This was our first Costa Cruise,my experience has only been with Carnival. We have always enjoyed our Carnival Cruises,nothing to complain about. Reading the reviews here on cruisecritic have been mixed about Costa and I certainly understand each issue, however we had just as good a time as Carnival and really when I compare the two, Costa was better at some things and Carnival was better at others so basically a wash. I do hear the RCL's are great ships and hope to experience them next.
First of all the price was right. Other people on our ship got upgrades...I didn't because my TA did not push for one even though I asked. However, the ocean view room was large and very roomy. Our room attendent was awesome, he cleaned our room 3 times a day....and with kids it gets a bit messy at times. He would call me by my name and make sure everything was okay. The boat was beautiful and very well laid out. The embarkation was extremely smooth and the disembarkation was pretty good as well.
The kids camp was phenomenal...not as strict as other lines which can be an advantage in terms of child security I suppose when looking at it...but it felt very casual and trusting. The kids said it was better and they were begging to go back. They met lots of friends as well.
The ports were good and again very easy to get off and on...very smooth.
The food....the contentious issue on this board......To me it was about selection or choice....most cruises at least give you some sort of beef choices every night whether it be a steak or roast beef....this was not the case...it was assorted with fish, veal, lamb, chicken etc. There was a menu that was available every night which ended up being staples of ours. However, the food that you ordered was good. Don't forget they are cooking for over 2500 people every night. The fish was always a good choice. They also didn't have the energy or passion that the servers did on the carnival...that was probably the most annoying thing to me...was the slower service when you have children. But not something to make me decide to never cruise on costa again. The buffet however I found very good at all meals. The choices were great...a bit european at times, but they always a carving station of a meat with potatoes, rice, salad etc....they had a great grill with hamburgs, hotdogs, chicken burgers, fries, tacos with all the toppings and pizza. We loved this the best. The ice cream machines are also great but often they were runny and we ended up with ice cream soup.
Desserts I tend not to order so I have not complaint there
Alcohol i found a bit cheaper....esp when it was happy hour.
The shows were phenomenal!!!! I thought they were very well done and a few were unique like the last night where they did I have a dream...they showcased cruise staff talent...and boy they had great talent!!! Our cruise director was awesome, very engaging and energetic....he spoke 4 or 5 different languages which is soooooo impressive.
Overall, I would recommend this cruise to all who have an open mind, a family, people who aren't picky and complain alot or have don't have high expectations. Go and relax and not worry for a week. Otherwise go on another line.