Costa Mediterranea Entertainment
Evening entertainment ranges from dancing to romantic piano tunes in the Piazza Casanova Bar to opera or production shows in the main theater. The final night's passenger talent show was hilarious, thanks to the backup of the ship's professional singers and dancers. The amateur talent was pretty good, too. And, just walking into the three-tiered Osiris Theater is a trip. All those pyramids and pharaohs make you think you're in Egypt. Rest assured, the motif came straight from murals decorating a Roman palace built in the 1400s.
Daytime activities consist mainly of group games and fitness classes.
Costa Mediterranea Public Rooms
Though tied together by the palazzo theme, each of the public rooms has a completely different feel. The cupid-adorned Piazza Casanova, for example, was based on a ballroom in a Venetian palace. It has a lovely fountain and good dance floor. The Asian-accented Roero Bar and Oriental Lounge were inspired by the Roero Di Guarene Palace (and look anything but Italian -- the servers wear oriental outfits, and the display cases show off artifacts from four ancient Chinese Dynasties).
The Giardino Isolabella Bar is particularly delightful. This cozy room is a veritable undersea grotto hidden away in a most unlikely location -- directly beneath the three-tier Osiris Theater.
The atrium bar, Maschera d'Argento, is the hotspot for passenger profiling. It's even better for art spotting, a highlight of this ship. Three walls soar ten decks upward, creating one gigantic work of art-a fabulous array of floating, larger-than-life dancing figures. The fourth wall has three glass elevators, so as you move, the dance takes place. There are also fantastic Murano glass accents everywhere, including dozens of jellyfish wall lamps with flowing tendrils. It sounds bizarre, but it works. Best of all, you'll see something totally new every time you step into a room.
It's worth climbing the stairways, too. We loved the whimsical pottery in the cases at each landing.
Art aside, Costa Mediterranea has all the usual public areas and then some. There's a real chapel (services are offered regularly) with lovely stained glass windows. A small, combination library/Internet cafe next to the Oriental Lounge has nine computer stations. Internet access costs 50 cents per minute and, as is usual on a cruise ship, can be frustratingly slow. The Grand Canal Casino sees lots of action whenever it's open. For shoppers, there are two stores selling logo wear, jewelry, watches, olive oil, pasta, duty-free cigarettes and liquor. Prices on Caribbean cruises are in US dollars. They're in Euros for European itineraries.
Caveat: Finding the public restrooms is tricky (and identifying men's from women's a challenge). A hint: Red lips are for women, mustaches are for men.
There are no self-service launderettes or ironing rooms.
Costa Mediterranea Spa & Fitness
The ship has three separate pool areas on Deck 9. The two central pools each have one, usually busy, whirlpool. One pool has a retractable magrodome roof for use in all kinds of weather. The smaller Apollo pool, all the way aft, is away from the crowds and has a bar and a third whirlpool. There is a neat waterslide up top on Deck 11, but it was only open a couple of hours during our entire cruise.
Costa Mediterranea's fitness facility and spa are combined on two decks. The Olympia Gym has an impressive array of state-of-the-art workout machines. They work two ways. You can establish your settings manually -- or sign up for a "key card" (and fitness consultation for an extra charge of $20); the key is pre-set so you are computer-guided throughout your workouts.
The area is tiered, so everyone has a sea view. Fun features include a forward-view whirlpool and separate men's and women's steam rooms, saunas and shower cabinets with multiple heads. The Ischia Spa, operated by Steiner, offers the usual menu of treatments such as Swedish massage ($99 for 50 minutes).
There is a small jogging track on the top deck above the gym, along with a netted basketball/volleyball area.
Caveat: Some fitness classes -- yoga, Pilates, kickboxing-have a $10 fee per session.