We have always cruised with Costa for 8 years and tried MSC and P&O only to find ourselves return to Costa purely for the great food, entertainment and welcoming staff. But over the years their system has changed dramatically and on this particular cruise we found that everything is money orientated and here is a list of what I mean:
1) Costa always provided water at dinner times on previous cruises but now they expect everyone to PAY for the water (and its not cheap at just under 4euros) and to top it of they automatically charge service charge of 15% which I find absolutely ridiculous.
2) We always had pizza on Costa including the evenings but the systems has changed where you'll have to pay for pizza. And the pizza at lunch time is nothing like pizza but a blob of pitta bread and cheese. An Italian cruise and no pizza UNLESS YOU PAY!
3) We were use to having gelato ice cream for dessert during dinner time but now....no ice cream at all. You'll have to go deck 5 and pay for it. Yet again Italian cruise no gelato UNLESS YOU PAY!
4) No sauna or steam room on this cruise UNLESS YOU PAY for the samsara package. Ridiculous.
5) Had a dispute with our cabin steward on deck 9. On the second evening he didn't leave the itinerary sheet on our bed like they do every evening. The following morning I asked him if he can provide me one as I do need to know what time the ship was leaving and whats going on in the ship. He was adamant he put the sheet on my bed but I told him I had nothing (if I did I wouldn't have to ask!) he threw a strop and said now he has to go down to reception to get me one. I told him its fine, I can get it myself. Then he said he'll put 4 or 5 on my bed tonight. I told him I only need one. He wasn't happy that I said that.
Then few days later we noticed our cabin was hardly cleaned properly and that we threw away our costa cruise ship box! I approached him about it and he said he did throw it away because he THOUGHT it was rubbish! I said I need that box so I can bring my cruise ship back to UK is good condition. Plus he shouldn't throw anything away unless it was in the BIN. He refused to acknowledge anything I say then said sarcastically he'll pay me back $100, $200 or $300! I was numbed. I told him I just need the box I don't want your money. Then he said hes worked on Costa for 16 yrs and said hes never experienced someone like me! I was fuming! I paid to come on holiday and get treated like I'm in prison camp. To top it of I had to pay 9euros daily for this kind of treatment? Theres a party of 10 of us and we pay 90euros each day for this service!!!? Not on! I complained to the reception and they made him give me back my box and apologized. I've honestly never experienced anything like this and this is my 16th cruise!
6) Don't expect hot breakfast on this cruise. The last order is at 9AM and if you do happen to arrived 2 minute before they'll treat you like crap. The food is cold and they walk around with luke warm coffee and tea and seem to ignore you when you want milk? Not happy. They used to serve hot breakfast buffet in the mornings and now that the system has changed alot of people were complaining.
7) We have built up points over the years and as we are pearl Gold members we always had our club photos for free and this always included pictures with the captain. Now they only give you one photo (without the captain) and they take several pictures and only to print the free photo when some of us in the picture had our eyes closed and print the good picture on the bigger photo and expect 15euros for it! This was not just my experience but other cruisers complained about it. They basically purposely choose to give you the picture when everyone isn't ready and expect you to pay for the decent pictures. SO yet again UNLESSS YOU PAY you won't get a decent club photo.
8) Over the 8 years we have been cruising we built up our costa club points to Pearl Gold. But their new systems has changed so that any point gained before 3 years of cruise will automatically be deleted. This will make it impossible for us to maintain our pearl gold status unless we do world cruises with them atleast twice a year.
I'm not a person who normally write reviews or to complain about things. But I honestly felt like Costa cruises have gone downhill and everything is done to their profiting and not to customers satisfactory. We cruise 2 to 3 times and year with Costa but we will change and try other cruises. The only up side to the cruise is the beauty of the ship and the entertainment. But theres so many lows. :(