As seasoned cruisers who have travelled extensively on Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean we thought we would take up the superb offer on a Costa Cruise, as an experiment and to compare the cruise lines. We were very pleasantly surprised. I was constantly on the lookout for anything negative but failed to find it.
Embarkation at Barcelona: effortless. We simply walked straight up to the desk and showed our boarding cards. Half an hour later we walked on to the ship (we were a little early but there was a cafe in the terminal) and straight to our cabin where we found all our cards and paperwork. Disembarkation was equally effortless.
The ship: excellent, equally as fine as all the other lines we have been on. Facilities were great.The décor was all music themed and this could be classed as a little eccentric in parts but none the less amusing.
The staff: excellent. They could not have been more helpful and obliging.We always find that if you smile and chat with them then you are rewarded with good service.
The entertainment: we didn't go to a show but the variety in the many bars and lounges was as we have come to expect from cruise lines, good but not exceptional.
Excursions: we didn't take any but the prices seemed to be less than on other lines. Here they could have improved if they had allowed disembarking passengers with late flights to store their luggage on the coach and access the excursion.
The food: in the dining room, 'New York, New York' food was good hotel standard and the service was good. I noticed a previous reviewer complaining about the time it took to eat a meal. I would not have expected quicker. If we went to a good restaurant where my husband had up to 5 courses, with good company and nowhere to go afterwards, I would expect a meal to take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.The shows were timed to coincide with the dining times and other entertainment options were ongoing all evening. Dinner always had several choices and several courses. Breakfast in the dining room was a buffet for cold items but the waiter would fetch items off the menu for us if asked. Again the breakfast was as good as a good quality hotel in London. The open service buffet upstairs was slightly less good than other lines we have been on but there was adequate choice and since we do not usually eat there it didn't worry us: your choice of buffet or dining room.
Children: there were a few children but not enough to be a nuisance. If children bother you then try Holland America.
Hassle: there was no hard sell of any of the things on board as with some other companies.
The Spa was wonderful and had a really good deal for a couple with unlimited access all cruise for two people for 150 Euros.
Drinks package: for 19.50 Euros a day there was unlimited drinks: soft, alcoholic, cocktails, coffees. This has to be the bargain of the holiday. Unlike others we found that not only did our waiters fill up our glasses with regularity but in the bars they remembered what we drank and were almost bringing it before we ordered, my husband's brandy and coke soon became a double to save time. They were great.
Would we go with Costa again? Absolutely, if the price was as good a bargain and the ports were to our liking then we would have no worries about travelling on a Costa ship.