We travelled as a family of 6, my parents, my husband and I and our 2 children aged 8 & 3.
We arrived into Barcelona airport on an early flight, and took a pre-booked transfer to the port with resorthoppa. Well worth the money as it was only 53€, where as two cabs would have set us back near on 70€. Arrived at the port (terminal D) around 10:30, where our luggage was taken from us by Costa crew and we were able to check-in at the desk straight away. This meant that we could go off for the day and then come straight back to the boat and board later that afternoon, fantastic! We hopped on the local authority provided shuttle bus (just to the right of the terminal), 3€pp round trip, which drops you at the foot of the Ramblas, perfect. It runs every 20mins or so and is much cheaper than the Costa shuttle bus at 9.75€ per person. When we returned at 4pm we got straight onto the ship, our pictures were taken for our Costa Cards and we were told where to find our cabin and instructed to take part in the emergency drill at 5pm (they will come and find you if you miss it!).
Our cabin, a Balcony, was great. Clean, comfy big bed, sofa bed for the little one and a wall bunk bed for the eldest, she was more than happy. There was also enough room in the wardrobe (there are 3) to store the pram. Only down fall was that it was above the Starlight Theatre, which could be very noisy from 5pm when they started to practice that evenings shows. I would imagine that it would also be noisy at night during the show, but we were always watching it, so never bothered us! Shows end by 10:15/30.
We found the food to be good and varied. We always tried to eat our breakfast in the New York restaurant, as it is waiter service and we found the La Palomera buffet to be some what chaotic! Pancakes, poached eggs and smoked haddock and salmon, yummy! Lunch, when we were on board, we ate from the Grill by the lido pool or had pasta from La Palomera, once again a tad chaotic but good. My mother is a slightly picky eater, so dinner in New York (or My Way depending on what one you are assigned), which is a 5 course dinner and very Mediterranean style food, was sometimes a little too "exotic" for her tastes, but we loved it. Carpacchios, soups, salads, pasta, risotto, roast leg of lamb, monkfish....I found them all delicious. Our evening waiter was BRILLIANT. He learnt our kids names off by heart, kept them entertained with games and riddles and made them different serviette animals every day. He remembered our drink choices and I NEVER had to ask for more wine or water as he constantly topped it up, BRILLIANT.
Entertainment (cough) in the theatre, was OK. The shows, IMO were dated, lots of out of time dancing and ballad/duets, but the kids really enjoyed them. The magic show with Connie Boyd made a nice change, shame it was so dated. The Circus show was good, very impressive. Again, the KIDS loved it, so we were happy. The guys that sing the music in the chocolate bar were great and the Brazilian guy in the main lobby had a lovely voice, same songs night after night though......
Kids went to the Squock club, eldest loved it, little one not so much. You can leave your kids in the club and go off boat, but remember to book them in for lunch before 10am, otherwise they won't get a place.
Pools were heated, but not the tiny (and I mean tiny) kids pool on the upper deck. No under 16's in the Jacuzzi's, pool guard kept on top of this in the lido pool, but not the others, and yes I'm sorry to say our kids did use the adult pool, but it was empty and they were nearly drowned by the big kids bombing in the other pools!!
The bars are SOOOOOOOOOOO busy at night, sometimes it's difficult to get a table, but when people clear out for the 9pm dinner sitting, it eases up slightly. If you can find one, sit at a table, the waiters prefer to take your orders than serve you at the bar. Take my advice, get the AI drinks package, well worth it. We had cocktails, wine and GnT's and the kids loved the non-alcho ones.
Disembarkation was fine, put your luggage outside your cabin before 1am on the day of departure and they will take it for you (remember to keep a small bag for clothes and toiletries!). You have to leave the cabin by 8:30 then be in the theatre by 9am. Last disembarkation time was 9:15, we were off the boat by 9:45 and in a cab by 10.
Would I travel with Costa again, yes for the right price and always with an open mind. It was a winter cruise, so the retractable roofs were kept closed meaning that the noise level in the lido deck could be astonishing. Again, it was winter, it's going to be busy when people can't sit outside.