Having just returned, and travelled with Costa before a few years ago which was superb we decided to use them again, what a change and for the worse. Firstly, embarkembartion once on the ship was a nightmare, the crew had no idea where to direct the passengers to their cabins, I found the language a big barrier and I ended up on the ninth floor thinking it was my cabin but in actual fact I was sent to the buffet with luggage in hand. Once settled into the cabin we then had to do the emergency drill which was a joke, many didn't even wear their life jackets and were not checked for this, myself and my husband wasn't even checked to see if we had arrived, let alone accounted for, it wasn't until the following day did we receive a letter stating...as we hadn't attended the drill the evening before, we were to attend another one that day!
The ship is beautiful but is spoiled by the thousands of passengers which pass through and have no regard for fellow travellers on a daily basis, with the pushing and shoving which accumulates at the food stations and seating areas to eat the food. The queues are long and tiresome with no time to ponder on which food to put on the plate, it's like a conveyer belt of passengers which never stops. The public areas are very crowded and are a fight to obtain a nice relaxing atmosphere in a seated area. The bar prices are way over the top and with a surcharge on top of that which makes social drinking quite painful. You could order bar packages for several hundreds of £'s but to get your monies worth you would have to be completely out of it to appreciate the so called perk of the package.
The food where ever you chose to eat was a dismal experience with cold to luke warm plated meals or self service. It got to a point where we were dreading meal times because I hate cold food and we don't like bringing attention to ourselves by bringing it to the attention of crew members who couldn't understand English...at one point I did ask if my dinner could be put into the microwave...I even had to demonstrate in mimbe a microwave and said Ding Ding at the end, and to my amazement was told there are no microwaves on board, and yet when I challenged this to someone in authority he informed me they do indeed have microwaves!
The crew members never smile, they shuffle along the decks doing their usual duties but if they can get away with it they will...many a time I had to clear my own table from previous diners before I could set my cold food down. One of the water and ice machines in the buffet had been out of order for the whole two weeks of my trip, and meal times were the only time you got free water to drink. Tea and coffee was free at breakfast and afternoon tea, but the rest of the time you had to purchase, I've been on many cruise ships and this service has always been free!
The public toilets seemed to be a meeting place for the crew who mingled with the passengers to do their thing, I've never noticed this on other ships and must admit I'm not a fan. The sanitising stations are dotted around the ship but unfortunately hardly anyone uses them...they should be manned at the buffet and dining areas especially to ensure cross contamination is none existent. It only takes one mistake which could effect the entire ship and its reputation?
The evening entertainment in my view was on par with other ships, tired acts which were repeated for the benifit of new passengers, audience participation was the order of the day, which in another language other than your own is quite daunting. There were the usual dance classes, bingo etc etc, but nothing to write home about. In fact, instead of coming home relaxed and energised I am now looking to book a retreat where I can rest my loins and brains....I so need a holiday!