2009-02-09

The doghouse: Costa Cruises

We haven't been on a cruise yet, but we were excited about the idea, so we booked a Caribbean cruise through Costa. We were supposed to go on the Costa Fortuna which, among other things, features an "Internet Point".

Our recent traveling experience is that internet access is by now available everywhere. Literally wherever we went in the United States - from cities to rural areas to remote deserts - we could always plug in our laptops. We expected that the same would be available on the ship. After all, who do cruises cater to, if not people who have the means to afford them, and who have careers that require them to stay in touch? So if there is an Internet Point, it should be possible to plug in our laptop and take care of business. Right?

Wrong. As we found out only after we already paid in full, not only does the Costa Fortuna's Internet Point not allow you to plug in your laptop; you have to use their public computers, the access is painfully slow, and costs 50 cents per minute to use.

Since we have to get online for several hours every day to take care of busines, this is entirely unacceptable. We simply cannot enter our work passwords on a public machine. And even if we could connect our laptops, the frustration of trying to get things done over a painfully slow link would dominate our experience, while the 50 cents per minute would overwhelm the cost of our trip.

Since no one informed us of this "tiny little catch", we had to cancel our trip, and did so immediately upon verifying this. We received back part of our payment, but Costa declined to refund us the full amount, despite our formal complaint. They kept a $500 penalty and sent a letter saying, basically, screw us for believing their hype, thinking there's actual internet access on board the ship. (In much nicer words.)

I guess we won't be traveling with Costa.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, what do you know, your "doghouse" will be "our house" for 17 days next month. Your post is precious, as I was planning to take the laptop and communicate etc. Now, I will not.

This is the second time reading your blog paid off for us - (we took your advice on the choice of Las Vegas shows a couple of years back). Too bad,however, our path will not cross on the Fortuna, this time. (I would bother you, briefly, with an encouragement to expand and formalize your thoughts on stimulus bill, the origin of present crisis, etc.)

Thanks again for your post

E Cucek