I'm American & my wife is Polish. We picked this cruise for the warm weather & sunshine in the Eastern Med at this time of year. We had previously cruised on the Costa Concordia in February 2008 & knew what to expect with Costa overall. I was hoping that Victoria being a smaller ship would have better food and it certainly was true. We were very pleased with our dining experience. At our first dinner we noticed that there were several vacant tables for 2 next to the windows. We requested a seating change and very much enjoyed a table for 2 window seating for the rest of our cruise. Our waiter Sirinc from Mumbai India was very pleasant and we enjoyed his service. The first night I had prime rib that was a good start and the food selection was excellent during the whole cruise. Our E1 outside cabin on deck 5 was fine but Victoria being built in the mid 90's has small cabins compared to the new ships today as their was no sofa with extra room to relax. Our steward Chris did an excelent job looking after our cabin. I would not recommend cabins on deck 5 as I didn't notice they are under the jogging track when I booked & it was a little annoying hearing the joggers above us in the morning & late afternoon. Victoria has a large sun deck with 2 pools. One can lay in the sun by the pools and hear all the noise from the entertainment team or find more quiet at the bow or stern. For Northern Europeans that want a sun tan, this is the perfect ship for them! Being a Californian, I was happy to sit in the shade with a cold drink. After dinner we would enjoy walking around deck six and enjoying the sunset then go to the Concord Plaza Bar for drinks listening to the music & then back to bed. I don't care much for the new "Joe" designs from Carnival that are installed on the latest ships with Costa having all the garish plastic colors. I enjoyed the sedate interior of Victoria. All in all we enjoyed our cruise and for the price I think Costa delivers a good product. It's true the port stays are short and I would wish for less ports but longer stays. Since most of the passengers are Italian, I've read this is more of just a boat trip for them as many have already seen the ports visited. I didn't visit the casino & only saw one show, the magic act whick was OK.
I was impressed with Venice as we spent 2 days there on our return. It is certainly a "one-of-a-kind" place. My take is that this cruise a good value for the money. If you are American & have never been to Europe before, you might enjoy this Italian experience or be frustrated many fellow passengers don't speak your language. It depends on your own comfort level of not being surounded with everyone being the same as you.