My overall impression of Costa Cruises is one of obtaining clients with attractive advertised prices for their cruises but falling short of the quality and service of cruise lines like Holland America, Cunard & Norwegian. None are perfect but Costa appears to recoup the majority of its profits by charging for additional items that are included by competitor companies. The ship and our stateroom were well appointed and our maid and dining staff were pleasant and efficient, a credit to the company.
It appears that whilst our ship 'the 'Serena' has accommodation for 3000+ guests it does not have the resources to cater for this number.
The sun lounger policy is an example. My wife and I wished to use a sun lounger each but because all the available sun loungers were either being used by guests or reserved by them we had to resort to using those that were stacked on deck 11. I was among at least twenty guests who were forced to use these loungers; one lady had to carry four to the sun deck and I had to carry one for one elderly lady who wished to use one. Costa Cruises claims it has a strict policy of not allowing guests to reserve sunbeds but this policy is completely ignored by guests and not enforced by the company. Indeed when I approached a senior female officer she said the company cannot remove towels from reserved sunbeds; but I would be allowed to!
The food at our evening dining room was fine but on one occasion at breakfast we were served porridge oats which were very bitter, which my wife said was due to the food being burnt. We advised the waiter and he simply removed the dishes without showing any interest and not offering to replace them.
There is a blind spot at late afternoon when it is impossible to obtain any refreshment like tea or coffee unless paying for it. Also a Spanish guest simply asked for cold water at breakfast and was told he would be charged for it.
There are inadequate bar staff attending the open upper decks, the buffet breakfast & lunch is like a cattle market with guests to-ing & fro-ing between their chosen table and the food stations. As trays are not supplied it means getting up at least 3/4 times in the meal thereby increasing the congestion at the food stations.
The overall feelings from fellow passengers was 'you get what you pay for' and I would willingly pay more for a better standard and less crowded ship.
Well appointed clean stateroom with good shower-room and ample wardrobe space