First, if you are American and prefer to sail largely with other Americans you need not read further. We may have been the only Americans aboard the Luminosa on our journey and found the experience rewarding and exciting, albeit with a few glitches.
Embarkation in Barcelona was a breeze. The entire process took about ten minutes. Costa leaves the rooms open with your key card on the bed so you simply make way to your room and find the room keys inside. You will need to "activate" your key by assigning a credit-card to it within 48 hours but this is quite easy at one of the automated stations on board. Part of the reason for the ease of embarkation was that this ship loads and unloads passengers at three different ports, with Savona being the lead port. Barcelona, in contrast, had relatively few cruisers beginning their journey.
Food on board was pretty much standard cruise-line food. As I am not really a foodie I will not comment on the gourmet qualities, or lack thereof, but my wife and I found the food more then adequate. Cruisers who elect to have breakfast in the dining room should be aware that although there is largely a buffet style, you can order off a menu if you make a point of it.
In Palma, it was possible to walk to the end of the pier in about 10 to 15 minutes and from there catch a bus or taxi. The ship offered a 9 Euro round trip transport from the pier to the heart of town- a distance of about 1.5 miles. It is somewhat annoying to find out that you are, indeed, so far from the town that transportation must be arranged.
We took a taxi to the Miro museum and then a public bus (1.5 Euros) to the heart of town. Miro loved Palma and spent the later part of his life at his hill-top workshop and you will see why if you visit.
Here you simply walk off the ship to the heart of town. Be sure to see the Napolean monument.
Increasing popular it seems so a new cruise port was built- and its about 5 miles from town and totally un-walkable. You can count on spending the 9 euros for the round-trip bus for sure.
Yes! Just a few hundred yards from the heart of town, and a long day for Costa cruises since the bulk of the passengers boarded here. The town can easily be explored on foot and its proximity to the ship allowed us to enjoy lunch on board before heading back out.
Getting out, though, was quite a task as the inbound luggage-carrying group were required to use the same ship entrances as the smaller group trying to get off. We were told by a Costa employee to use our elbows to shove our way through- an Italian custom?
We could not take any tours as two of the three we requested were cancelled due to lack of English-speaking guests. The third, a trip from Savona to Monte Carlo was cancelled, we were told, due to lack of time to make the journey. Why list it then?
Frankly there was not all that much to do on board but the port-intensive schedule meant there was not really all that much need. No shipboard art auctions, no lectures on shore activities. The evening entertainment- mostly dancing and singing to accommodate the variety of on-board languages, was
more then adequate. We attended every night.
In Barcelona, we pretty much had to figure this one out on our own. We have cruised many times before so we knew the drill, but finding our way off was a bit of a challenge as we never really received any specific information. In the end though we were in our Barcelona Hotel within one hour of the ship's arrival and really can't complain about that.
The Luminosa was launched in 2009 and its still quite new. The best feature is that the main pool area has a movable roof that makes for year-round, climate-proof availability.