I'll begin by getting the bad stuff out the way. I cruised with NCL last year who definately have the 'wow factor' and in some ways I guess I was expecting the same from Costa however, the fact is the Classica is older, a lot smaller, not American and no where near as grandious as the huge NCL vessel experienced last year. It is in need of a refurb but nothing on board is by any means massively unattractive or offensive. The food is borderline average/good. It isn't massively varied in the buffet. A La Carte restaurant is a little better. It did get very rough on several occasions but this isn't Costas fault and strategically placed sick bags appeared throughout the ship during rough periods. Immigration in Hong Kong was a bit of a nightmare as they let us all onto the ship early but then took us all off again in groups to go through immigration checks!! Bit of a ball ache and cue much moaning. Cabin was a decent size but not very sound proof. Soooooo noisy when it got rough but I guess this was to be expected. Lastly (for the bad points), the guests on board were our biggest issue. Old fat men in speedos is neither fashionable or attractive and despite instructions to not wear such things in the buffet, some poeple disregarded this. The sight of old women in skimpy swimwear was equally naueseating making more than an hour sat on deck a pretty unpleasant visual experience. Perhaps it's a 'European' thing, I don't know but either way, for someone in their early 30s, my wife and I found it pretty grim.
Now the positives. The staff were simply excellent. All very polite, all very helpful and would bend over backwards to do anything for you. The Korean lad who was responsible for cleaning our room was a little star!! I swear he never slept as he was always around and our room was turned over every time we weren't there and was kept immaculate. Absolute legend!!! The bar ran two happy hours (11am-12pm and 5pm-8.30pm) so the cost of drinking turned out very reasonable. Expect to pay in the region of 5 Euros for a beer (this includes the 15% service charge which is added to everything). The Chocolate Bar does a cocktail of the day for 5 Euros too which is good. We used the gym most days which is well equiped. Small, but well equiped. Machines are in Chinese but anyone with half a brain can figure them out without too much hassle. Again, swimwear not permitted in the gym but disregarded by some. Nice!!
The excursions were all excellent. Which bus you end up on depends on which language you speak so no danger of ending up with a bus load of Italians if you only speak English. Very well organised indeed and the guides were excellent. The only dull excursion was Sanya in China where, apart from a beach and a lame seashell museum, there isn't much there of interest!
Announcements are made in about 6 languages which all the English folk (in typical English fashion, and yes I am English) took great pleasure in moaning about. What many need to realise is that England is no longer an empire and believe it or not, not everyone on earth speaks English!!!!
Entertainment and activities were numerous and varied and at times a little 'eurotrashy' and cheesy but generally enough to cater for most people. Again, the staff do their very best and make the most of it.
So in a nutshell, that's kind of it. My wife and I were probably amongst the youngest dozen on the ship (both in our early 30s) and I would say this is catered more for older folk. A couple of gala evening were held which involved everyone getting dressed up to the max. Bit poncey for our liking but the oldies seems to like the ceremony of such a thing (bless them!!). But people, this is NOT a Cunard Voyage and don't expect it. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for and you get as much as you make out of a cruise. If you don't like fat men in speedos though, avoid this like the plague!!!!
Out of 10? I'd give it an 8. Would I cruise with Costa again? Yeah, probably! Would I ever purchase a pair of speedos? Hmmmmmm, no!