That is my biggest bit of advice to anyone considering a Costa Cruise......spend a bit more money on another cruise line and get better value for money. What was wrong with this cruise - I think it is quicker to say what was right with this cruise!!!! I'll start with the positive...the ship itself was great, the cabin great and the cabin steward great and that is where the greatness stops.
From the moment we arrived at the cruise terminal in Venice the chaos started - embarkation took 3 hours!!!!! I would have thought from the number of reviews regarding Costa's embarkation process they would have sorted it by the time we cruised - obviously they do not read these reviews. So after 3 hours of sitting and waiting in the cruise terminal we finally boarded the boat, with no room key or room information - we entered onto Deck 3 and had no idea what to do or where to go. It was up to you to figure out what deck your cabin was on and where to find your cabin. Chaos reigned once again on Deck 3 as people congregated trying to figure out how to find their cabin. From here on in things just got worse - the service was shocking, the food was shocking, the crew were shocking (from the waiters, bartenders, shore excursion desk and information desk - the only person who understood what service was and knew how to smile was our cabin steward.) I did not have high expectations for this cruise due to the reviews I had read previously but unfortunately this was the only cruise available in the time frame we had. It didn't bother me that English was the 5th and last language on the boat, or that all entertainment was in Italian what bothered me was the lack of service at the restaurants and bars. Not once did a bartender/waiter approach us to ask if we wanted a drink - every time we were in a bar we had to approach one ourselves and then you felt like you were interfering with their routine. When at the bar itself you quickly learnt to be pushy and forward because if you waited for someone to notice you, you would have waited hours for a drink - the Europeans and the rudest people I have ever met - they don't understand the meaning of waiting for their turn to be served they just push in front and order over the top of you. The food was repetitive with what looked like left over buffet lunch dished up at the buffet dinner - with maybe a bit of leftover breakfast sausage added to it. We had an all inclusive drinks package and couldn't have the drink of our choice in the restaurant at dinner - wine or beer only, which contradicts what their advertising said about the package. After the second night they had no 7up available at dinner so in the end I would preorder 2-3 drinks and take them to dinner with me. When you order your coke or 7up you get 1/2 a can in a small glass - when we asked for a large glass to make use of the full can we were told the large glasses were for beer only.....so half the time you got a coke or 7up it was flat as the can has sat opened for god knows how long. The orange juice at breakfast on the first morning was really nice - everyday after that it was watered down so much it had no taste, the scrambled eggs at breakfast had no taste they were watered down so much and the custard dessert in the restaurant tasted just like the scrambled eggs. There were far too many passengers (3500+) for the size of the ship and not enough crew. The queues at lunch and breakfast were horrendous and when you finally had your food there were no seats available to sit anywhere and eat it. By the time you found somewhere to sit your food was cold. One day we queued for 40 mins to get lunch. We spoke to many people on board this cruise who said it was the worst cruise they had ever experienced and those that were cruising for the first time were put off for life. One more thing that was annoying was the number of children in the adult only pools.....what is the point of having adult only pools if no one is monitoring this rule. I could go on about the lack of service and the rudeness of the crew but even though they choose this kind of life, it is disgusting that they have to work 8mths solid without a day off. I would never ever recommend this cruise line to anyone.