This was our 24th Costa cruise & unfortunately may be our last.
As one other passenger noted, we were confirmed for 1st dining along with another couple although we had all booked "classic" balcony category. This confirmed 1st seating assignment required pre-scanning forms to Costa Special Services along with a physician's letter. As we are already Costa Gold Pearl Club members, it made no sense to pay more for "premium" cabin category. We do not use room service.
Upon arrival, we were assigned early seating & our friends were assigned a different table. No amount of reasoning got through to the arrogant Maitre'd. Not a good way to begin a cruise. Dining was resolved by a more understanding Maitre'd at dinner that evening.
Costa is not the same cruise line it once was. The evening buffet was removed 2 years ago in favor of a 4 p.m. "tea-time" obviously preferred by the majority of Europeans on board. Many Americans find it unacceptable, especially those who may have young children & do not wish to take them into a more formal dining room. Complaining starts from day one. The only food available, if you do not wish to dress for the dining room (6:15 or 8:45), is pizza, very good when ordered from late evening menu & mediocre throughout the rest of the day. We prefer to eat lunch in the buffet area but Costa ships seem to have inadequate seating. We have been on new Carnival ships (as recently as 2013) that accommodate 4,000 plus passengers at lunch easily because of the unique design of several buffet dining areas.
We enjoy nightly dancing making Costa a favorite cruise line. The ballroom floor is excellent, the continuous music 5:30-1:30 a.m. is primarily Latin. You may run into a problem if there is a large (200+ group) of semi-professional or amateur dancers onboard who lack dance floor etiquette. Luminosa's alternative primarily jazz band lounge did little to attract passengers or dancers..
Many announcements including the important Life Boat drill along with nightly games are in foreign languages to be expected on a European cruise line. We did not find this unusual or annoying. In fact, the best part of Costa cruising is meeting new people from many different countries.
As for Max, Luminosa's present cruise director, we have met him on several Costa cruises & always enjoyed speaking with him. During Luminosa's December cruise, Max was rarely to be found except on stage for his specific announcements. As stated by another critic, on most ships you find yourself tripping over the ship's cruise director walking from place to place. Not so on Luminosa.
Our cabin was spacious, always clean & our Costa room stewards have been attentive at all times on every Costa cruise. As Italian-Americans, we understand the "Italian way" of presenting yourself to the front desk in a courteous manner. Anything other than that will get you nowhere. As for passengers' rudeness, this is true to a certain degree. You find yourself in a front desk line & another passenger will walk past a number of others to go to the desk. You need to speak up for yourself in a polite way & usually, no matter what language, the rude passenger will get your point.
We enjoyed the time with our friends, made new friends & love cruising & getting away from our cold New England weather. As to which cruise line we'll choose for next time, it's up in the air. If you decide to choose Costa, remember that it is an Italian cruise line with a very small percentage of American passengers. This means you will hear a very small percentage of English spoken around you by other passengers; it means smoking in public areas & those "crazy Italian games" taking up the ballroom part of every night. It means excellent Italian pasta, olive oil, sandwich meats & cheeses but mediocre American food. Choose your food carefully, ask the Maitre'd for a special request, & most important, remember to investigate which cruise line you will be on....don't let price be the deciding factor! On Costa, resolve yourself to being Italian, German, French or Spanish for 10 days!