This was my first Costa cruise. It was my honeymoon and because of that we splurged for a mini-suite. This gave us certain benefits such as first boarding group and first disembarkation group, a fruit basket refilled everyday and a bottle of sparkling wine. We also had a "water package" which gave us water at dinner although since we bought the drink package we would have had the water anyway.
We got to the port in Barcelona via train/metro/blue bus from the airport. We arrived just after 1:00 but could not board until 2:00. There was a bar in the waiting area and we were given a free non-alcoholic drink which I think was part of having a suite. There was also free wifi.
The good points were the cleanliness of ship, the many lounges with live music and dancing, the cabin attendant and the entertainment. They did a good job of handling the multiple languages.
As a member of the English speaking minority it was a little difficult to meet new people as so few spoke English. We knew that going into this and it was our honeymoon so it was not much of a problem.
The bad was the high cost of the excursions, especially shuttles into town. We only took a shuttle once into Marseilles at 10.95 euro each. We were warned several times about possible danger in Marseilles because of terror threats and a marathon being held in the city the day we were there (just days before the Brussels bombing)
At Palma de Mallorca there is a city bus just outside the terminal for 1.5 euro and a stop of the hop on hop off bus which we did use and found to be good.
In La Spezia we were faced with a train strike and could not go to Cinque Terre as planned and instead took a city bus to Porto Venere a lovely village very much like the Cinque Terre villages. There was also a bazaar in town that day with plenty of shopping.
In Civitavecchia we took the train to Rome. We took the port bus from the ship and then walked to the train station. There was also a bus for 2 euro to the train station from where the port bus drops you off. If we had known where the port bus drops off we would have just walked from the ship to the train stations it would have been a shorter walk. The train was just over an hour to Termini station. I'd suggest getting off at St. Peter's as it is less time on the train and right by the Vatican (and a long but interesting walk to other sights). If you never been to Rome it might be better to take the see-it-all-in-a-day tour.
In Savona we rented a car and drove to Monte Carlo. We took a taxi to Europcar for a flat fee of 15 euro and walked back to the ship. Driving to Monaco is not for the faint of heart. The narrow street with switchbacks all the way down the mountain was scary and even worse going back up because we had a standard transmission and those hills were steep! The city is beautiful as is the scenery on the way to and from (mostly highway driving). Gotta love all those tunnels.
Getting off in Barcelona we took the Blue bus to the Christopher Columbus statue and then walked to our hotel on Las Ramblas, dropped our luggage and then took a hop on hop off tour of the city. Great way to see the city.
The ugly was the food service and sometimes the food. Our waiter had an bad attitude especially toward guests who arrived late which my husband did one night. Our beverage waiter was great and remembered what we wanted each night. If you miss your dinner seating you can go to the 10th floor but will have to pay 5 euro.
We generally ate breakfast in the dining room where we could order off a menu and/or have some of a buffet. The breakfast buffet on the 10th floor had more variety but we didn't use that until the last day. I prefer my food made fresh. The "juices" were sweetened and watered down. The coffee started out great but as the week went on the quality diminished. One could always get a great fresh made cup of coffee, espresso or cappuccino at a bar. Since I had the drink package it was included. Fresh orange juice was not part of the package, however.
There were various parts of the 10th floor buffet open at different times between noon and 5:00 for lunch. Sometimes it was very limited which was unfortunate for those boarding the ship later in the day. We witnessed staff pulling back trays of food while people were actively taking food off of them.
As expressed by others it was sometimes difficult to find a place to eat and the silverware was hanging on racks at each table - something I found very un-hygienic.
In general, I found the food unappetizing and some nights had trouble finding something that I would like. I may be somewhat biased because I did contract some intestinal illness on board and was very sick for two days and ate little for two days after that. My husband always found something to eat but found it heavy and heavily sauced. I was expecting Italian food such as I have had travelling in Italy but that was not the case.
I am not sure that I would every cruise with Costa again because of the food issue and the poor service we had relating to the food.
Oddly shaped but it had a large balcony and decent sized bathroom. The odd shape made it seem smaller than it was. It is directly over a bar on the 5th deck which had music late into the night. Light sleepers might find this an issue. The location at the back of the ship made for long walks to the entertainment, dining and disembarkation.