Wanted to try a different cruise line so chose Costa, the ship was lovely and I can't fault the cabin or the public areas very regal and good quality finishes however our experience was somewhat coloured by the type of clientele the ship attracts, I can only compare to one of the hop on hop off buses which are plentiful in the ports we visited as the ship takes on and disembarks passengers at every port we called at so it seems there was always a complement of people walking around the ship with some form of luggage. The lido deck which offers a buffet for all mealtimes is fine if you can get close enough to get something and be warned if they are serving seafood be prepared for the frenzy that takes place by the Italian passengers who seem to want to feed the world with the amount they pile up on numerous plates. We resorted to the restaurant for our meals but apart from the evening meal when we had a reserved table the rest was hit and miss with over worked waiting staff trying their best to take and deliver orders for food and drink extending your time at table to sometimes a couple of hours. The cruise line offers most things at a price, we bought a drinks package that covered alcohol and coffees however did not include ice cream which my husband loves usually finishing his evening meal with some but this was not possible unless we paid extra. Pizza parlour was also an extra charge and not included on the menu. Excursions not cheap and it seemed a lot to pay for places like ancient monuments and churches so we opted for town visits, once again we had to pay for shuttle buses into town which were expensive in comparison to other cruise lines which normally offer these as standard and only in some cases charge a minimum fee. The only free shuttle buses was at Civitteccia put on by the port authority. The shows were mostly in Italian and geared toward the Italians even the compere introduced the acts in various languages before getting to an English version which seemed short in comparison to the others making us feel as though we were missing out. The ship attracted lots of families with young children who could often be found playing in the lifts unsupervised and causing havoc, we also noticed mid cruise we had what seemed like school parties with hoards of teenagers who were loud and boisterous and possibly just old enough to drink and smoke. On the plus side we had a great room steward Melvin who looked after the cabin and our waiter in the restaurant of an evening Ramesh who couldn't do enough for us and really made some of the cruise bearable, along with some lovely people sat at our table who we will stay in touch with.
Our arrival at the port of Barcelona was much too early for the ship and although our luggage was checked in at 11am we had a 3 hour wait before being allowed to board and had to spend this in a large arrivals hall which fortunately had a café, coming home we disembarked at 9.30 and had to wait for our pick up for just over an hour with no seating and being moved to the outside of the building to wait in the cold. This of course was not down to Costa but the tour Company we had booked with which I shall not use again. Overall I would not recommend this cruise line to English paying passengers it seems a waste of good money especially when other cruise lines offer more competitive prices
The cabin was really spacious and well looked after by our steward Melvin we requested the beds to be split and this was done immediately, would have liked to use the balcony but it was much too cold
the walk from ship to catch a bus into town was quite a distance and would not recommend to users with walking difficultes
not quite so far to walk but really busy roads outside the port did a hop on hop off tour and walked around the town found the town quite dirty with dog poo fouling the sidewalk and rubbish dumped everywhere
port authorities provided a free shuttle bus to the terminal and then we had a short walk into town, very nice with a selection of shops and cafes
gave this rating as the weather was so cold we only made it to the 1st cafe and came back to the ship
paid for the shuttle bus into town however the driver grunted to us when we asked which way to the town we followed most of the passengers and walked by the Marina up as far as the small christmas market but again it was really cold had coffees then walked back to the pick up point, realised we had gone in the wrong direction and should have shopped at the port malls