Oh my goodness...this was my first and last cruise. What was supposed to be a relaxing cruise with my family turned out to be a nightmare. Every bad comment written about this cruise on the web is absolutely true. As a first generation American of ITALIAN parents, I thought I'd have a little bit of an edge over the other Americans that wrote bad things about the cruise but boy was I wrong.
I'll start with embarking...a sloppy mess of rude, pushy and sweaty Europeans that had no idea of what common courtesy or personal space was all about. On the ship...as soon as you step in it reeked of cigarette smoke. Not recommended for anyone with breathing issues...such as my mom who was with us and a lung cancer survivor. No regard for other passengers or even their children as moms and dads smoked around(and even blew smoke) right into their children's faces. The food was worse than airline food - with "gourmet" meals being prepared in the microwave and brought to the table. Breakfast consisted of powdered eggs and fatty slop - it made prison food look good. The concept of a "line" did not exist as they pushed and shoved their way through buffet lines, disembarkment/embarkment, passport controls, anything...you name it. I saw people pushing and shoving at the "midnight buffet" (aka fruit platter) for a piece of watermelon.
The casino was a joke - about 20 slot machines covered in a cloud of smoke in which all of the 25 cent machines were conveniently out of order. My husband sat at the black jack table and left after 5 minutes after the dealer got black jack about 4 times in a row and no one talked to him since he was American. The pools were a mess, the floors were always soaked and slippery and I even FELL DOWN THE STAIRS because of the wet floors. In a matter of 5 minutes my husband counted about 7 people slip and or fall and it was not uncommon to see people walking around in casts at the end of the cruise.
Everything is said in 5 or 6 languages with English being the last. I had a bit of an advantage over my husband since I speak and understand the language but felt bad for him since he felt left out the whole trip.
On the "good" side - the shore excursions were lovely and I dreaded going back onto the ship at every port, except for Tunis where I couldn't wait to get back on because I hated being harassed and assaulted by street vendors.
Our waiters were awesome - two young Indian guys who were at our beckon call. The rooms were decent size but the tv stations were limited.
After reading this and you still want to go on the Costa Concordia - be sure to purchase the X1 beverage package before your vacation. $95 a person gets you unlimited beer, wine, soda at lunch and dinner service.