Embarkation was a breeze. It took literally about 10 minutes to get through the line and get processed, and on board.
The ship has two main dining rooms: Smeralda and Portofino. We ate in Smeralda, it was beautiful and the wait staff was outstanding. They do an Italian Night where the waiters sing and dance, it was a lot of fun. The food was not great for the typical cruise ship food, I have had much better on Holland and Celebrity. It was mediocre and the portions were small. Stay away from steak, even filet of mignon was substandard. Outback has better steaks by far than this cruise ship!
Bellaggio Buffet-On the 9th floor near the pool area. Well laid out for a buffet with many lines to go to. This buffet has a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and pizza until 1AM as well as afternoon tea at 4PM every day. The food is a lot of Italian dishes, salads, breads, and desserts. Not bad for a buffet.
Grill-The grill near the pool is typical American Food...grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, turkey burgers, fries, salad, etc. There is also an ice cream stand at both the grill and buffet areas.
Children's Club-I have two complaints about this club, first when I booked my cruise through COSTA directly they told me my 2 1/2 year-old could attend as long as she was potty trained. That is A HUGE LIE..they check birth certificates and did not allow my 2 1/2 year-old to attend the entire week. We booked our cruise on the premise that she could attend camp with her older sister. Secondly, after looking at the calendar of events for kids for my older child most of the activities were boring compared to other cruises. They played memory games, had a colorful aquarium day, danced, but it wasn't as well thought out or organized. Wasn't the typical PJ Parties, cake decorating, pizza making, costume parties that you find on the other ships...the spirit of the kids club just wasn't as vibrant and energetic. I would not recommend this ship for couples with YOUNG KIDS!
Casino-The Casino was nice for the 5 minutes I was winning on a slot machine, I had my kids with me because I could not drop my younger one off at camp, and I was told no kids in the casino. That was a huge bummer, but what doesn't make sense is no kids in the casino but you have to go through the casino to get to the arcade.
Entertainment-Dance lessons were a lot of fun (Cha, cha we did this one) and they offered belly dancing and salsa. They offered cooking classes which I did not attend, and they had a pizza tossing contest for adults that looked amusing. The theatre entertainment is definitely worth missing, it was horrible. It is like going to a Disney Show with generic characters, it was just awful. I could barley sit through one of the shows.
Stateroom-large, good for a family, one double bed with a set of bunk beds. Nice bathroom, corian countertop, separate shower, vanity area with blow dryer, and ample closet space. We were in an oceanview room on the first floor. Immaculate!
Disembarkation-Piece of cake...this was very easy and smooth compared to other ships.
This cruise would not be one of my favorites, I have been on Norwegian, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity before trying Costa and I would say Costa is at the bottom of my list as far as cruises are concerned with Norwegian and Holland being at the top of my list.