My husband and I saw the cruise on Virgin Holiday cruises on line.I had to contact them several times for information.We'd heard about a beverage package, X1, which seemed to be a good deal. However, it cost £99.0 per person, and only allowed wine by the glass,(red, white) or a small beer at lunch and dinner.In any of the lounges, the drinks had to be charged to the account.3 beers,40cl cost 13.5 euros, one non alcoholic drink cost 4.70 euros; there was a 15% surcharge added,mnaking a total of 20.93.Each day there was a charge of 6.euros per person added to the account,which worked out to about £60.0 each for the ten days. There were just over 3,000 passengers on board, and 1,000 crew.IF that money was divided equally between the crew, they'd get around £18.0 per day. We don't know if they also had wages, or if the gratuities we had to pay WERE their wages.This charge was mandatory, and we couldn't opt out. The trips were more expensive than comparable ones on other ships. If there were two guides on a coach, the one speaking in German or Italian seemed to give a lot more information than the few sentences given by the guide speaking English.A proposed trip to el Alamein was cancelled. The reason given was that German/Italian passengers didn't want an English guide,so they pulled out. and as there were not many English, the trip was cancelled.It happened that we never stopped at Alexandria, as the weather was too bad for the ship to get into the harbour, so we stopped at Palermo, instead.At one port there were some buses to go into town, but they were not free. In the restaurants the menus were not all that varied. They gave the appearance of being "Cordon Bleu", being tiny amounts on an extremely large plate.In the buffet resataurant, each day they advertised having a selection of different country's foods, like German, Italian, Chinese,Spanish and Indian; there wasn't one with English specialities. The staff running the various programmes on board did't give a lot of information for English poeple. English people we spoke to all said they'd not take another cruise with Costa.Thomson Cruises have nothing to worry about.We had to leave the ship at 10.am take a 2 hour ride to Nice, and wait until 21.30 for the flight home.