Our second cruise this year with Costa and probably our last. We embarked at Heraklion on 25th October and, with hindsight, this experience set the tone for the entire cruise. The queue to check in and deposit luggage was not particularly long so we thought we'd be on board quite quickly, we were wrong! We waited in line for around two hours whilst 1 person checked passports etc. and one luggage scanner was in use despite there being other staff around. Not a great start but sadly indicative of the very poor organisation on this ship and cruise.
Once on board we noticed our Costa cards were not marked for 'all inclusive' (happened on the previous Costa cruise also) so we had to queue again to get this rectified so we could get a drink, the system was up to date so only one card could be changed and we had to go back later and queue yet again! This is despite us having booked 'all inclusive' some weeks before on line. Next we went to change our dinner sitting as we'd been allocated to the early mealtime (no means to do this before you arrive on the Costa website - why?) - the Maitre De was so disorganised (a common theme) despite us heading to sort this out in the early afternoon and could only manage to offer a 'turn up and be allocated card' - so again another wasted time in a queue.
The dinner service that night, on an ad hoc table, was appalling with no choice of wine etc. and extreme difficulty getting wine or water in any case. Next night we were allocated a regular table which was better but the drinks service in the restaurant remained abysmal throughout the cruise, and this is despite my complaining to the restaurant manager which I was loathe to do. Our table of 8 had to have one of us leave the table regularly if we wanted a top up of water or wine (often there was none in the wine bucket in any case) and this seemed to be common in the restaurant. There seemed to be just two waiters for at least 6 tables so, however hard they tried, they just couldn't keep up. Costa cost cutting maybe? The same was true in the bars and self service restaurants at lunch where bar service waiters were hard to find so the only way to get a drink was to go to the bar and fight your way through the crowd - not exactly relaxing!
Cabins and cabin service as good as you need, this level has lifeboats stowed so view from the balcony is restricted.