We have returned home feeling really let down. We have cruised with Princess, Cunard and P&O over the years, all part of the Carnival family, all different,but all excellent. Costa does not come up to their standard at all. The ship was only a few weeks old and the crew were making sure it looked at it's best, cleaning and painting every day we were on board, so much so that some days we were not able to walk on parts of the deck as they had portable scaffold erected to paint.
Our stateroom and balcony was very good and was kept very clean as were all parts of the ship.
The layout of the self-service Restaurant is very poor with food stations separated by long distances so that you had to pick up food in different parts then look for another part of the same meal by moving to another station, for instance salad at one place then look for tomatoes at another station. Often items had run out and the staff were very slow to replace them. On three separate occasions Liptons English Tea had run out and we were running from one drink station to another to find what we required. On one afternoon we were told there was no more on the ship!!!
Food was a big disappointment to all the British and Germans we spoke to and everyone of them had decided they will never cruise with Costa again. The main Restaurant was very crowded, seats too close to each other; the menu was fair, until it arrived and then some of it was inedible. Alhough some area were non-smoking there was a lot more smoking areas than on other ships and consequently smoke drifted across non-smoking areas and being non-smokers we found this quite offensive.
All other ships we have been on have laundry rooms on each deck allowing passengers to do their own laundry. The laundry charges on this ship was extremely high e.g. one shirt washed and ironed cost 5 euros. The 4D cinema, roller track, golf simulator and the GT simulator all advertised srongly in the catalogue we found to be at an extra cost. Drinks charges were also extremely high e.g. a small beer 5 euros, coke 2.60 euros, the cheapest wine was 18 euros all of this was plus 15% having already paid 7 euros per day per person which was a service charge and was compulsory.
Shuttle buses to the Abu Dhabi mall were charged at 6 euros per person but on arriving on the dock we were told by the local tourist board that the buses were free. After some arguments with staff who insisted that Costa had purchased the use of those buses and refused me a refund. When I threatened to write to Costa on my return I received a refund on my bill the next morning which makes me believe that the buses were free - Costa had not paid as they would not have refunded my money if that were the case.
Non-Italian speakers did not receive as much information as Italians. A prime example of this was the fact that on the morning we were leaving the ship we were informed by Virgin to be on the dock by 8.45 a.m. so we were a bit surprised to have someone knocking on the door at 6 a.m. followed by a telephone call at 6.15a.m. to say we should have been out of the stateroom but as no-one had informed us of the time we should have vacated how were we supposed to know. This is just one example of poor communication.
We were very surprised to be having a farewell dinner on Thursday evening when we were not leaving the ship until Monday morning although some people were leaving on Sunday. We realised why this was the case because the people who were leaving on Monday appeared to be a nuisance to the Costa staff and treated as if we were intruding. On our last night we were unable to have the table we had enjoyed for the entirety and told we had to sit in another part of the restaurant which meant we were unable to say goodbye to the waiters who had looked after us so well. When we asked the head waiter where they were we were told they had been moved to other duties. We have never experienced anything like this on other ships.
We were extremely happy we had only booked a seven-day cruise - we could not have coped with another seven!!