First let me say Savona is not an easy city to reach from the airport so if you can book a shuttle do so. Costa does not allow you to use theirs unless they book your flight. Weird customer service if you ask me but I am an American. We used local transportation and it all worked out ok. We stayed at the NH Darsena hotel the night before and it was wonderful. A two minute walk to the ship. This hotel has absolutely the nicest desk crew in the world. So very helpful and more than willing to speak English.
The ship itself is magnificent from the very first view at the dock. The check in process is slow, tedious, and poorly set up. It is also the first time I met a rude employee. She was one of the very few. Once on board you are immediately surrounded by a magnificent interior. It is truly amazing right from the lobby. Here is where the desk crew is located. I had read many reviews criticizing them and mentioning hoe rude the were to Americans and English speaking people. Nothing could be more wrong! Day in and day out they were exemplary and more than willing to speak to you in any language. They were even extremely nice at 3 AM when hundreds of passenger sought out Dramamine. The room is nice. Well designed and laid out. The balcony however, is usually either being sprayed with water and salt from the sea or being cleaned to remove that same salt. Pretty much non-usable during our cruise. If you enjoy a nap in the afternoon forget it! The stewards are noisy and constantly in the hall. TV for English speaking is either the BBC or Al Jazeera movies which are subtitled in an arab language.
On board is wonderful. Just walking and enjoying the ship is a good time.
Everything is top shelf. Afternoons spent in the lounge playing cards and drinking good coffee is fun. Many do it. The theater is good but nothing above what anyone else has. A good and enjoyable show. Well rehearsed with good presentation. Shipboard activities are pretty much the standard fare. The working crew however goes out of their way to be friendly and helpful. They can be an invaluable asset. The kiosks that answer questions and dispense tickets are a great idea! So much time can be saved.
Shore excursions were fun. They use good people and they are knowledgeable. It was a bit disconcerting to have an armed guard on every bus though. Nothing can prepare you for the hustlers at the pyramids. They are like vultures with road kill. This cruise was to some beautiful places. Santorini is breathtaking. We never did a lot of walking although some was in desert and tiring.
The food was a disappointment. The same pizza everyday and pizza here in Boston's north end is better. Much better. The buffet is great the first day but by day 3 is pretty much the same. Some days you wonder if it is yesterday because it looks like it did yesterday. Two things stand out. Healthy options are available and the Italian salami is to die for.
The dining room had a wonderful staff of waiters. Friendly, courteous and they want you to tell them about USA. Ours, Edwin, was magnificent. He did such a good job. Every evening he knew what I drank for wine and had the coffee ready just when I needed it. It is an amazingly efficient operation. The food was well prepared and the presentation was excellent. I expected more from an Italian ship. I mean, hey, food is their forte!
Overall a cruise worth taking. We enjoyed it thoroughly.