We were apprehensive about Costa after reading some of the reviews but decided to book and decide for ourselves.
We found that lots of the reviews we had read had made valid points.
We were disappointed to find when we arrived at the port in Dubai at 9am after a night time flight that no passengers could board the ship until 3pm and then not given access their cabins until 8pm.
All passengers also had to vacate their cabins by 8am on the final day of the cruise in Singapore and everyone had to leave the ship by 10.30am. Our flight home was at 23.00.
The cabin steward, waiters and waitresses in all the bars and dining room were excellent, friendly and helpful.
The Italian staff on duty at reception were not interested in offering any advice and support (we asked before each port of call for a map and any information, such as advice about availability of taxi`s, trains etc and were told they did not know)and boarded on being rude. Thank goodness we had done some homework before travelling.
At several ports of call the length of time in port advised on our itinerary was changed, giving a much shorter time to visit.
The call at Fujairah was a waste of time, nothing there, a stop for the ship to re fuel and to charge passengers 8 euro`s each for a minibus trip to the town - everything was closed as it was Friday (early closing - Muslim Country)
When arriving at Mumbai we had to spend several hours the previous day waiting to sign passport documentation and again at Cochin, on the morning we docked.
The drinks were expensive - 5 or 6 euro` each and there was no happy hour (mentioned on a review we had previously read).
The entertainment was very amateurish and we did not go to any shows after the first night.
The food was nothing special but ok, no tea and coffee available after 9pm and the ice cream machine was broken for the whole of the cruise.
We spoke to other passengers who had been on other Costa Cruises and they all advised us that this cruise was more basic than previous ones, but to be fair, some of these people also felt that all the cruise ships were making cut backs in their services.
We really enjoyed visiting all the different countries, we chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was really nice to wake up each morning and be at the next port, rather than be packing and unpacking.
We did not book any trips through the ship and found it very easy to negotiate prices with local taxi`s at the port gates. Another passenger worked out that it would have cost 500 euro`s if we had booked a trip through Costa for every port but had in fact spent about 70 euro`s each.
We did enjoy the holiday, we have made several new friends and now have lots of information and tips about how to get the best out of a cruise.
We will definitely go on another cruise, but with another company and will be interested to see how the next one compares.