We boarded the Costa Luminosa in Savona,Italy on 4th May 2010 for a 9 night relocation cruise to Amsterdam with some apprehension, due the severe criticism previous reviewers had provided. We arrive by Train in Savona after 9 nights travelling through Rome, Florence and the Cinque Terre - the last two highly recommended. It was a fixed price of 15 Euro in a taxi from the train station to the Costa Terminal. Although there was some effort to order the embarkation process through use of boarding group numbers (of about 100 people per group), the typical inability of Italians to queue meant it was still a crush at the gate.
Once aboard, however, it was generally smooth and orderly. Being English-speaking made us the minority, which we had expected, with the passengers being mainly Italian, German and Dutch in that order and only approx.45-50 with English as their first language out of the 2200 on board. Once we had sorted out with the crew that our country abbreviation of 'AUS' in Costa's records meant Australian and not Austrian and we stopped receiving menus, newsletters and telephone calls in German (it took almost 2 days) all was smooth sailing!
The ship has a comfortable feel about it and is clean, bright and extremely well lit. The cabin was very spacious with comfortable bedding, plenty of cupboard and draw space and a large bathroom. The best feature of the cruise was the excellent service provided by the staff at all levels. A mixture of many nationalities with the majority coming from the Philippines, they were always trying to please. The cabin steward tried very hard although little English was understood. The Taurus restaurant staff could not be faulted - even providing off-menu specials. The menus were varied and the meals were warm to hot as expected and very well presented. The buffets for breakfast and lunch provide a limited but tasty selection with daily specialities. We were pleasantly surprised,after reading other reviews, by the the drinks prices, 5 Euro for a beer and 7 Euro for a cocktail ( including the service charge) anywhere, any time on the ship. It was equal or less than what you pay on the streets in Italy. Plus there were 2 for the price of 1 drinks on the at-sea days. Good quality bottled wine was available from approx 18 Euros. We found that the water on board was fine. They try to insist that the bottled water at 2.50 Euro is best but we filled up our bottles in at the water machines on Deck 9 and also found the cabin bathroom (RO)water was no problem. Iced water was available at meals at no charge. We had no problems with bringing or food or drinks back on board after shore excursions.
The entertainment was only average and the Theatre was always overflowing for the nightly act for the first-sitting diners. The multi-language introductions and thanks yous wre very boring. We didn't use the 4D cinema, F1 Simulator or the Golf driving range but felt a normal cinema and better use of the large poolside screen for movies or entertainment other than Costa self-promotion would have been benefits. as in boarding, the organisation in leaving the ship was not great and suffered from the multilingual problems and lack of coordination but we disembarked within two hours of docking after those with organised tours.
In summary our Costa Luminosa cruise offered a pleasant relaxing cruise with good accommodation, food and service with great staff at a value for money price. We would sail with them again.