Embarkation: We took the train from Rome which is easy until you get off in Civitivecchia where there are two staircases to negotiate (no elevator) so be ready to haul luggage down and then up some stairs. Once at the castle by the port, hopped on the shuttle to the ship. We arrived with no luggage tags (never arrived) so we had them printed when we arrived. Staff was very helpful with this and sent us to the boarding area. Folks were sitting around but we just jumped in the boarding line. When asked where our boarding number was, we answered we didn't have one (apparently you were supposed to get one when you turned your luggage in) so they just let us through. Easy. They don't give you your cards or do the credit card thing until you board. The sea pass cards were waiting on the bed and we immediately found a kiosk to connect our credit card to the sea pass cards for purchases on board. By the way, passengers embarked and disembarked at almost every port.
Cabin: Positives: Lots of storage and tame decor. The cabin was kept clean and fresh towels always provided even if you hang them up to use again. Lots of shelves in the bathroom. Negatives: There is no bed sheet, just a light comforter (which was too warm for me). There is only one outlet (one european and one western). There are no toiletries except for a bar of soap and the dispenser in the shower so bring your own. The doors to the corridor and balcony slam themselves shut, so guess what you hear from your neighbors, yes, slamming doors. The TV system is fair, not many channels (only one in English) and no free movies. No music channels unless you are watching the ship cam or the location channel.
Ship: Positives: Lots of elevators (especially the most forward stack) so not much waiting for elevators. But be ready for folks NOT to wait for you to get off the elevator, apparently Italians wait for the elevator to arrive and barge right in. The Samsara spa is an oasis of quiet (mostly) so pay the extra money to get away from the crowds. With new passengers everyday, they are always trooping through new passengers on a tour to see the amenities. If you like to dance, this line is for you. There were huge dance floors in many of the bars. Negatives: The circulation is poor, the only way to get from the front to the back is either on deck 9 or deck 5. It gets crowded around the atrium around dinner time with the shops shoving tables into the walkways (which are skinny to begin with). To get to the restaurants, you have to go up and over them to find your way around. The promenade decks only have entrance and exits at the center of the ship, so if you walk to the front or back, they are dead ends. Not a good design. Costa does the lifeboat drill outside next to the boats. The gym has no elliptical machines but everything else. Oh, and the mandatory sanitary hand gels you see on RCCL or Celebrity: yes, they are there but not enforced at all so not many folks use them at all. The two main pool areas are covered and the one with the jumbotron TV is LOUD. Very loud. Remember that kids are free on Costa and we were there on their Spring break. Kids were running up and down the corridors but were mostly well behaved. There is more smoking than U.S. cruisers are used to, but just stay on the starboard side in most common areas to avoid it. No smoking in the main restaurant. There is a huge lack of public restrooms (must be the common Carnival design?) on this ship. I saw only two.
Food: Negatives: Don't expect Lobster and steak. This is an Italian line. That said, the meats were not that good. Brewed coffee in the buffet was not good. Positives: The pasta was good along with the vegetarian choices. The Blue Moon restaurant is another oasis of quiet and worth the extra money. The signature ice cream prepared tableside was amazing. All the bars have espresso machines which were good.