We booked this cruise last minute . Embarkation was a bit hit an miss as our flight had been delayed and as a consequence we got to the port 3 hours later than expected so we didn't get on board until 3.45pm. Once on board we went straight to our cabin , luggage already in the room and we where very happy with our I5 cabin . It had a huge queen sized double , two bedside cabinets , dressing table , mini bar and lots of wardrobe space . with a small table , chair and stool . The bathroom was fab , really big compared to our bathroom that we had in our aft balcony cabin on royal caribbean and much more modern .we where on deck 9 cabin 9243 . A great floor with the corridor leading us out past the lifts onto the main lido deck with the colombo buffet restaurant a 1 minute walk across the deck . There where not many cabins on our floor and at the other end of our corridor was a door that led out onto a huge balcony at the front of the ship OK it had no sunbeds but we found that it was very much like having our very own ...huge ..private balcony !! We where lucky to see 5 people a day venturing out onto it ! we just threw towels on the deck , got our pillows out of our room and had afternoon tea picnics there every day ! plus we could walk to and from the buffet with drinks etc without hiking up and down lifts .who needs to pay for a balcony then ? I loved the fact that your on board account was set up and ready to immediately use without any hassle . We just had to go to a machine within 48 hours of sailing swipe our debit cards and it was all linked up to our accounts . Dining arrangements where already done and dusted and Costa had put all English speaking people on our table which was a bonus as We cannot speak Italian of which Italians made up about 80% of cruisers , say 10 % Spanish and the rest Brits , Americans and Germans .
The Italian people where quite good fun , really getting into the spirit of things , partying round the pool , getting involved with games etc and the clientele aged from 1 to 100 , a great mix of cruisers however I found that at really busy times the buffet could become chaotic because no one gets in a Que and on sailing days it might be better to get room service during the day rather than braving the buffet but we very quickly learnt what times to avoid when going to eat at busy periods.also there didn't seem to be much thought on board from cruisers towards disabled or elderly people it was at times every man for himself .
I loved the ship . It was very flamboyantly decorated , small enough to get around easy and just big enough to get lost occasionally ! OK the announcements got a bit tedious in 6 languages but hey its all about safety of which the safety drill was completed 24 hours after sailing at approx 5pm on the harbour side at Bari .
Now the food ...i thought it was excellent . The buffet was superb , breakfast extensive , pizza's and pasta amazing and i really could not fault the evening dining ! we where in Rafaello at the 9pm serving and we loved every minute . The service was superb . we purchased 2 wine packages one for 69 euro = 4 bottles of wine and 7 water then during the week there was a special offer of 2 bottles of house wine and two water for 19 euro . my partner drank the big 50cl weiss beer at 5 euro and i often went for the cocktail of the day 2 for 10/11 euro .I loved the 7 course dinner settings , all little portions with amazing choices , no starter , main and dessert stick in the mud British dining experience on this cruise ..my taste buds are still recovering . what i loved about Costa was we would finish our evening meal about 11pm and in the bars the waiters and stewards would be passing thru with fruit kebabs, chocolates , pastries on trays etc and on the two formal nights it was free champagne and once free cocktails . The captain strolled round the ship talking to cruisers he was very handsome and very easy going ! We didn't feel a bump all week the sea was like glass and the weather was fantastic ..All in all we got a bargain the only thing for us we cud remotely complain about was that tea, coffee and juice wasn't available all day , just at set times but there was always iced water available ...but afternoon tea between 4-5pm was wonderful , the cakes and little sandwiches where delicious ..they have a new patisserie chef and the cakes where fab ... All in all if the price was right i would cruise Costa tomorrow ....what a great week