My husband and I purchased the 10-day Caribbean Christmas cruise, embarking from the Miami Port on Dec 17th, returning on Dec 27th. Was the ship beautiful? Of course! Did we like our suite, butler & cleaning service? Absolutely! (Great job Dave & Jeyson!) What we didn't care for was the cuisine and the company we were in. I am not speaking of the staff.....all of Costa's crew was well-trained (to the best of their language ability). Oh speaking of language....you better check your "ability to be patient" at the door, because all PA announcements (as well as Theater greetings and salutations) were given in at least 6 languages......Whoa!! Way too much information and PA noise!!
So, if you are an American cruising on an Italian ship-line, (even when it's sailing in what we consider to be primarily an American market....the Caribbean) ......be prepared.....this cruise line caters 100% to the Italians and it's neighboring countries in all amenities and aspects of the ship. This is what you can expect when cruising with a European cruise-line (or at least with Costa).
Oh....did I mention smoking is permitted "inside" the ship in public spaces? It was like we were in a time warp.....For a smoker (regardless of culture) I know this would be music to your ears....(I know, I used to be one).....but, we are both non-smokers and didn't enjoy slicing through the billowing clouds of cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke as we walked from one venue to the next.
We met perhaps 2 other American couples saying this was their first and no doubt their last to cruise with Costa. Their comments were identical to ours....."where is the food" "Why did they close the buffet on Lido deck so early?" "Why are there so few carving stations"?, and why are they so stingy with the 110 volt outlets? (and we were in a Grand Veranda!!) More about their food. Tiny little flaky tasteless pastries as far as the eye can see, and the only thing differentiating one from the next was the shape, and icing design. (They need to sample our Cinnabons in America, huh?)
One morning we ordered breakfast in our room, asked for white and wheat toast.....we got white and wheat dinner rolls
Last and certainly not least.......I am proud to say as an American.....one of the very first things that was so glaringly obvious to us was the following: Americans are by far and away the friendliest, most considerate, empathetic and passionate people walking this planet. The general interaction with Italians in the food lines or at an elevator bank or at a busy bar or around a crowded pool deck, was the feeling of being rushed, pushed, shoved, hurried and simply disrespected. Their lack of concern for others was so obvious. One morning during the peak breakfast hour I stood in a fairly long line to fill my coffee mug, and when I finally reached the front of the line, a young woman "speaking Italian fluently", rushed up to the front of the line with her cup leading the way to the coffee spout. I politely asked her to step aside, that I had been in line waiting long before her.....she glared at me like I was being rude for speaking my mind. She was speechless. (I have to admit, I was enjoying the moment somewhat).
So, if you are a world-traveler, and understand the Italian way of life, and are hoping to lose a few pounds on your cruise, sail with Costa!! We'll be shopping American cruise lines only from here on out!