My husband and I (50s) and our daughter (20s) chose this cruise because it was a favorable price for a Christmas cruise, on our bucket list. We had cruised with Costa once before in 2010 and enjoyed it overall. Booking the cruise, I was ... Read More
My husband and I (50s) and our daughter (20s) chose this cruise because it was a favorable price for a Christmas cruise, on our bucket list. We had cruised with Costa once before in 2010 and enjoyed it overall. Booking the cruise, I was surprised that we would not receive and previous guest credit for our other cruise, since they only give credit for 3 years, but more on that below.
Embarkation: Unlike other cruise lines we typically use, embarkation was between 1 and 9 p.m. Since we didn't have any early boarding privileges, we meandered on our drive, arriving around 3:30. There weren't any lines for any aspects of embarkation, and we were on the ship quickly. Room was ready and luggage arrived shortly after. Because of the later embarkation time, muster was scheduled between the two dining times. This was a fiasco! Our poor waiter was trying to get all of our meal served (on the first night, which is always slower anyway) before we had to rush back to our cabins, get life jackets, go to our station. Muster was very disorganized (aside from the fact that they scan cards, which is good), and we were subjected to heavy fumes. People were coughing, putting scarves over faces, etc., and someone almost passed out. When we tried to let someone know about this, the muster helpers were very nonchalant, and non-helpful. Didn't inspire much confidence for a true emergency.
Ship and Cabin: Deliziosa is similar to the Carnival Spirit class ships, which are my favorite. They seem to be just the right size and have a good crew: passenger ratio. I rarely felt crowded into long lines. We had a balcony cabin. On Carnival, it would have been considered an obstructed view, but we were not told this at booking. However, we have stayed in these cabins before and the price was acceptable. The balcony is a standard size, fitting 2 chairs and a table. A downside of Costa was that they allow smoking on balconies, and we had a smoking neighbor. The room had plenty of storage space for the three of us, including in the bathroom. Our cabin steward, Adamson, was stellar (a nice change from our recent Carnival cruises, where service was subpar).
Dining: There were highs and lows here. The dining room dinners were great. Delicious 6-course meals. If you don't like pasta and Italian food, you will not like it; if you do, you'll enjoy trying things from various regions ... and lots of pasta! The special Christmas Eve dinner was very nice. Our waiter was professional and did a good job, given the demands of his section. The waiters seem overworked, with management that don't seem to want to pitch in. The hostess was very rude. At breakfast, they have a buffet in the dining room (?) with the option of ordering off a menu (which they seemed very hesitant to offer). Dining room lunch on sea days was good, like the dinner, but they were very overwhelmed on Christmas day, when everyone decided to eat in the dining room. The buffet at breakfast got to be boring - the exact same foods every day. Lunch was a little better, with some variety, but always very crowded and chaotic. The 'open' times of the buffet never seemed to match our schedule, so we often found ourselves scrounging for the leftovers or there before it was open. There seemed to be scheduling issues. We did try the pay-for-pizza restaurant. The pizzas cost 8.50 and were very tasty. However, on an Italian ship, it seems that pizza should be a 'given' on the buffet. Overall, if you are expecting 'American' food, you will probably not like the dining experience. Illy coffee in the buffet, yum!, with hot milk. A treat!
Ports / Itinerary: Our itinerary got shifted because of the hurricane, but was eventually changed back to the original. We ended up being off schedule several times. First, we ended up leaving more like 2 in the morning, instead of 9 p.m., because they were waiting on people whose flights were delayed. I'd not really ever experienced that before. That put us late into our first port, Nassau. Then we had not one, but two!, medical emergencies where we had to turn around. Realize this is not Costa's fault, but it cut our time in Grand Turk in half. Our other ports were Amber Cove and Key West. Since we have been to all of these ports before, we hadn't made any special arrangements (aside from planning one of the Fathom volunteer excursions in Amber Cove, which was canceled due to lack of interest). We walked to Junkanoo Beach for a swim in Nassau, swam at the port in Grand Turk and Amber Cove, and went swimming / walking in Key West. All were enjoyable ports.
Entertainment and Activities: Very happy with the variety of entertainment. There were several types of musicians on board, and it was fun to watch many people ballroom dancing. It was nice that there were two dancers on board who danced with passengers. Also, entertainment staff were very present and also did dancing. The evening shows provided a wide variety, and we enjoyed most of those we went to. There was a Bee Gees tribute band (very good), a magician (meh), a tenor (excellent) and acrobats (excellent). We missed the passenger talent show, but heard it was good. The tenor was on board for Christmas, and it was a special treat to hear him sing on Christmas Eve, especially Ave Maria. They also offered a Christmas Eve Midnight Mass and a Christmas Day Mass; we went to the former. They even had Communion! (This went much faster than I expected it would, surprisingly.) There was also a Santa visit for the kiddies, and 'snow' in the atrium. We also enjoyed the various trivia games in multiple languages!
Rewards Program: I was pleasantly surprised by the rewards program. Since we were categorized as 'first time,' I didn't expect anything. However, we were given a few nice things: participation in past guest party, a free specialty coffee drink, and 50% off the pizza restaurant (which made it definitely worth a try). There were discounts for other things on board, and I think a free photo from the party, but we never retrieved that. Read Less