Come to think of it, I think I was "pick-pocketed" by Costa for the entire Mediterranean cruise (April 2 - 13). The experience was a massive disappointment for my wife and me, and I know it was for a whole lot of other English-speaking people I spoke with.
Where do I begin? The ship was pretty. My stateroom was nice, the steward efficient, the customer service person that helped me after my robbery was also helpful.
Let me list some other things! • The ship was very poorly marked, providing lousy directional instructions while many of the staff were not very helpful, many times directing us in the wrong way. Poorly trained. Some couldn't speak English, or refused to try. • We couldn't drink the water in our room, unless we paid for it, like every thing else. Reprehensible! Selling was the only friendly contact with staff. • I will compliment the food by saying it was almost average. By far the worst of any cruise food I've had. Bad fish, poorly prepared food, cream soups made of water and a little flavoring, old tasting bread. And on and on and on. Just awful. • Lunch service in the restaurant was atrocious, often taking up to two hours. Twenty minutes to get a menu, 35 more to get served, people at the table given a menu but orders not taken until other meals had been served at the table. No attempt made to seat you with someone you could speak with the same language. • No decaf coffee at dinner, wine service didn't show up, wrong servings delivered, employees in the buffet seemed disconnected from the passengers - they never came and asked if they could be of service, more coffee, water, etc. Tables left dirty for new guests seating. They only contacted you when selling something. • The entertainment was excellent, even though some of it was not understandable to English speaking folks. Some of it was outstanding, except to call the night a "crew" show was a misnomer - four singers, and 8 dancers is not a crew!!!
There was clearly smoking going on in rooms, the hallways reeked of smoke. Smoke from the lounges at dinner-time made dining a bit unpleasant. The maitre 'd attempted to keep the doors closed but that was a hopeless job.
While not in your control, many of the European passengers were absolutely rude. Walking right into you, bumping you in the hallways, not giving an inch was clearly the norm. Jumping in front of you in lines was a sport enjoyed by most. Not much friendly contact, maybe I'm just used to people saying hello or smiling when in close proximity.
This rudeness extended into a safety hazard. When the lifeboat drills were held, the information was announced in Italian first, then they made a game of it and were laughing about the preservers, taking pictures across lines, moving about and talking - all while the other language instructions for evacuation were being announced.
If you have a commitment to sell your cruise to English speaking persons it would be nice to make a disclaimer about the orientation to the Italian culture, at huge depravation to English speaking people. Your staff should be able to communicate with us, at least in giving directions. Some were down right rude. We were often in the dark about what was happening, and if we did get to an event, it was in Italian so we could not participate.
It would seem that the TV content might have just one English-speaking channel, aside from the repeats we had to watch on BBC World. There were multiple channels for the other languages but not one for English.
And one final thing about courtesy. I know captain's night is a tradition. But maybe the Concordia captain might be advised that it would be courteous to not "yank" a passenger into a picture and without at least saying hello.
If my message is not clear, my wife's words might put it into perspective. She said: "I feel like I was an invisible person on Concordia."
That's not what one should feel like on a cruise, wouldn't you agree? Maybe you don't, we paid in advance so "who cares?"
It was not a good cruise experience. I made the mistake of choosing this cruise "against advice" because it met my location and timing needs. I should have searched harder I will know better than include Costa for my next cruise. (Rhodes was a waste of time.)