I love cruising and have been on many before. My partner however had never been. We thought a Costa short break would be a great way to introduce him. I’ve travelled on Costa before so I knew it wouldn’t be the same standard as Royal Caribbean or Princess but we are so disappointed with Costa after this trip that I will never cruise with them again. The apathy of the staff and customer service representatives are the most disappointing elements. We decided to get a suite which came with some nice perks like a free pass to the spa, a drinks package, personal butler, and free access to the club restaurant. Most of these things were not worth the ticket price. The room was great and always clean - we really cannot complain about the quality of the rooms, they are dated but comfortable. This is true for the entire ship really- everything looks like it was designed in the 90s but is still clean and functional. However this is not enough to make me consider cruising with them again. Our main complaints surround their customer service.
1) before we left for the cruise we called up to find out the itinerary- with most cruise lines they give these to you in advance so you know dress codes and arrival times for the ports. We never received this so I called Costa (I massively regret not emailing now). They told me we arrived in Barcelona at 8am and could disembark at 9am. We booked a tour of Sagrada Familia (not with Costa) for 12:30. Well it turns out that was incorrect and we didn’t arrive until 1300. We wasted 50€ on tickets that were unusable (we tried but failed to get in). We returned to the ship and spoke to the hospitality desk. They told me I was too vague and they couldn’t do anything. Despite phone records proving I made a call to them they decided I was wrong and simply misunderstood what I was told. No compensation given.
2) when playing in the casino one evening we won 180€ playing poker. We cashed out on our Costa card and left for our cabin, we were pleased and thought hey this compensates a bit for the missing 50€ from earlier. Unsure of how the casino works we just assumed this credit would be applied to our final bill but we didn’t receive the final bill until the morning of disembarking. Highly unusual for a ship as it give the customer no time to register any issues with their final bill. This is when we realised that we needed to get the cash from the casino directly. Again we went to hospitality who said no problem it will open at 9and we can get the money then. We waited for 45 minutes and no one came. They kept saying just wait someone is on their way but if we stayed any longer we would have missed our flight so we had to leave. We instantly contacted Costa and asked to be compensated and we were told too bad. This left us 230€ in the hole with the two issues combined. It’s interesting that they have no problem charging the room for the casino but have big issues crediting the room.
Other issues we encountered:
Using the spa - they fail to tell you that you can only use your free access to the spa when in port. We came back early from Marseille to use the spa and the entire time we were there they had tours going through the spa. I was changing in the change room and had a constant stream of new passengers taking a tour of the facilities. I found this very humiliating and uncomfortable- not the relaxing experience I was hoping to have.
The club restaurant - you get the same food as the main dining hall. We saw no difference except we didn’t have a set dining time and it was quieter. However with this also meant we missed out on some of the fun of the main dining hall and didn’t get the farewell celebration that the main restaurants got.
The drinks package was great - no complaints on this end. Definitely worth it to not have to worry about your drink bill.
Our butler was polite but I’m not sure what he did. Definitely wasn’t worth the extra service charge we were charged for his apparent services.
Anytime we spoke to someone we simply asked for on board credit - we would have happily spent this money on board or something towards future travel but every time Costa replied too bad and they hope it doesn’t affect our trust in Costa. Well it certainly has and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to convince my partner to cruise again.
If you decide to cruise with Costa get everything in writing and remember that this is a budget cruise. They couldn’t care less about your experience and are simply packing people on board to take as much as they can. We’ve been burnt by them and will avoid them forever.