Have just returned today from a 2 week Indian Ocean cruise on Costa Allegra, it was the 1st time with them but cruise no 28 for us. We have mixed feelings, the food was very good indeed and the itinerary interesting, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles and 3 stops in Madagascar, however smoking is allowed in the ship in the bars but not restaurants, and it made parts of the ship smell like stale ashtrays. Smoking was meant to be only on one side of the outside decks but was regularily flouted by the french guests and nothing was said so it was difficult to escape from the smokers.
In light of the the tragic sinking of the Concordia, we have to say that the initial evacuation drill on the Allegra was poorly organised and we saw passengers around the ship who didnt bother to attend. We had been given 2 red drill cards which were meant to have been taken from us and recorded our attendance, however we still have them and there was no roll call so no way our attendance could be confirmed. we offered them to a crew member at the time but they didnt want to do anything with them. On the 2nd drill which took place later on in the cruise we still were not asked for the cards, and we had by that time reported to the staff that we still had our 2 drill cards but no action was taken.
The excursions were very expensive for what they were, so we only took one and were very disappointed, basically a coach ride through the countryside to a dilapidated fort, a stop at a hotel for an hour for some tropical fruits and a drink, a swim in the pool and then back to the ship.
The cabin which was an inside was spacious, clean and comfortable but the sound proofing was terrible so you could easily hear the TV and talking through the walls, and it was therefore noisy at night. most of the staff were excellent but the Italian reception staff and in particular the men were rude and quite arrogant, it took 5 visits and one week to get the safe in our room to work and all it needed was a new battery.
The evening entertainment was ok, we appreciate that with 7 different languages it is difficult, however during the day there was not much to do if you werent taking a tour.The gym was well equipped and there was a spa and beauty area but we didnt use these so cannot comment. The use of hosts of differing nationalities was a very good idea, the english host was most helpful and ran some really entertaining afternoon quizzes, so you got to know fellow passengers quickly.
We met some lovely people and our table waiters and cabin steward were excellent, the Maitre d and his assistants were always visible in the buffet and restaurant, checking that everything was being done correctly, presentation of the food was good and we liked the use of proper linen napkins in the buffet rather than the paper ones.
We felt the drinks were quite pricey and the 15% service charge we feel is just another thing to make more money, the daily gratuity at 6 euros a day is a lot less than other ships but we would prefer this to be included.
Would we go again, possibly yes but it would be the intinerary that would be the important factor for us, one change we definitely would want to see though would be to stop smoking inside the ship and to ensure stricter control of the areas where smoking was allowed.