We took this cruise for two reasons: the great itinerary (initially 6 port stops in 6 days, although the last one in St. Maarten was cancelled after the Sept. hurricanes), and the fact that it was one of the only cruise ships departing from the Dominican Republic where we were spending 3 more weeks on this trip. All-in-all, we weren’t disappointed. We expected that the other passengers would be mostly European, but we were flabbergasted to find out that we were the amongst the only English-first-language passengers on the entire ship! (we only heard English being spoken by any passengers between themselves once on the entire cruise). The passengers were about 30% Italian, 30% French (including many from Martinique and Guadeloupe, and some French-Canadians), 30% Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking (I think mainly from South America), and 9.99% Northern European, who mostly had to communicate with the service crew in English, who were mostly Fillipino, Chinese and Indian, and English was their only second language. Anyway, we didn’t view this as a disadvantage since it lent a decidedly European flair to the cruise, and this may have been the reason that they assigned us our own table-for-two at dinner.
The Isla Catalina stop was basically a beach day at a very nice island beach just a few km off the coast of the D.R. near La Romana. The other four port stops were four very interesting and beautiful islands of the Lesser Antilles, St. Kitts, Antigua, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. We were not interested in beach, catamaran or scuba tours and wanted to see the interior, seascapes, and historical sites on these islands. We only took one Costa tour (in St. Kitts) due to the relatively short port stop, and we had previously booked the remainder of shore tours via the internet with private operators, all of which were probably better, longer, and cheaper than those offered by Costa.
The food was generally very good, especially in the main dining room, where the dinners were six courses with fresh plates and the right cutlery for each course, and the service was excellent. It was mainly Italian with only limited pasta, with mainly fresh ingredients in imaginative dishes. However, beef and shrimp offerings were limited, and steak and lobster were never offered except for a significant additional cost, even for the gala dinner. The desserts at dinner, especially the chocolate ones, and also in the buffet at meal and snack times, were excellent. Every day they offered excellent small sandwiches, real Italian pizza, and those excellent desserts in the buffet. However, that was it for snack foods.