This review is long overdue as we travelled in October, but here goes anyway. Hope someone finds it useful.
I travelled in October half term with my mother and two children aged 9 and 6. After a somewhat traumatic start (9 hours in Venice port, 7 of which spent standing in queues for food not knowing where we would sleep that night) we eventually boarded the ship at 1am - about 8 hours later than planned.
We booked two interconnecting interior twin cabins and they were lovely - much bigger than expected and our luggage was waiting for us. Beds comfortable and good facilities in room.
Enjoyed breakfasts and lunch in the buffet. Maybe not the best buffet I have ever seen, but certainly plenty of choice and enough to keep us all happy. We ate at early sitting in the dining room and the staff could not have been more attentive. After the first night, a bottle of wine and two bottles of water were waiting for us every night. It was my daughter's 9th birthday while we were on board, we had pre-ordered a cake which arrived as planned and was delicious with the waiters making a real fuss of her.
There was always a great choice for dinner. My 5 year old son lived on fish fingers for a week but the waiters were great at bringing him things we spotted on the adults menu he would eat (corn on the cob etc.) He fell asleep during dinner on the last night and when he woke up they had saved a desert for him.
I was amazed by how much 'entertainment' took place in the dining room. Almost every night something was happening - waiters singing, dancing, conga around the dining room. I accept, not everyone's idea of a good time but as a family we loved it and there was a real party atmosphere.
The entertainment team, singers, dancers and so on were great and really got to know the children. Shows we went to were great, especially the one with the staff.
Great facilities and a vast range of activities in the Squok Club. My children only went a few times (such as when the chefs ran a cake decorating session) as they were the only English children on board although they did make a friend each who spoke English. That said, it wasn't a problem and they found plenty to keep them occupied. There is a great games arcade and plenty of things like table tennis.
Lovely pools, although too cold on some days. The only warm pool was the adults only. We hadn't realised it was just for adults and it was the only pool warm enough for my son to venture into so it was a shame when they were asked to get out, particularly as there was no-one else swimming.
All inclusive drinks
This was fantastic value and we would highly recommend it. Prosecco, bottles of wine at dinner and cocktails all included.
This had to be the highlight for my children. We didn't realise the chocolate fountain would be included in the all inclusive package so this was an added bonus and made us regular visitors. The bar staff in there were the best I have ever come across. So friendly, got to know us all by name and really made our holiday.
We went on holiday to relax and enjoy being on the ship. We hadn't planned any excursions and just stayed on the ship. Due to embarkation delays we stopped briefly at Bari to drop off and pick up passengers and missed Katakolon completely. We were OK with this but I can understand others were disappointed.
I was concerned about this before we went as I hate smoke but it really wasn't a problem at all. There are areas for smokers but they are easy to avoid if you want to.
If you go on a Costa cruise then you know English is not going to be the first language. The staff all speak English but yes, you have to wait a while for on board announcements to get to English. This didn't bother us.
All In all we had a great time and I would travel again on this ship without hesitation (though maybe not from Venice!).