There have been mixed reviews for this cruise line so I was cautiously optimistic when we boarded.
Staff: Let me first say that the staff was friendly and helpful. They would stop what they were doing and gave us their full attention.
Rooms: We had a room with a veranda which was larger than I was expecting (having been on other ships)The room was very clean. Every time we left the room and came back, there were fresh towels.
Drinks: We purchased the drink package which was very economical for our group. There was never a wait for the drinks, and they didn't skimp on the alcohol.
Food: This was the only disappointment. Cruise lines boast about the dining experience. This was mediocre at best. The dining room was loud and busy and reminded me more of a cafeteria setting than a fine dining experience. I struggled to find items I wanted to eat and was left wanting something better. The gala dinner was also a disappointment compared to my Royal Caribbean experience. The best meal we had was on the upper deck. The buffet breakfast and lunch was so much better than the main dining room.
This is now a non-smoking ship with a couple areas allocated for those that have to smoke.
I have also read some reviews about how rude the Europeans were on the ship. As an American who lives in Europe, I might have a different perspective but I think there are rude people where ever you go. Do not let it ruin your experience. This is a great way to see some beautiful cities in Europe and soak up the culture.
Get off the ship in Barcelona. This is a cool city. There is a blue shuttle bus that stops outside of the Costa Building that takes you to Los Ramblas. From there you can walk along the harbor or head into the city. Las Ramblas de Catalunya was a great street with many shops and restaurants. From there you are not far from Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. It's also an easy metro ride to La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia had a very long line so if you can purchase tickets a head of time, I would recommend it.
Portofino is a beautiful little city. The only painful thing was the long trip to get there. The bus ride was over an hour and then we had to take a boat to Portofino. By the time we got there, we only had a little over an hour to enjoy it. We left the group and sat along the water to have a nice lunch with a bottle of wine. Good excursion, just not enough time to explore.
If you are not doing an excursion, buy the shuttle ticket on the boat and head into town. The old town is nice to walk around in. We found a open square and had a great lunch. Lots of shopping and an amazing chocolate shop on Rue Casserie close to Pl de Lenche.