Check in started at 1pm. Embarkation was quick here in Malta since there was a group of about a hundred staring their cruise. They don’t give you your cruise cards, but you find everything on the bed once you go to your cabin. No white glove attendants to show you to your cabin (as on MSC), you have to find it yourself. But they were already available when we boarded. Not too big, compared to the Outside and Balcony Cabins we had on MSC, but probably their Insides are the same size. We had no sofa or chair, just a stool. There was just enough closet space for our family of 4. The thing I hated most in the cabin were the wardrobe door knobs. They are not knobs but loops of rope which after a couple of times opening the wardrobes and drawers start hurting your fingers. Totally stupid idea! Cabin was always kept clean by our attendant, Agnelo and here is another difference from MSC….. only 1 cabin attendant per cabin and not 2! Bathroom was of a good size, but they still have the silly shower curtains. Cabin door was very light, making it easy for our 2 year old to open by himself. There was a flat screen in the cabin. The beds were very comfortable, nothing to complain here. Our cabin no 2350 on Deck 2, was situated close to the lifts which take you next to the pool and buffet.
After putting our luggage in the cabin, we made our way to Ca d’Oro Buffet on deck 9. It was not too crowded this time but sometimes we had to walk around it 3 or 4 times to find a table. Choice of food items not too big but what was available was good. The stupidest thing about it was that even if you wanted just one item, you had to queue after everyone since all the food items were next to each other. There were no separate pizza station or soup station, just one thing after each other, probably a money saving idea from Costa so people would not go more than a couple of times to get different food since at certain times there were long queues and when an item finished it was not replaced immediately, so people just stopped in front of food and waited. Sometimes queuing took even 10 mins. This is another difference from MSC, where they had various stations and the choice was much better, especially after the big change MSC made to the Buffet after July 2012, where they started having more choices available and the buffet started opening all day until 9.30 pm everyday. Not the same case on Costa though. Apart from having too few choices of food, food was available until around 3pm and the grill until 4pm. The grill was only available outside near the pool, so if you wanted some fries, you needed to queue outside as well. The grill consisted of fries, burgers, sausages and a different type of grilled meat (chicken, pork or beef) everyday, plus some grilled vegetables. At least the food on offer was always of good quality. There were 5 stations (all having the same food) where you could queue which were all open at peak times. Then there was 1 station offering pizza, cheese and 3 types of pasta.
Coffee, tea, milk and water was available free of charge in the buffet 24hrs.