Prior to our cruise on Costa Mediterranean we stayed in Genoa at Best Western City Hotel. It is clean, tidy and has a great breakfast plus is well situated for walking and exploring the old part of town, plus there are several restaurants close by.
We were a group of four and used "Airports Shuttle" for all our transfers from the airport plus to and from the port of Savona, they were prompt, efficient and good drivers.
Arriving at Savona port our luggage was promptly taken away as soon as we got out of our vehicle and we were given boarding cards no 11 even though I had requested wheel chair assistance in our original booking. On pointing this out to check-in staff we were put on priority 1 for embarkation. I noted that Italians and Germans seem to get preference with higher boarding numbers.
The stateroom was clean and fairly roomy, a desk and chair plus a 2 seater lounge and room under the bed for suitcases. Thank goodness we had a balcony as it was one of the few places to sit and get away from the heavy smokers.
We were informed at our welcome talk that most shore trips would not be available in English so the choice was very limited.We were also informed that Italians and Germans do not know how to queue but tend to push and shove and jumped ahead.This we were informed we should tolerate and not get upset about.Well that set the scene and true to form that is just how they behaved.
The ship is over the top in its decor, many announcements were only in Italian and the English announcements were very brief.The non smoking areas are limited and right next to smoking areas in all lounges. In fact to walk from one end of the ship to another it is necessary to walk through the smoking areas. Thank goodness we had a balcony that jutted out and was the first in the row so that no smoke blew onto us from other smokers on their balconies. This was my escape during the cruise.
The main dining has set meal times and the seating is allocated. On the booking form it says 7pm or 9pm. We chose 7 pm only to discover on board it was actually 6pm and 8.30pm. The food was average and over cooked at times. Our 2 waiters were exceptional and our dinner companions made up for what was lacking in the food we were served.At least dining is smoke free.
The self service alternative was just that long queues, cafeteria style cooking, plastic kids type plates and bowls. Plus then the hassle of trying to find a seat and get a drinks waiter.
We purchased an all inclusive drinks package, thank goodness, as drinks and even water were very expensive. It included a basic white or red wine, beer, water and basic spirits or cocktails. No bottled wines, better quality beers or top label spirits were included, that was all extra..
I did not join in the deck activities as there were too many smokers in that area.
Our cabin staff were excellent, friendly, helpful and always smiling. The majority of the bar staff, junior waiters, cabin crew and deck staff were very keen to help. Although several wait staff confided they would not be renewing their contracts.These staff are the best thing Costa have going for them and perhaps Costa should improve their pay and conditions and look at why they are leaving.As for the senior officers they were hard to find unless there was a photo opportunity.
Evening entertainment in the main show room was very good some nights and mediocre other nights. At lease there is no smoking in the show room. There is no cinema on the ship, this was surprising considering the size. The alternatives at night for entertainment are the smoke filled Casino, or the smoke filled bars to listen to music or dance.
Most shore tours were not available in English. We were only informed about this once on board,nowhere in their literature does Costa suggest this fact or state that they cater for mostly Italians and Germans. English speaking guest were just tagged on a tour that was short on numbers so that the bus was full. We along with some friends joined a French tour by choice and even though the guide spoke fluent English no announcements or any information were given in English over the PA, we had to ask occasionally what was happening. Thank goodness I had organised many shore trips privately. I do believe private shore trips offer a much better option. You get to see more in the time and can choose to spend as much or as little time at any one place.
Disembarking was quick, thanks to Adam's help on the day as we had a plane to catch in Genoa and private transfer arranged.
Would I go on another Costa cruise NO definitely not, we chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Costa do not cater at all for English speaking guests and there are no areas dedicated to non smokers that are truly smoke free.