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Costa Magica Cruise Review

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Costa Magica shuttle bus

ABOVE: Costa Magica passengers board a shuttle bus at Valencia's cruise terminal.

Shore excursions

Guided shore excursions are a staple of port-intensive cruises, for several reasons:

  • Passengers who shop by cruise itinerary are interested in destinations, not just in being on a cruise (see our "Tour Europe by Ship" article);

  •  Port calls are relatively short (typically no longer than eight hours), so touring by bus can be an efficient way to visit sights beyond the city center;

  • Passengers who book shore excursions needn't keep an eye on the clock or worry about transportation, since the cruise line is responsible for getting them back to the ship in time for departure.

On our Costa Magica Western Mediterranean cruise, shore excursions were less popular than on some itineraries, because all of the ports were interesting cities that could be explored on foot.

CapriStill, a few excursions attracted passengers who wanted to go farther afield: Pompeii and Capri were popular outings from Naples, for example, and Savona was a staging point for half- or full-day trips to Genoa, Nice, and Monaco. Rail and art enthusiasts could book tours from Valencia to Madrid (home of the Prado and other famous art museums) with transportation by high-speed train.

Because Costa serves a multinational audience, shore-trippers are normally assigned to buses by language. A bus to a less popular destination might have speakers of several different languages on board. (Our tablemates reported that one of their excursions had a guide who spoke both English and German.)

Shuttle buses

Costa Magica shuttle-bus ticketIn ports that are isolated from the city center, Costa normally provides optional shuttle buses. Ticket prices are fairly modest (six or seven euros roundtrip during our cruise), with buses running almost continuously at busy periods and at 30-minute intervals during the day.

We took shuttle buses in Valencia and Marseille. The rides into Valencia and back went smoothly, but Marseille's bus trips were more chaotic: Nearly everyone went into Marseille at the same time (probably because the ship arrived after midday), and it took nearly 45 minutes of waiting in line to board a shuttle bus on the return trip. Still, the passengers were good-natured, and everyone got into the city and back to the ship in time for departure.

Next page: Is a Costa cruise right for you?

Costa Magica cruise review
Costa Magica: the ship
Staterooms, suites
Dining, bars
Children's activities
Other amenities
Crew, service
Shore excursions, shuttle buses
Is a Costa cruise right for you?

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