TIPPING was dealt with by adding a service charge to your bill at the end of cruise.(no nasty envelopes and begging by crew members) $10 per person per day. We had not registered a credit card and ended up paying cash because the cashier wasn't sure how to deal with the credit card! It was take a number and wait to be called but it took forever. If you have a time limit get up early and settle your bill.
Food-The ship was almost full, just short of 3500 people and the food was good. Breakfast & lunch had a choice of buffet or seated & menu, we always chose buffet. Breakfast was the same each day which is to be expected with large buffet. Scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs kept hot, sausage, bacon, cheese, Italian style cold cuts, bread rolls & sweet rolls, hot & cold cereal, yoghurt, sugar free cakes (light and delicious) and fresh fruit. Hot milk to make your own latte. Lunch for us was another buffet. Chicken or beef burgers and hot dogs & pizza & pasta and Salad & antipasto and fresh fruit were available every day. The other main dishes varied by theme and day. All the food was good quality. Dinner was gourmet style, the menu had 5 courses each being small since it is expected that you order from each course. It is quite acceptable to order a double portion of something if you want to. This food was excellent.
Crew: were multinational and almost everyone spoke some English. Everybody was polite and helpful. Dinner time usually had a small entertainment offering, by the waiters, after the main course.
Cabins: Booking late, we had to settle for an outside cabin but it wasn't so bad. The room was comparable in size to other ships and we had a good view from our window when arriving and departing port. I found the shampoo/shower gel a bit drying and there was no conditioner or lotion provided.
Decor: the harlequin theme was prevalent throughout, nice but monotonous.
Changing money on board incurs a 5 Euro transaction fee every time you change some but they also tell you to use the exchange in port or the ATM for better rates(hence the good part)
Goodies to purchase at Chocolate Bar . Everything chocolate mmm 'nuff said.THE BAD
Very little in this category so here's the nit picky stuff.
Embarkation: get your ticket for embarkation from downstairs where you leave the bags, maybe you'll get a better place in line. We got ours from upstairs and about 250 people who arrived after us boarded first! If you look you can find a small drink station and get a 4oz drink while you wait. A cafe inside the arrivals hall as you come upstairs sells good coffee & snacks to go.
Go early lunch buffet or there's no place to sit! We usually ended up sharing a table outside where everyone is smoking, not so nice.
Cabin drawers & closets had loops for handles & my mildly arthritic hands had a little difficulty opening them.
TV - only 2 English speaking channels, BBC news & 1 channel of varied programs. There is also an info. channel in English.
I didn't like many of our fellow passengers, they were rude and pushy. Only 100 passengers spoke English so it was probably just cultural differences.
Only two things I can think of here: all the public lounges and outdoor areas allow smoking. We never seemed to find a place to sit without smoke around us, big deal breaker for us.
I would have liked to see some hand sanitizer enforcement at the buffet. With that many people going through it would be a good idea. Its there but very few use it.
This is a brand new ship, clean, and well run. There seemed to be plenty to do if you wanted to, exercises by the pool , dance classes, free gym, night time dancing & shows and excursions to buy. Crew were great. Evening shows varied in content, some better than others, but the artists were all very good. We chose this ship for its Turkey inclusive itinerary and have no regrets. I would recommend this ship to anyone thinking about cruising with Costa.