I am retired and have so far 121 cruises on 51 different ship.
We flew into Amsterdam and arrived at the cruise terminal at noon. There were about 2000 people, in the venue with 200 seats, and people were still disembarking.When they called to start boarding at 1 p.m. utter chaos started, because the majority of the passengers were Italiens with at least 4 children each. We finally made it on board. The ship is "Costa" but not as overdecorated as the other ships. Cabin 7821 was a standard cabin with a shower, with a larger balcony than usual. First seating for dinner was at 6:45 p.m. a bit late for some. The restaurant was nicely decorated, but the waiters have to many tables compared to other cruise lines, so they are constantly running, still the service takes very long. The food was Italian, and we found it to be quite good. On the 5th day we stopped the maitre D when he passed by and told him our complaints. He had not been to our table before, after that he made it an issue to pour the water into our glasses. Since there were more than 1200 children on board, which could do whatever they wanted, the rules and regulations were not observed at all. e.g.
12 year olds were playing the machines in the casino, 4 year old naked girls were in the mens sauna, the whirlpool reserved for adults was constantly full of children, and all the people in charge or the officers looked the other way.
When we finally approached them, because the no smoking signs were not observed at all, and people smoked heavily everywhere, he said: so far nobody has complaint.
I said "am I a nobody", he shrugged and left me standing there.
The shows varied in quality, some were so bad that we left, some were ok.
BUT it seems to be an Italian custom to come 15 min. late into the show.
So everybody has to get up and there was fighting over the vacant seats.
The on board activities catered exclusively to the Italians, English was spoken by 20 % of the crew, the rest of them did not understand a word.
Tips are automatically added to your bill, drinks are relatively expensive, but still international standard.
We stopped in Cork, nice to visit Cough after you have done the Blarney stone.
Vigo is a wonderful port, lots to do, Lisbon is always one of our favorite stops. Cadiz was very nice and unfortunately we arrived in Barcelona at 8;30 and left at 1 p.m. already. Disembarcation in Savona was as it is with other cruise lines, BUT the minute you step out of the terminal, chaos starts, no order at all, and we took the Costa Bus to Milan, which was a good deal, since it took the bus 2:30 h to get there, but 1 hour to get out of the parking lot. We had too many passengers on the bus, so they had to off load 4 people.
As a resume we strongly suggest to avoid Costa during Italian vacation time.
Children travel for free and some parents in an inside cabin bring their five children.