Daily, each passenger is charged 10€ for "tips". On the first day, I asked what the tips went for, and I was informed that they were given to those people who provided services: busboys, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, food servers, cabin cleaners. GOOD! These professions are often underpaid and many people do not tip for those services. The day before my cruise ended, I asked one of the service people what they were going to do with their tips at the end of the cruise. (I don't want to get anyone in trouble, so I am making the job of the person generic.) There were slightly over 3500 customers and slightly under 1000 service workers. 11 days x 3500 people x 10 € = 385000 € ! So, I talked with one of the officers of food and beverage and asked where the money went. He smiled indulgently and explained that Americans view "tips" differently than Europeans. The money, he explained, went to the people in charge of the service workers! He further justified NOT giving it to any of the service people by saying that when they signed a contract, they KNEW it was for salary only. I told him that if I had known that my tip money did NOT go to the folks who provided DIRECT service, I would have carried euros around with me to tip those folks who served me! I talked to German, Italian and French cruise mates....and asked them what they thought the "tip" money was for and they explained to me that it was for those people who provide service: busboys, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, food servers, cabin cleaners! SO, they had the same thought as I. Fortunately, there was time to give the person who cleaned my cabin a tip. BUT, all those others didn't get tips and the person who cleaned my cabin told me that it is rare! (OF COURSE IT IS! PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE GIVING EVERY DAY!)
The daily excursions were pricey and there were FEW (only 2 out of 11) that had head sets for each member of the tour group. There were often 3-5 cruise ships in the port which meant that there were hundreds, possibly thousands going ashore to see THE sights that made the town famous/important etc. Each tour group was 30-40 people and unless you were directly in front of the person (obviously impossible) you couldn't hear what was being said. The tour companies were hired/subcontracted by COSTA and when this issue was raised with the excursion folks on board, they explained that there was nothing they could do. When I spoke with the tour guides, they explained that the cost of head sets was too much for them....Additionally, the tour guides seemed to routinely get paid less than what I paid for the tour itself! (Another place to tip if you enjoyed the tour.)
The inside cabins were adequate for space and essentials (shower, tv, closets for clothes, small writing desk and small frig. Water was available daily but there was a charge (and service charge) for every bottle (approximately 3.25€ for 1 liter). The cabin was kept neat and clean by the person who serviced the cabin. The air quality/air circulation was terrible....the thermostat did not work consistently. The television worked occasionally....the good news is that I had books to read and wasn't on a cruise to watch tv. However, it would have been nice to see the news each day.
Communication was poor.....you could not tell when you were supposed to board.....signs were NOT help up for folks to see.
No headsets! It was impossible to hear the tour guide, though we walked through the town and by the canal and then through the Amber museum (which was the highlight of the tour). The tour guide (when you could hear) stated the obvious....this is the beach where people come to enjoy their summer holidays. This is the palace built by .....Not much history given and/or known (when asked).