We must say the Air France flight was great, even though we have a change in Paris it all went really well. We arrived at Dubai airport and experienced our first stampede from our European neighbours; they just don't know how to queue. We checked in at the port to get on board and the process was painless enough. Our cases turned up at the Cabin by the time we had eaten.
We can only say that we had so little information on Dubai and how to get around and even where we were would have helped as we weren't sure how far the places of interest were. This was a common theme throughout the Cruise i.e.: if you took one of their excursions that's fine but! Try to get really useful information from them was impossible. We could have done with currency values, Average Taxi costs & whereabouts? Where we were when we docked as the Port map they gave us was worse than useless.
We did take some of their Excursions and we had a nightmare in Mumbai, after negotiating the step up to the Bus which was at least 75cm (a difficult climb for people with Arthritic Knees) bearing in mind most people on the ship were 55-75. To keep jarring their knees climbing on & off some people choose just to stay on the bus and miss the sights. The main problem was that the buses PA system didn't work so we sat at the port gates for 11/2 hours whilst they waited for a new microphone. This turned up but was equally useless so went pressed on obviously we couldn't hear the guide so Mumbai was as much a mystery to us at the end of the excursion as it was at the beginning. The guide didn't even bother to gather us together when we could have heard her she just walked off with just a lucky few who were able to catch a few bits of info. This excursion was meant to be 41/2 hours it ended up being 81/2 we even missed our meal in the main dinning hall due to arriving back late. When we complained to the Tour Desk on the ship they were totally indifferent towards us. However we pursued our complaint by letter to the Tour Manager and we threatened to speak with her manager and in the end we received a credit for the trip. In general we found the Costa officers & management staff Egotistic & Arrogant it is of course very impressive that they speak so many languages but they manage to be arrogant in everyone and don't really listen to their customers, who after all are paying their salaries.
The drinks were expensive but we bought a package for 99Euros which turns into 114Euros due to 15% service charge (which they still charge even when you get your own drinks which we had to a few times). The food in the buffet area's was very similar each day and very oily which we understand is the Continental way but 18 days of it get's to you.
The Dinning room meals were very small and sometimes both we and our table companions found it difficult to find something to their liking. It should be said the Ports of call were great and this is what we signed up for but Costa never stop amazing us with their arrogant ways. We did feel that if we had sent our wallets & purses and stayed at home they would have liked that better. We put all this and more in their on board review but we don't think they listen to their customers and they will continue doing what they want instead of listening to their customers.
An example of their arrogance is we had to alter the Itinerary due to the Indian government altering their visa requirements which meant we had to visit all the Indian port in succession unfortunately not all passengers had the new Visa so it would have meant some people missing out on some ports, this was not acceptable of course and the Captain moved the Itinerary around so that the requirements were met. Costa, had they listened to their customers that actually rang them in January to inform them of this could have handled this a lot better than waiting to when the ship was underway and people were concerned that they would miss out. This all caused concern etc when it didn't have to it also meant we spent extra days at sea.
There was a Big Screen by the central pool and it was on all the time however all it ever played was Costa Promotional films. They did show a Charlie Chaplin silent movie one night. But like everything else if you wanted to watch a movie they had a cinema where you could pay 8.95euro each or you could watch a film in your room for the same price. It fair to say that we will never travel Costa again we have been on 25+ cruises and we can honestly say that Costa Line don't begin to compare with other cruise lines.