We are a Canadian family of four experienced cruisers, who cruised the western Mediterranean with Costa over Christmas 2010. The seven-day cruise is a loop, with guests embarking and departing at every stop. We boarded in Marseilles.
The itinerary is ideal - hitting all the major cities. We disembarked at all stops, and made our way independently into the city. The ship-organized excursions had restrictive itineraries (and were expensive), and we wanted the freedom to explore on our own. While little information is available on the ship, we found it very easy to navigate each city on our own.
Onboard, we were not happy with the food, in terms of either quality or quantity. The ship is confusingly laid out (something other cruisers have noted), and it was very hard to orient ourselves. The gym was well-equipped, and we used it every day. Otherwise there were few activities on board - the intent seems to be that the ship is a floating hotel, moving from city to city.
Overall, we were very disappointed with our Costa Magica cruise to the western Mediterranean. There were very few activities on board the ship for English-speakers, and literally no programming for children (12 and 14). In light of how bored the children were, I decided to try to download a movie for them to watch. After visiting the front desk and being assured that the very expensive 3 hour internet package (27 euros total) was high-speed, with excellent access throughout the ship, I purchased the package. Within 20 minutes, I had downloaded 0.0001% of our movie - which would have need 400 hours to download! I immediately requested the cancellation of my package, and the return of the fee. Front desk staff told me to come back the next day: this was repeated 4 more times on our 7 day cruise. I wrote to Costa in early January to request the refund - I heard nothing from the company for 7 weeks. After follow-up, today, the office has finally explained that "because I used the service" I cannot be refunded.
I would not cruise again on the Magica, and encourage other English-speaking families to think carefully about choosing this ship. Certainly, know that you will need to independently organize all your children's activities, and cannot depend on the cruise to offer options.