1.I realize that these large ships have a difficult time logistically in loading all the passengers, however it took a very long time and this was probably exacerbated by the fact they arrived at the terminal about two hours late.
2. Our cabin was not very clean, in fact my wife had to clean up the bathroom before we wanted to use it. Also there was a large black, greasy stain in the middle of the floor and no apparent attempt had been made to remove it.
3. The balcony area was very dirty and obviously had not been cleaned for some time - they swabbed it down on Sunday, the day before we disembarked. The coffee table on the balcony was scratched, dented, marred by cigarette burns and was something I wouldn't even consider having in my back yard.
4. Cleaning of the cabin during the week was cursory at best - we had spilled a few drops of wine on the coffee table in the cabin the first day and they were still there when we left a week later.
5. The ship was unkempt generally - it has a very garish decor however that doesn't mask the lack of maintenance that exists.
6. We were shocked at the demeanour of the crew - surly would be the best way to describe them. I guess we have been spoiled by the up-beat attitude displayed on the Princess and Holland America ships we have been on. This was definitely not a happy group!!
7. The food in the Buffet was sub-standard and service non-existent. If you wanted a knife and fork you had to go look for them - if you asked an employee for something they either ignored you or just waved a hand in the general direction where you should go to find what you wanted.
8. The restaurant dining was so-so and there is no option because there is no dinner buffet available on Costa ships as there is on Princess and Holland America ships. They had us scheduled for the late dinner sitting even though we had requested the early sitting. We did get it changed without too much difficulty.
9. When I checked my bill a couple days in, I was surprised to see a "Hotel Service Charge" for 21 euros. I went to the Service Counter and was informed that it was a standard charge by Costa for cleaning the room - refer to 2 & 4. Needless to say I was more than a little miffed and perhaps I missed that in the fine print. They may not comment on it to you as it is a pretty insignificant amount in the big picture and I am sure Costa counts on that! I think it is called "two-bitting" your customer - perhaps it has been introduced to help pay for their increased insurance premiums!!
10. Very little english is provided on loud speaker announcements, however I was constantly amazed at the command of several languages by a number of their people who were at the customer service counter and excursion desks. They should be commended for that as it is not easy to accommodate Italian, French, German & English along with an assortment of other languages.
11. If you didn't take an excursion then there was absolutely no information available as to other ways to see any particular port. I will give you one example: We didn't stop in Santorini due to weather issues and instead were diverted to Athens. As a result individuals like myself who do a fair bit of pre-cruise research had absolutely no info on transportation availability at the port. The ship hobbled together a couple expensive excursions at the last minute with nominal information. When I asked at the excursion desk what was available at the port, i.e. taxis, buses, etc. I was told that I would have to just get off the ship and see for myself. As it was, we did get off the ship with hundreds of others and found our way to a "Tour Bus" station about a mile from the ship - what a great service - $22. each for a tour of the Acropolis area and downtown Athens, plus $12. each if you wanted to tour the Acropolis. I know that cruise ships want to peddle their excursions, however in this case it would certainly have been a good marketing ploy by Costa to help people see something that was not on the itinerary.
12. I wish to provide a positive! We really enjoyed the evening shows - they were professionally done and the presenters were highly skilled.
One other thing that was both amusing and yet disturbing. One day at lunch in the dining room we were seated with a couple from Germany and a couple from South Africa. The German couple ordered wine, she - red, he - white. When the wine came the German gentlemen tasted his wine and grimaced a bit - he then tasted it again and announced in german that it was definitely not the wine he had ordered. After some time and a couple more sips the waiter appeared at the table obviously realizing he had made a mistake, whereupon he picked up a glass of white wine from in front of a chinese gentleman a couple tables over and proceeded to exchange the glasses. I thought the german gentleman was going to have an apoplectic fit!! The chinese gentleman just sat there staring at the glass, perhaps thinking this was an European custom! After a certain amount of arm waving, etc. the waiter provided each person with a new glass of wine(we assume no one had previously drank out of those glasses)
Needless to say, this was obviously not a highlight of our overall European trip and was very disappointing. We had planned it so that we would end up our trip on a luxurious cruise ship sailing the Greek Isles and not only did we miss the most important Island, Santorini, the experience did not meet the "luxurious" rating we had expected.