We are two seventy plus English pensioners who have done 10 plus cruises on several cruise lines. We picked this cruise because it was a good price and we hadn't used Costa before. We stayed one night in the Park Inn by Nice airport to avoid getting up at a ridiculous time, the hotel was excellent. We picked up our transfers at 12 o'clock at the airport and arrived at Savona port two hours later. Straight into chaos, firstly we had to sit on our coach for nearly an hour where we received a numbered card. Then on entering the terminal we met a huge crush of people which we found out was because they were embarking two ships, the Pacifica and the Faviosa. We had to stand in the terminal - not enough seating- and wait for our number to be called. Another hour went by before our number came up, we then joined the queue for security and we all know what that's like. The fact that there was only two scanners for three thousand odd people might account for the slowness. By this time it was around four thirty when everybody was supposed to be getting the Emergency drill. All this time we only found one Costa staff giving out information as to what you were supposed to do. We eventually found our balcony cabin, we just enough time to pick up our lifejackets in time for the re-scheduled emergency drill. Unlike other cruise ships which had many assembly points most of which were in lounges or at least indoors out of the weather. Costa split the passengers in half and packs them into the promenade deck, port and starboard. We stood for half an hour having the compulsory emergency lecture.
The accommodation was very good only one slight drawback was opening the balcony door, it took quite a lot of effort and would try to shut at the least opportunity. We accepted when we booked this cruise that it was an Italian ship and crew with the majority of passengers Italian and we have nothing against the Italians finding the majority very friendly, but I must say that long Italian announcements can translate into quite small English announcements. Most of the time we had no problems, a lot of the 'hotel' staff were from the usual mix of countries i.e. India, Philippines with a few far eastern countries and spoke good English. The cabin boy was excellent the cabin was kept spotless and the towels changed frequently. We also found that the supervisory staff on the 'hotel' side were very arrogant against the passengers.
Food! This was one of the biggest problems, Costa was there to make money and did this at every opportunity. After afternoon tea at five o'clock ALL free food and drink was cleared away , there was not even water out ( only in your own bathroom). There was no buffet dinner, you had to eat in the dining rooms, even here there was only purchased bottled was available at dinner. Unless you had an upper class of cabin you had to pay for room service, which had a limited menu. If you were hungry in the evening you could buy a simple pizza, or pay to eat in one of the expensive restaurants. There is a daily paper saying what's on, on the back is the meal times in the dining rooms. This is the same every day except one when they change dinner hour , the only problem was they didn't bring this to peoples notice this caused friction to quite a few passengers who hadn't religiously read all the small print and turned up at the usual time. You have to keep in mind that there is a strict rule about bringing food and drink aboard, not even water or pop.
There were plenty of activities, loads of exercise types, several dancing classes, a few quizzes and no matter where you went there was music of some type, it got to be a job to find somewhere quiet. I felt sympathy for the passengers in Inside cabins who looked for a comfortable chair to sit and read and be able to take a bit of fresh air. I admit my preference was for the quizzes, the two girls who did it on my cruise did an excellent job, having to speak four languages and still make it a pleasure. Apparently head quarters set the quizzes and there were times when i wondered where they got the answers from. The shows in the theatre was fair, the ships company of dancers were very good, but some of the other acts to us came across third rate. The director of the shows (Cruise Director !!!) appears to think that if you mess about with the lighting it will improve the performance. This had a severe effect on the Magic show it was all done in semi darkness making it impossible to see the tricks. By continually flashing lights into the eyes of the audience it not only annoyed them but prevented them from seeing what was happening. Perhaps it was being English but I did not find the Comedian team at all funny ,in fact it demeaned the unfortunate passengers who were picked upon to take part in the act, we noticed several people walking out.
Our conclusions are that we will not be taking any more Costa cruises, we consider the extra costs of the other cruise lines are more than compensated by the more amenities
Excellent cabin, balcony very stiff takes a lot of effort to open, Television has only one english language channel - BBC World news. Shower curtain must be inside ledge or cabin floods. Ample storage if cases are under bed but one of the wardrobes has all the lifejackets in.