There were seven of us total in 4 Cabins. We all had balconies on the 8Th deck and, upon boarding, I was impressed with the cabins. I felt they were a bit bigger than the standard cabins on the Cruise lines we have been on (Carnival, Holland, Royal Caribbean and Princess), although the balcony seemed smaller. Of the seven of us travelling together, my wife and I were the only ones who had cruised before and unfortunately, some of our friends probably won't cruise again even though I told them that they shouldn't let the "Costa" experience ruin it for other cruise lines. As mentioned in other reviews of Costa, the food left a lot to be desired. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. If you want beef or expect lobster one night this is not the cruise line for you as they did not serve it once in the main dining room while we were on board (although our waiter did bring me a steak one night when I asked and it was over cooked and not edible). Lots of the same pasta cooked different ways. We avoided the lido deck buffet after the first day as it was always way too crowded and we couln't find a place to sit and eat. Again, as mentioned by other reviewers, there is lots of smoking and not very many places to escape it. The overall decor of the ship was a bit much for our taste but we kept reminding ourselves that it was an Italian ship.
Our wait staff and cabin steward were excellent but the other staff was not very friendly and sometimes just rude. I asked one person where we were to exit the ship for our port of call and was told to refer to my program. When I explained that I didn't have the program they, again, told me all the info I needed was included in the program and proceeded to turn around and leave me scratching my head in confusion. I am still not sure why they couldn't just answer the question directly. We purchased the drink package and discovered that it only included one type of beer,(Carlsberg), limited wines, and only a limited number of mixed drinks. Overall, I would probably pay for it again as the water alone is worth the cost. As a side note, you cannot tip for anything on the ship - even in the spa.
We did eat at the Favoloso Restaurant one night and felt that it was not worth the 25 Euro cover charge. We were the only ones in the place the entire time (nearly 2 hours) and the food wasn't much better that what they were serving in the main dining room.
The announcements in 5 languages was a bit much but understandable, however, there were times where the announcement was only in Italian and we were left wondering if it was important or if the ship was sinking :)
We attended only one of the shows and we found it to be very typical of any of the shows we have seen on other ships. We attempted to attend the meet and greet with the Captain but he was late. It was supposed to start at 9 PM and we left at 9:30 without anyone letting the group know what was happening. Then again, we were on "Italian" time.
My wife and friends visited the pools on several occasions and always returned with stories of bizarre behavior of someone. Mostly regarding the bathing suits of some of the other patrons.
We did not take any of the ships excursions as we had private tours booked through the web.
Overall, I would not recommend Costa to any of my friends and would not cruise with them again.