This was our 11th cruise and 1st on Costa. We specifically picked Costa to cruise on for the cultural experience of cruising on a line where we knew we would be a minority. In contrast to many reviewers this did not turn out to be a negative aspect of the cruise for us.English was widely spoken by the staff, and being seated with other English speakers for dining was appreciated, and seeing entertainers try to cater to 5 different language groups at the same time was interesting. Cruise with an open mind, and this shouldn't be a reason to not cruise with Costa.
Here's the thing-we enjoyed our cruise overall, especially the itinerary-6 ports, each unique and each accessible for "do it yourself" shore excursions, which we we prefer overall. But unfortunately there was no particular aspect of the Costa experience which would say "we have to cruise Costa again".
Our balcony cabin was spacious and comfortable, except for the couch. Big deal though-who goes on a cruise to be impressed by the cabins.
The food was below average overall. Although we have come to the general conclusion that the quality on each of the major lines we have been on (Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean) is fairly similar, almost every line has aspects of the food service that were above average. Not so on this cruise. The buffet restaurant was below average in selection and quality, and the main dining room was OK, but nothing remarkable.Strange indeed for an Italian cruise line. The pizza on our last Caribbean cruise was far superior to Costa's, which we found bizarre to say the least.
We bought the X1 drinks package-unlimited house wine, mineral water and beer by the glass at mealtimes. We got our money's worth, because of their policy of allowing you to take your unfinished wine away from the table at dinner. However, you couldn't vary your selection (other than red, white or rose) so it got rather boring after a while. better perhaps to sail with a cruise line with a more liberal policy about bringing wine on board.
The service was generally pretty good-the staff were friendly and helpful. But again, we have rarely had inferior service on a cruise line. We should give kudos to the front desk people though, who assisted us in dealing with an unfortunate incident involving a pickpocket in Barcelona.
Entertainment was the standard cruise line mixed bag-some was worth seeing but there wasn't anything that in retrospect we would have been disappointed to have missed.
We might cruise Costa again if the price and itinerary were exceptional, but given a similar itinerary and cost, I think we wouldn't rush back to Costa.