We booked this cruise because the price during the easter holidays was very favourable. We had read the reviews online before going and were rather concerned about a few things. Overall we had a great time and would book with Costa again. Some of the things that people complained about were true. It is very much a a ship full of Italians, but then it is an Italian ship!! On the whole we didn't find this a problem...no they didn't seem to keen to say please, thank you or excuse me but otherwise they were fine. The announcements are made in a huge variety of languages and you do have to listen hard to catch the English one. The dinner sittings are allocated to you and you find out which one you have when you arrive on the ship. We were really concerned about this as we have a 7 year old child and we couldn't eat at 9.15pm. The only way you can choose your dinning time is to pay about Â£100 extra to upgrade your cabin, this is not a different cabin but rather just one with additional benefits such as room service and dinner allocation. We thought this was a bit of a swizz and just another way to get more money from you. Fortunately, we were given the earlier allocation of 6.45 ;-0 although we have heard that you can approach the Maitre'D and ask to be moved to a different time.
The staff were not as friendly an approachable as on the NCL cruise we did in January but were helpful enough.
The food was very good, plenty of selection. The dinner is a sumptuous 7 course meal which lasts about 2 hours....those with little ones remember to take a couple of things to keep them going....children were given a colouring sheet that listed their choices of food (although they could of course have the same as you) but they did not have any crayons or pencils?!
We enjoyed the entertainment but if you are on the early sitting for dinner you have to wait until 9.45 for your show to start, but as it was only about 1/2 hour long it was okay.
The ship is very well maintained, there are a horde of staff constantly keeping it clean. The decor is very glitzy with plenty of attention to detail.
We were upgraded to an outside cabin which was wonderful, much more spacious than an inside and so nice to have the wonderful views. The only quibble with our cabin is that we were right next to the stock and ice room for the stewards, who unlike NCL start work very early (sometimes 5.30 am) and we would be woken up by them as they chatted and loaded their trolleys. We did complain to the manager and there was some improvement.....if you are able to request a room away from this stock rooms.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise. We met some fabulous people and had a great time. I would book with them again but if a cruise came up on and NCL ship that was similar in price I would probably go on that instead!