We have cruised with other lines prior to booking this cruise as a retirement holiday and so when I read the reviews, I was still optimistic about our holiday. How wrong I was to ignore what other people where saying.
On the first night of our cruise I wanted to come home. We were told that the self service restaurant was open, and so we made our way just to get a drink after a long flight from London. I filled a glass with water and found that it was tainted with oil, this was quite clearly floating on the top of the water. I informed a staff member who merely shrugged his shoulders, took the glass off me and walked away. So to the food counter, limited choice, but what was on offer was in edible. The food tasted awful. We all eventually christened this restaurant as the soup kitchen.
We went back to our cabin, which I can only describe as looking like a shipping container with some cheap looking wooden furniture in it. The picture behind the bed was a piece of rug cut into a rectangular shape. Unfortunately we had forgot our key and had to go to customer services desk to get back in. Bearing in mind that it was almost 3 am, and we were tired. The staff took it upon themselves to completely ignore us for several minutes while they had a chat and played on their computers. I don"t think I have ever been great so rudely.
The cruise in general was poor, everything was geared up for the Italian and German guests, so all the announcements came in several languages before they got to English. That I didn't mind. The mainly Phillipine staff were wonderful, as they normally are. They tried there best throughout. But I was a little worried about the Italian crew members who were rather aloof and arrogant.
Everything on board was very expensive, and I wondered whether Costa had increased their bar prices as there were only 600 passengers, one night at dinner the waiter gave me a menu with cheaper drink prices on.
Now to something a little worrying. We were buying drinks throughout the cruise and we noticed on several occasions that the cocktails we purchased were a little weak tasting, and each time we complained about this the waiter would put extra alcohol in the glass. However, one night we ordered two drinks and I stood and watched the barman putting one measure of spirits between the 2 glasses. He denied he had done this when challenged. But when you are paying Â£6 per glass you expect a full measure.
Smoking on board is an issue. The main bar had a smoking area which was occupied by the crew smoking and this was round one of the main entrances, so you had to walk through a cloud of smoke each time you went in.
Food standards throughout the cruise never improved, if they put frozen slice beef on the menu once, it must have been on 12 times in 18 days. The chefs never seemed to make any effort and if I had been employed in the kitchen I would have been embarrassed at the food they turned out.
So, all in all I would never book another Costa cruise neither would I recommend anyone else do the same. I wonder sometimes what direction the company is heading in, as I can only see them going downwards. Nothing improved from day 1 to day 18 no matter how many complaints were made.