Please keep in mind we went into this reasonably informed with very low expectations. I'd read a few terrible recent reviews and hadn't found one good review. I hoped the ones I found were by stuffy people with high expectations. My hopes were dashed almost immediately. I cried in Cozumel (our last port) because I didn't want to get back on this horrid boat. Even at a discount this was the most expensive cruise I've been on (including Princess, Royal Caribbean* and Disney).
Big comfortable rooms
Awesome stateroom attendant
Acrobat guys in the shows
Photo organization and help at the shop
The three waiters dance was really good one night in the dining room
The shop keepers were nice and had a good selection of necessities and souvenirs at reasonable prices.
-Have customers tip on their own- personally so your staff has some incentive to provide decent service.
E.g. The air hockey table stole 2 tokens from us and didn't work. I asked a waiter about it and he said to ask another waiter. I asked the guy after a long wait... He basically shrugged and ignored the problem. Gave up. Again.
- DO NOT RUSH US. We're on vacation.
-Hire a charismatic, entertaining cruise director. (Example: Royal Caribbean Explorer. Everyone loves that guy!)
-Not enough lounge chairs and people don't know they can take chairs with only towels on them... Don't put towels on all the chairs. It confuses people.
-The jacuzzis are almost COLD and I'm sensitive to both hot and cold water.
-There were always kids in the "adults only" area. So much for outdoor peace and quiet.
-The shows are badly done to the point of disturbing. I was embarrassed for the performers. The dancers aren't in sync. The singers are ok but don't know the words to the songs half the time. The costumes are falling apart.
-The ship is old, dusty and in need of some serious remodeling, cleaning and repair. It's very gaudy, busy and European.
-The food was wretched to the point of being inedible. The desserts were all flavorless hunks of flour. The plating was simply gross. Bowls of grey mud with a mint leaf thrown on top? Really?? Even the Tiramisu... flavorless! You have the ingredients to make amazing food ! The 'cheesecake' was yellow paste cooked without cheese! The meat was almost all cooked from frozen. The fish was old and very fishy. The other meats were all fat, gristly and over cooked/dry. After 10 days I'd say the best food we had on board was the pesto pasta and the banana ice cream. Breakfast was disgusting - milky, watery, undercooked eggs. No variety. The corned beef hash was soup. The only way I cold get anything worth eating was to bring ingredients from other areas to the omelet station and ask for no watery, flavorless oil (they makes the eggs swim in the stuff), fresh eggs and give them the ingredients I'd collected. Teach these people to make an omlette or call it a scrambled egg pancake station. And please teach them to fully cook the eggs! There was NO variety in the breakfast buffet and barely any in the lunch buffet. Use seasoning people!! Taste the food you're serving! Watch the cooking channel. Fire your dining room and cooking managers. The plates had old hard stuff on them that had been done previously and stored. The dinnerware was dirty half the time. Doesn't ICE commonly occur in Iced Tea? The coffee was horrid. Old and burnt. Even the espresso and cappuccino was only a tiny bit better (not worth the $3-4 additional charge for less than a cup for sure). The free drinks are coffee, iced tea and water. No punch or lemonade... There was juice (apple, grapefruit and orange) for breakfast. Load up for the rest of the day if you want something other than the freebies.
- The daily program. There's nothing to do on this ship if you don't dance or enjoy sales seminars. There was volleyball twice ... That's it for sports people! Go to the gym! I dance and did enjoy the variety of music. I brought home the daily programs so I'll try to post the 'highlights'. lol
- Service please? I stood at a bar with one other cruiser (who already had a drink) for 10 minutes watching the bartender walk by less than 2 feet away from me 4 times and not even acknowledge my existence. When a 12 year old walked up beside me and got served immediately ... He still acted like I was invisible... I gave up and left. That was the one and only time I tried to get drinks at a bar on the ship. Thank God really... the mixed drinks are over $9 each once the 'service charge' (lol) is added.
There were maybe 6 staff members who really seemed to be making an effort to please people. Our wonderful stateroom attendant told us he "wanted to make our cruise experience the best he possibly could" on the second day. He meant it. The entire staff should have this attitude with every cruiser.
-If there was a Christmas celebration I think I missed it.. Oh wait maybe that was one night in the dining room with loud music where the staff held sparklers. Anticlimactic to say the least.
-I'm a smoker and by the last two days of the cruise the smoke everywhere (even on all the top decks in the wind) was making me ill.
If you're dieting and want to sleep all day in a comfortable room on a ship for 10 days... Or if you've been to Italy (I'm Italian by the way) and enjoy the rude people and typical tasteless food... This ship could be perfect for you!
For the record, I'd be willing to be paid to go back on this boat and straighten it out in order of importance. Costa has the ability and resources to be an excellent European flavored cruise line with the right management.