there is a charge of US$1 for the ball to play at the foosball table – i think you can play infinite number of times with that ball you paid for (I guess one since I didn’t buy/rent one and the ones who did seem to hang out at the foosball table like forever).

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Costa Cruise Tip 10: Decide on your preferred dinner timing and request for changes with the Maitre D’ if required

As explained in my post on dining onboard Costa Victoria, indicate you preferred dinner timing early with the maitre d’.  There are two sittings for dinner at Fantasia and Sinfonia Restaurant – 5.45pm and 8pm and you can only enter at the sitting timing that have beeen assigned to you.  If you have having a buffet dinner, then no need to worry about the sitting timings (as they only apply to ala carte dining).

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Costa Cruise Tip 11: Queue Early for your Tender Boat Tickets if you want to disembark early for your Phuket day trip

If you did not book a shore excursion with Costa Cruises and you want to be one of the first few to disembark for your day trip in Phuket, then you should queue up early for the tender boat ticket.  The plan was for Costa Victoria staff to start distributing tender boat tickets at Festival Theatre from 2.30pm onwards on Day 2 of the cruise.  I started queuing at 2pm and was one of the first few.  By 2.30pm when the doors open, there was already a long long queue formed.

Groups will be called in sequence by the number of their tender boat ticket to disembark the cruise ship.  Even if you start queuing at 2.30pm for your tickets, I don’t think you will disembark quite late because the schedule indicated that Groups 1, 2 (which I was in), 3, 4, 5, 6 will disembark at 8.30am (the earliest timing) and the last group (from Group 21 onwards) will disembark at 10am.

So in summary, if you want to be really the first few to disembark, then you should queue for your tender ticket 30 minutes before they start distributing.  If you are not in a rush, then just go at 2.30pm.

The journey from the cruise ship to the pier (at Kalim Beach in Phuket) takes 20 minutes and the last tender boat from shore to ship is at 6.30pm.  There will always be tender boat leaving the ship at regular timings until 5.30pm.

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Zhiqiang & Tingyi

Comments (35)

  • ProaReply

    4 January, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Thanks for Great sharing!!! This is awesome… keep up the good work guys!!

  • Exploring Langkawi Pantai Cenang with Costa Victoria Cruise – Tax-Free Shopping and Beach Walking | Singapore Travel BlogReply

    27 January, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    […] passengers can just alight at the dock without the need for tender boats so no need to make any special arrangements for the disembarkation (like queue early for tender boat tickets).  Unlike Resorts World Sentosa with its Adventure Cove Waterpark and dining experiences, there […]

  • SylviaReply

    17 December, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Many thanks! Appreciate your detailed sharing! God Bless you and family.

  • Catherine TohReply

    24 August, 2016 at 11:14 am

    I’m traveling with 2 wheelchair bound n I young man with walking disabilities. May I ask how they are transferred to the tender boats?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      24 August, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      there is a ramp to go onto the tender boat

      • Catherine TohReply

        25 October, 2016 at 11:27 am

        Cool. Thanks.

      • Catherine TohReply

        25 October, 2016 at 11:29 am

        At Phuket?
        I was told it wasn’t convenient.

        • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

          25 October, 2016 at 9:30 pm

          when i took the tender boat, there was a ramp

  • VinaReply

    2 October, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Hi, i am traveling with kids 1.5years old this dec for new year celebration. Is any fun activities and kids food onboard? Waiting for your help. Thanks so much

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      8 October, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      I am not sure about kids food. The children’s activity might be too old for a 1.5 years old – there is a kids club but more suitable for those 10 years and above

  • DianeReply

    9 October, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Much Thanks for great sharing 🙂

  • CCReply

    10 October, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Hi! Do you happen to know the rates for the wifi packages? Also, if another credit card was used to book my trip can I register another credit card to my costa card? Thanks!

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      10 October, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      i am not sure abt the wifi rates – you can check with costa customer support. You can register another credit card to your costa card.

