The boarding was a little shambolic especially when the baggage scanner packed in and they tried pushing all luggage through the hand baggage X-ray, total chaos ensued. Eventually got through this one and bussed to another queue in a ship side marque that turned out to be for the pre-boarding snap, not a happy picture! Glad to say it all improved from then onwards. This was our second Costa cruise, the first was on the Favalosa, the Mediterranea is a slightly older ship, but equally as impressive. Cabin (inside) was spacious, clean and well maintained. An issue with the beds was quickly resolved.
If you like a couple of drinks during the day and wine at dinner I would always recommend the package
My only small criticism of the Costa experience would be the evening dining; unlike some other cruise lines it is not the occasion it could be. The food it of a good quality it's just they serve it so fast, as soon as one you finishes a course the next is served meaning some were almost on their sweets whilst others were 3 courses back. The wine bottle is no longer left on the table prompting regular reminders to the waiter.
We wanted to travel independently so researched all the bus and train options which were thwarted when no bus tickets were available at any of the news kiosks. We took a local cab into Athens (20€) and negotiated a pick up with the driver, who proved totally reliable. Another stroke of luck was the fact it was a public holiday and a large march planned in Athens, with many roads closed. Quite surreal driving into Athens on an almost empty motorway. Additionally, entry to the Acropolis and the museum was free for this day.
Came off the ship and straight onto the local city hopper (10€) that operates in the port terminal car park. You see most of the city and can walk back along the seafront pedestrian areas.
Only in the port a short time so took the tender and walked around the Main Street. There were 4 ships in that day so plenty of people adding to the atmosphere. Some interesting shops and lovely waterside restaurants to while away the time. The duty free shop on the way back to the tenders was one of the cheapest we found.
Much has already been written about this port and Rome itself, but here are my tips:
1. After taking the free port shuttle, turn right ont of the gate and walk 400m to the railway station
2. Don't join the queues for the ticket booths, but go to the speedy ticket machine (10€) return, takes around 35 - 40 minutes
3. Get off the train at the Vatican station, St Peter, it will save a further 15-20min travelling into Rome Termini
Costa is very efficient at arranging tender transfers. The lift is really the only way to reach the town, we came down on foot but a would not recommend it unless your pretty fit, the path is slippery at all times, particularly where the donkeys are tethered. Walking around the town is enjoyable but can be crowded when there are a number of ships in.