My wife and I went on our first cruise with a friend who had arranged it.I had some trepidation after booking (we agreed to the trip and booked it just 3 weeks before sailing), after reading the reviews on CC. With nothing to compare it to, we both had a good time on the boat.Not once did I encounter rude behavior by the staff and apparently some of the issues that others raised I didn't experience.
The food was good, but not great.Others wrote that there was no buffet food available if you missed dinner but the buffet was open 5 of the 7 nights we were on board, the exceptions being the two nights the Gala dinner was going on. Our cabin steward, Suresh, was very good, and we weren't lacking for anything we needed.The shows were good, especially the two singers from South Africa who both had good voices that could handle a variety of song styles.Some of the lounge acts were from Cliché City (how many times can you hear "The Girl from Ipanema"?), but the Alterra Disco Bar band had everybody on the dance floor at all times.
Now for the Costa Company.My wife is from the Dominican Republic and our friend ,also from the DR, was visiting friends and family in Spain when she saw the Costa Baltics cruise special.We agreed and through email and phone set it up with a Spanish travel agency.I wanted to book some shore excursions and modify the trip, but was unable to because the travel agent booked it on Costa's Spain website, which is only available if you live in Spain! One excursion in St. Petersburg to Catharine the Great's palace was scheduled for Tuesday-except the palace isn't open on Tuesday.A Stockholm city tour included a museum visit which closed 20 minutes after we got there.You can book excursions from your room through your TV, except that two of the ones we wanted were said to be unavailable but our friend got them later in the day at the office (which had a very long line).
I always thought that inside rooms were about the size of a closet, but this was very roomy with plenty of space for our things.