We went on a 3 night cruise to Barcelona and Marseilles, France on Costa. Overall the experience was not a bad one, but certainly one that if you are not Italian or even European can be a bit of an adjustment.
The ship was well cared for and was in the Greek God/Goddess theme. What this means is that I spent several times answering questions from my little one about "what is that" when she pointed to the naked men and women (Greek figures) throughout the ship. The decor was nice, the main area was nice and the cabins were extremely spacious and well maintained.
Bingo again was the highlight activity on the ship! We played each night. The shows were pretty good. We pretty much did our own thing for the most part. The cruise ship boasted about the kids activities and we took the youngest to the kids area and many times she was the only one. Many people on the cruise opted to have their children with them. My teenager didn't find anything interesting in the teen zone as again it appeared no one really hung out.
The main reason we chose this cruise is to go to Barcelona. However, the Barcelona stop was a true disappointment. We were only in port for 5 hours and that is not enough time to spend in Barcelona. We spent an entire day in Marseilles and it was a waste. I would rather have more time in Barcelona and less time in Marseilles.
The food was typical European fare and the buffet is a free for all! There is no such thing as queing for lines so its pretty much get in where you fit in. The evening dining was nice and there was a nice selection of food each night. We had set seating so we dined with the same family each night. They had kids and so it was a nice time to catch up to hear about each others adventures during the day. We bought the drink package because it was worth the money. It averaged out to 3 drinks a day per person and we consumed more than that (non-alcoholic). We bought water from the ports and were able to carry it on with us.
The price was right for this quick 3 night cruise and it was a good introduction to Costa to decide if I wanted to cruise with them in the future. As an American on an Italian cruise ship, the hardest adjustment was the smoking throughout the ship. There were not designated areas so people pretty much smoked where they wanted. There were enough people on the ship that spoke English so we didn't fell alienated, but we were certainly the minority on this particular cruise. The people did not appear to be as friendly and sociable as other cruises but the crew was nice.
All in all, if there was more time in Barcelona this would be a definite recommend. For the cruising experience, it was not a bad experience and if asked would I use Costa again, I would say yes. At least next time I will know what to expect and can prepare accordingly!