  • RoyReply

    17 October, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Hi thanks for sharing – very much appreciated. On the 1st day, do we disembark in Singapore or do we just stay on the ship? I see some excursions being offered by Costa Cruise for Singapore?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      18 October, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      it depends on your cruise schedule. do you mean day 1 of your cruise (before even the cruise departs Singapore). If so, you are free to explore singapore until boarding time.

  • Kenneth NgReply

    17 October, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Hi there! If I do not have a credit card, will a debit card work as well??

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      18 October, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      yes

  • JohnReply

    23 October, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Hi there, may I know how to pay the service charges to the crew? As my travel agent is not paying on my behalf..

    Are there kettles provided onboard ? As I read somewhere the cruise only provides free beverages but not plain water..

    Thanks !

  • JohnReply

    23 October, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Hi there, may I know how to pay the service charges to the crew? As my travel agent is not paying on my behalf..

    Are there kettles provided onboard ? As I read somewhere the cruise only provides free beverages but not plain water..

    Thanks !

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      25 October, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      the free beverage you get is just plain water. For coke and other soft drinks, you will have to top up

      No kettle in normal cabins

  • CarmenReply

    12 November, 2016 at 1:25 am

    Hi, thank you for all the information on the cruise. As we will be going on a Costa Victoria cruise soon, all these information is really useful. 🙂
    I have a few queries about the cruise which I hope you can help me with…
    1. I read that beverages and food are not allowed to be brought on board? I’m a bit concerned about this as I’m travelling with young children. Do they provide food 24 hours a day? As for free water do they provide that in the rooms?
    2. We are thinking of moving around on our own in Phuket. How near is the boat drop off from the places of attractions eg shopping and food places?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      15 November, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      they provide food 24 hours a day but their suppers (the pizza place) can be improved a lot. Water is dispensed from dispensers on the pool deck – no drinkable water (not from tap) in room. Just bring your water and food – they dont check
      The drop-off is very far from the main shopping and food places – bargain with a tuktuk to get your family to the shopping areas. Bargain hard!

      • CarmenReply

        15 November, 2016 at 10:07 pm

        Thank you for your response 🙂

  • LimReply

    25 November, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Under that no kettle provided but is there any hot water provided from the dispenser? or we can request for it?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      27 November, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      i didnt need hot water during the cruise but i think you can request for it from your butler.

  • WenReply

    4 December, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Hello, I’m planning to go on 14 Dec,

    Can I ask do they give free wifi on board?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      4 December, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      no

  • NancyReply

    6 December, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Hi
    Thanks for the great information

    Is there anything to do or shop at the beach of stop over in Phuket if we choose not to move beyond the place?

    Heard the taxi ride to Patong is very costly

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      7 December, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      no. there is nothing much to do at the place where the tender boats will arrive. Bargain hard for a tuk-tuk to drive you into Patong

  • AmandaReply

    8 December, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Hi. When the cruise back to Singapore Harbour front at 2pm on Day 5. How long it takes to check out/ leave the cruise? I need to arrange someone to fetch me.

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      9 December, 2016 at 8:49 am

      it depends. they assign everyone a departure card that shows where you are in the queue to get off the ship so it can be very long considering that there are over 1000 guests onboard.

  • ChristinaReply

    22 December, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Hi for the tender boats to Phuket I pay USD hiw much as in cash to the Operators or charge to costa card ?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      22 December, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      you dont have to pay for tender boat to Phuket. it is included with your cruise

  • Htet Soe AungReply

    4 January, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Hi Bro,

    Can we walk from tender boat to Patong Beach ? Or do we need to call TukTuk and how much does it cost for that?

    And where tender boat apprach in Phuket?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      4 January, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      it will take you 30 to 45 minutes to walk to Patong beach from where the tender boat land – the tender boat stops at a remote part of the beach. There are a lot of tuktuk touts – be prepared to bargain hard – you may have to pay about 10 USD for a short 10 minute ride to Patong beach

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