We cruised on the ‘Around Iberia’ itinerary at short notice and bagged a fantastic last minute deal. Having said that, the overall experience was poor and we would not recommend Costa to anyone interested in a cruise holiday. We joined the ship at Dover, the day after it sailed from Amsterdam, and, as per previous experience at the Dover port, check in was a complete dream, with no queues, friendly port staff and easy access via the high speed rail link from London. The passenger contingent based on our non-scientific analysis during the 8 days on board was (in descending order) Italian, French, Dutch, German, Rest of the World, including English speakers from various parts of the globe. If I have to summarise the negative points of the cruise into a simple statement, it is: Incredibly bad management. The Italian management in particular swagger around the ship with an arrogance that belies the poor levels of service, staff and crew motivation and customer experience on offer. By way of example, we dined in the paid-for pizza restaurant one evening. A group of about a dozen Costa staff arrived to eat, then complained about the pizza and the service aloud, leading to the Food and Beverage director summoning the chef to the table to be chastised in front of everyone, with additional guidance provided on how to prepare a pizza properly. It was mortifying and all the passengers present watched aghast. We regularly had a particular member of staff using the upper sun lounge deck as a venue to make loud telephone calls back home of an afternoon. Queueing for anything on board is a nightmare. I know we have special ‘queueing IQ’ in the UK, but the mismanagement of passengers waiting their turn for anything was an embarrassment. A request for a towel to use by the poolside on debarkation day – we had to vacate our stateroom by 9:30 but wouldn't disembark until 16:00 on a gloriously sunny day – was simply met with “That is not possible”. The receptionist explained, as we had already understood and complied with, that towels are assigned to staterooms and that once you've vacated your stateroom and left your towel there, you’re without one. It beggars belief that Costa have yet to adopt the ‘sign out, sign in’ towel process of other large lines. The NeoRomantica is a beautiful ship, the cabins are modern with excellent storage, and the bar, restaurant and stateroom staff are all wonderful. We loved all of the interesting and varied ports of call on our itinerary. The food offering is mixed – it was nice to have daily pasta choices, the soups were uniformly excellent, but mains were variable. I don’t mean for this review to sound like a giant moan, but rather as an honest appraisal of our experience on board. Caveat Emptor!