My girlfriend loves cruising. She had been on nine Costa cruises before, but with a former coworker. My last cruise (aside from my time on my ship in the Navy of course) was on The Greek Line back during Nixon's second administration. Although we have been to Vegas several times together and up to Disney World more times than we can count, this would be our very first cruise together.
I am tired from filling out all the other stuff for this review, so I am just going to hit the high points.
I loved the food. I am somewhat of a foodie and loved having authentic Italian food and service available. I loved having Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar available all the time. Although the ribeye I had in the tenth deck restaurant could have been cooked more (I asked for it medium rare and it came out very rare, but I was too hungry to send it back).
I enjoyed being pampered by our waitress Natalya and beverage guy Naveen in the main dining room (even though it took a little while to get the coffee sometimes).
I liked the corny way they kept playing the march from Aida, the "O Solo Mio" song, and the Goodbye Song all the time. Especially hearing Dean Martin's "That's Amore" on Italian Night! Though I was right under a speaker in the overhead and it distorted the music at the loudness they played it at.
I liked the international flavor of hearing everything announced in five languages, and how Europeans all know how to ballroom dance and love playing Roulette, and how familiar they are with songs from over a hundred years ago.
In fact one of our favorite things to do was watching all the skilled dancers in the lounge with the Trio Tringali.
I didn't like the way Europeans like to smoke though. Walking through the Paparazzi Lounge before or after dinner was rough. And their lack of manners is another issue; see my Port reviews.
Someone in a review said they saw a lot of topless women on the pool decks; on my whole trip I saw only one, and on the deck way aft where the jogging track is. Also I saw a lot of children roaming around without adults even though the rules say they can't use the elevators by themselves, so parents might be concerned about their kids' supervision.
I enjoyed drinking Campari and soda, and espresso almost anytime of the day or night. I discovered I love the flavor of orzata in the Costa Atlantica, the Drink of the Day on the first night!
Even though my girlfriend didn't like the shows, I did. Even the schmaltzy overwrought slow "love songs". Again, a lot of the entertainment was different from what we Americans are used to. This made everything (for the most part) a little unexpected but more enjoyable as I got to see new things. I appreciated all the entertainment, especially the dancing and acrobatics on a deck that wasn't completely still.
One thing I enjoyed (but not many other people) were the Fellini movies they showed on board (La Strada is one of Judy's and my favorite films). Unfortunately they only had two, and most of the dates were on shore days. Costa, if you are reading this, please show more Fellini movies more often!
My girlfriend could have used a wider selection of stuff to buy on the ship. She hardly did any shopping at all. And there was no place to buy sundries.
Two minor complaints: I don't think the Service Desk has enough staff that truly understand English. Also Costa Cruises, you didn't have an English-language catalogue available. I took the one in German, and will have to convert Euro to dollars. Again these are minor complaints.
I am sure that as soon as I hit the "submit" button I will think of other stuff I wanted to mention. Let me close by saying that this wasn't just a cruise to the Western Caribbean. On Costa, this was also a cruise to Italy and the rest of Western Europe, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. On any other line the cruise would not have been as special or as memorable.