I brought my elderly parents on a Cruise for New Years. We have been on other Costa ships before as well as the Norwegian Gem. I was very concerned when I saw the terrible reviews for this ship. Our previous experiences with Cost were quite good, so when I saw the very cheap price, I booked right away.
Well, I was glad to see that the poor reviews were not reflective of our experience. Although there is room for improvement, the overall experience was quite good.
Let me start with the positives:
The food in the dining room was very good. A bit hit or miss, though. Some days/evenings it was delicious, others it was just ok. But it was never bad. We went there for most breakfasts, lunches when it was open, and all dinners. Our waiter was fabulous. Although he was very busy he never made us wait or feel like we were asking for too much, even when we asked for a different entree or dessert because the one the next table ordered seemed delicious!
All the staff was very friendly, approachable and willing to help with any requests.
The negatives were few and far between:
The buffet was NOT GOOD. The food was mediocre at best and the lines were ridiculous. There were far too few sections open at all times. There were always some sections closed and with a full ship, that shouldn't happen.
When we first arrived, it was about 4:30 by the time we went to our room and got settled. When we went to the buffet it was closed! I thought that was ridiculous. This was our 5th cruise and on embarkation day, we could always find something to eat. The servers we spoke to told us we had to wait until the buffet reopened at 6:30. Well, with two elderly parents, I wasn't going to give up. Finally, we found the buffet manager who made us 3 plates of food to eat. It was very nice of him, but I didn't appreciate having to hunt someone down to beg for a meal after we paid for an all inclusive cruise.
Another thing I think needs to be looked in to is the accessibility for the disabled. I was very happy to see that on the second day at the pool, many lounge chairs had disability reserved signs on them. It was great. However, I didn't realize this was only because the ship was in its first port. When most people left the ship for excursions, the disabled signs were place on the loungers, when the ship was at sea, the signs disappeared. This makes absolutely no sense. When the ship was docked there were tons of empty loungers. There was no need for the signs. When the ship was at sea there was nowhere to sit. That's when the signs should have been out.
The worst part was that the people on the ship (tourists) were so rude! They took towels off loungers and claimed them for their own. And I don't mean those loungers where people placed towels and didn't return for hours (that happened too). I mean I left my towel on a chair, brought my dad to the handicapped bathroom (I was gone for about 5-6 minutes) and when I returned someone had removed my towel and put their things on my chair! And try getting into an elevator with a person using a walker! People don't even let those on the elevator exit, before they shove in! We often times were the first people waiting for an elevator (we actually pushed the button) and when the elevator arrived, were not able to get on because those who came after su beat us to it! I don't expect special treatment because my dad has a walker, but I do expect that if i get to the elevator first and a bunch of other people arrive, they let the first people go first. Or is that just a Canadian thing? I never have this issue in Canada!
Finally, the only other thing I didn't like was that just about everything cost extra! I mean even pizza and hamburgers! They had regular hamburgers at the pool grill during the day and they were very good, but if you wanted one for dinner it was considered a specialty restaurant. This was true for pizza as well. I get that the fine dining restaurants would cost more, but pizza and burgers?
Other than that it was a very nice trip. The cruise line can't control the behaviour of the guests, which was the main problem.
If you can put up with rude travelers, you will be fine.
Clean and adequate. Always had clean linens and Adrian was always very accommodating.