This was a repositioning cruise from the summer northern routes to the fall Mediterranean routes.
There were four of us on this cruise (2 cabins), we are all Canadians in our mid to late thirties and have all cruised before. This was our second cruise on the Mediterranea having cruised on it in 2006 in the Eastern Mediterranean. You should also know that we are pretty laid back and not particularly demanding.
We purchased the X1 drink package before the trip and it was great. We really got good value for money with it. Every night we had two bottles of wine, beer, soda and bottled water with dinner. Some people have complained about slow service with the X1 package but we had excellent service. Well worth the money!
We do not usually attend the formal shows on the cruises so this review will not cover that aspect of the cruise. Also before this trip we had never taken a ship organized shore excursion, we like to explore the ports on our own. We finally did take one in Lisbon, more on that later.
We flew into Copenhagen two days before embarkation. Copenhagen is a nice city but very expensive. $11 for a glass of beer is a bit steep in my opinion. It is a very pleasant city for walking around. I highly recommend the Carlsberg Brewery tour for any beer lovers.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port around noon and were on board within a half hour. It was the fastest boarding I have ever experienced. They told us our rooms would be available at 1:30 pm but were ready when we boarded, our luggage arrived not too long after. All in all the embarkation was awesome.
Food: I have read a lot of complaints about the food on board Costa but I just don't get it. The food on board was really good. We ate in the dinning room each night (early sitting) and found the food to be of excellent quality and taste. We did not like every dish served but when trying new things you should expect this. We ate at the buffet for a few breakfast and lunches. The food was good, not spectacular but decent. We had room service one afternoon, the menu is quite limited but the Caesar salad was awesome.
Bars: We would get drinks from the Bars on Deck 2 and 3 at the back of the ship. The service there was always good. We did find that the drink specials were not always great.
Laundry: We all used the Laundry service at some point. It was reasonably priced and the clothes were cleaned over night and back in the room the next afternoon.
The Ship: The ship itself was immaculate. I think the layout of the ship is great, it never really seemed crowded, lots of space everywhere. It was a little smoky in some of the lounges, but you could easily find non-smoky ones.
The Room: I was in room 5289 at the back of the ship. It was a balcony room. I loved this room, it was quiet and clean. The steward was excellent.
First day was at sea, we just ate and relaxed. We borrowed a game from the library and had a few drinks while playing, a nice relaxing day. Bring your own dice if you want to play a game that needs it, all the games in the library are missing their dice!
Dover: The first port of call was Dover, England. We went to the Dover Castle and took the tour of the World War II tunnels. It was an excellent tour, highly recommended! After that we just explored the town and were back on board with a few hours to spare before sailing.
Le Havre: The second stop was Le Havre, France. If you are awake we coming into port it is quite something to see how close you get to other ships when docking. We rented a car (right at the port) and drove to the D-Day beaches. First stop was The Juno Beach Center, a small but very good museum about the Canadians at D-Day, I wish we had more time but we had a lot on the agenda for that day. Second stop was Omaha Beach, the US Memorial there is quite moving, we climbed down the hill to the beach, it was amazing to imagine what the soldiers went through. After that we had a nice lunch in a near by beach town and then back to the ship.
Next day was at sea, again nice and relaxing.
Vigo: At Vigo, Spain we took the train to Santiago de Compestella, the burial place of St. James. It was a lot of travel to spend 10 minutes in the church where he is buried. I don't think it was worth the effort, having to do it again I would rather have just explored Vigo.
Lisbon: Lisbon was fantastic! We took our first ship organized shore excursion; it was a jeep tour of Lisbon and the surrounding area. It cost $60 Euro and was worth every penny. The excursion was well organized in getting off the ship and took only a few minutes. The jeep tour itself took us through Lisbon to the cliffs outside of the city and then into the hills (offroad) and finally to a nice little hill town. It was an excellent day.
Cadiz: In Cadiz, Spain we decided not to go to Seville, it was a Sunday and we figured a lot of the town would be closed. We just walked around Cadiz and the headed back to the ship for a nice relaxing day.
Malaga: We disembarked in Malaga, Spain. The cruise was continuing to Savonna, Italy but due to our travel plans we arranged to leave two days early. Disembarkation was a breeze, just walked of the ship with our luggage.
Conclusion: I would highly recommend Costa to anyone, great food, service and interesting ports of call.