We chose this cruise because of the itinery and largely because it was incredible value at £380 pp. Having read some reviews here we approached with an open mind (first time with Costa) but were very pleasantly surprised. The ship is very stylishly fitted out, we loved all the detail. All is spotlessly clean and doesn't look the 8 years old that it is. We were upgraded from an inside to a premier balcony cabin and given a lunch and dinner drinks package for free, both were very welcome and made it even better value.
We really can't fault anything at that price and it would be hard to even if we had paid twice as much. Food was superb. Service and staff without exception were extremely friendly, helpful and courteous. The only dining criticisms are that buffet hours are limited compared to our previous cruises with nothing available mid morning or after 9pm. Even breakfast and lunch are limited to less than two hours. Also, breakfast and lunch service in the dining room can be slow. Evenings were fine. Coffee and tea were only available from the machines during buffet hours. Water was always available (and was served at the dining table free). Of course everything is available if you pay for it.
Entertainment was good with musicians around the ship. The evening shows were of a high standard though not quite the P & O west end style productions. It is of course difficult on such an international ship to provide entertainment to suit all with the language issues.
Outside areas are good. Plenty of quiet or noisy areas to choice. We particularly like the 'stacked' rear decks where you can sit out in some shelter and enjoy the rearward view. Many modern ships lack this. We always managed to find a sunbed on sea days eventually but they need to clamp down on people reserving beds. We are not pool people but there are only two pools and the large one with the retractable roof was always enclosed, even on hot days. This made it noisy and steamy. This is probably the only area of the ship that shows it's age and not as stylish as the rest of the ship. It is also used for evening parties and lacks atmosphere. We had a look at the spa and it looked superb if that's your thing.
We don't do excursions so can't comment on these. It irked somewhat to be told it was a 4m walk to Corfu and Dubrovnik when it was 2km. This was just trying to sell the expensive shuttle tickets. The local buses, and even taxis if you share, are cheaper an 2km is a reasonable walk.
Some have commented about certain nationalities pushing in and jumping queues. We rarely experienced this (there are always a few rude individuals). We found all nationalities mixed very well and the atmosphere on board was lively yet well behaved.
All in all it is hard to believe we were on the same ship as some who have reviewed here. The above really is nitpicking but Costa need to know where they can improve an already top notch experience which genuinely is what it was. We had a fantastic time.