Let me just start by saying this: if Costa cruise line offered me an all expenses paid cruise to any of their destinations, I wouldn't take it. Costa is H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. If you haven't booked them yet, please trust me and save your money. I am on the ship right now as I type. I simply couldn't wait until I got home to do this review because I am so angry and disappointed. We are so miserable and unhappy on this ship that we hardly enjoy the cities once we arrive. Mostly lousy food, terribly uncomfortable and dirty accommodations make for a stressful, awful vacation. We are seriously considering getting off at the next port and heading home from Hamburg instead of Amsterdam, which is where the cruise ends. Our first impression of the ship (Mediterranea) was that the outside looked tired and dingy. The check-in process was very hectic, disorganized and chaotic. The hallway carpet is absolutely filthy, with clearly visible dirt and stains. The carpet in our room is completely disgusting, to the point where we dare not walk around without shoes. The ship's decor in the public areas is VERY cheap looking, gaudy and dated. We booked a 7-day cruise in a 3 person cabin. It is decorated in colors of the 1980's - light peach, mauve and turquoise.
The bedding is very minimal: one thin comforter, no flat sheet. So, if you get hot at night and only need a light covering, too bad. All you get is a comforter. The extra blankets they provided are very old and worn, they smell awful, and they have rips and tears in them. One extra blanket actually has a huge, yellow stain. I have no idea what it is but it looks like urine. This ship is in DESPERATE need of updating/renovation and of a deep, thorough cleaning. The beds are extremely, ridiculously firm (like nothing I've ever felt, like sleeping on wood) so we can barely get up each morning as we are aching all over, in pain from the awful beds. Food in the buffett is mediocre and it is THE SAME EVERY DAY! Sure, you might have mashed potatoes one day then sliced, roasted potatoes the next but there is very little change to the menu, for breakfast and for dinner. The meats are pretty much always overcooked, and most food items are luke warm, rarely piping hot. Very limited desserts at the buffet...one day, there were only two choices! The waiters/waitresses walk around like unhappy zombies, never smiling and interacting with passengers grudingly and with zero enthusiasm. And most of the employees in other areas are snarky, rude, barely tolerant and blatantly disrespectful to passengers. If you dont purchase a drink package of any kind, all you get to drink is water, except at breakfast and at "tea time", which is from 4-5p daily. At breakfast, you get unlimited juice, coffee and tea and at tea time, you get coffee and tea, no juice. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy water. We considered buying a drink package until I figured out that the cheapest, non-alchoholic drink package is like €69 (approximately $77 per person USD), and you only get a total of 20 drinks per person for the whole 7-days! That amounts to about $3.85 per drink. That is a total ripoff. So, in our luggage, we brought empty, leakproof plastic bottles from home (Dollar Tree) and fill them with juice at breakfast every morning. We dont let the waiters see us but it's pretty easy to do. Just fill the provided cups with juice (pineapple, grapefruit, orange and apple), bring them to your table, and when the waiter isnt looking, fill your container. There is a little refrigerator in the room so we kept it in there. Had we known, we would have also brought a thermos for hot water or coffee, so we could have it later in the day, without having to pay for it. I'm only giving this advice to those who've already booked and will lose money if they cancel. Otherwise, JUST DON'T BOOK ANY CRUISE ON COSTA!!!! They nickel and dime you for everything! For example, ice cream isn't free on Costa...you have to pay extra for it. The restaurants and buffets completely close down for hours and, unless you pay, there is nothing to eat until they open back up or you are willing to pay for the pizza station or something else that remains open. The buffet closes at 9 or 10 at night and doesn't reopen until 7am! It also closes for some hours before opening back up for dinner. There is nothing for my 12-year old son to do. There are stand alone activities here and there (a lot of them you must pay extra for, like playing Xbox games and air hockey), but no actual kids' club for his age range. There is no movie theater and the shows are kitschy, amateurish and just not well done. At port, they charge you to take a bus into the city center. Yesterday, we arrived into LeHavre, France and were told that it would cost €13 ($15 or so USD) roundtrip, per person to take the Costa provided shuttle to the city center. Turns out the ride is literally about 4 minutes! We opted to walk (for free) and it only took about 20 minutes. The library was closed during prime daylight hours on our day at sea, so my son (who'd run out of his own books to read) had to sit and do nothing. We went to the library 4 or 5 times, at different times of day, and although the room was open, all of the books were locked away. This cruise is BOOOOORRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGG. I could go on writing for hours about how awful this cruise is but suffice it to say: Celebrity is world's above Costa, absolute perfection from beginning to end. They make a laughingstock of Costa...there is absolutely no comparision. Save your money and book pretty much any other cruise line but Costa.
Awful overall, but there are a couple of good points. Refrigerator is cold, drawers and wardrobes easily accomodate belongings of three people, food in dining room (not buffett) is very good as is the fantastic service from our waiter Oscar Morales. The gym has lots of good equipment. The cabin just looks very dirty and the beds are all so uncomfortable that we all dread when it is time for bed since we know how much our backs are going to hurt in the morning.