I read alot of reviews and I have cruised every major line except Celebrity. This was my first time on a Costa ship which is geared towards Europeans however I am American. This review is based on an American sailing, not one in Europe or otherwise.
I am not going to waste your time regarding ports of call. You can research those yourself. However I am giving an honest review based on a comparison of other 7 day cruises I have taken. A cruise is what you make of it. Stay flexible and go with the flow. Being unreasonable or impatient generally does not work to your advantage.
Sailing from Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) was one of the fastest embarkations I have ever had. It literally took 30 minutes. Somewhat shocking considering some wait times on other cruises lasting 2 or 3 hours. This cruise departs the port late in the evening at 11pm however you can begin boarding at 1pm with last call at 9pm. This is smart because it gives a wide range of boarding times given its 3000+ passengers.
The 7 day itinerary was Freeport, Bahamas, sea day, Grand Turk, Amber Cove (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic), sea day, Nassau, Bahamas for a Dec 2019 sailing. Itineraries and weather events should not be included in a fair review as they do not fairly represent the ship or its crew.
Costa is generally regarded as a budget friendly cruise line. Costa is actually owned by Carnival. Price was the main reason why I decided to try the Luminosa. She is a well layed out ship that is easy to navigate. In relation to other cruise brands, I was pleasantly surprised. Cleanliness was superb. The ship was spotless. One of the cleanest ships I have ever been on. No worn carpets, nothing shabby in need of repair. Take note Royal Carribean! Crew was fantastic and generally stayed out of your way. What a refreshing change from the hard sell on Norwegian and Royal Carribean with crew members that pester you hourly for an opportunity to upcharge you. None of that here. That was a real surprise.
The cabins are clean and well sorted. Beds were comfortable. Not soft, not hard. Standard amenities which are the same as any other brand. Shower was curtain style and a bit larger than others which was nice. The tv is not large. Unless you are legally blind, it doesn't need to be but it is the smallest of all the lines I have cruised.
The food...was fantastic. So let me quantify this. If you are planning on eating cheseburgers, pizza and fries for 7 days then this is probably not the best choice. Unlike other brands, Costa charges you for pizza from their pizza restaurant. No ice cream machines on board but a gelato stand which again is an extra charge. On American sailings, water is complementary and coffee (American) is too from well hidden machines at the back of the buffet on level 9. Juices are complimentary at breakfast (sit down and buffet). Lunch is water and coffee and Dinner is water only on American sailings only. Otherwise you need to purchase a drink package. No free lemonade or ice tea unlike other brands. Now about the food. Naturally it is geared to Europeans...more specifically Italians. This should not come as a surprise! If you are willing to wander out of your comfort zone you will be richly rewarded! Breakfast is standard fare at the buffet but at sit down there are 7 or 8 different breakfast possibilities based on different nationalities. Croissants are available with creme filling (nutella chocolate or lemon) and jam also or plain. The donuts are, well...outstanding! Never had anything like these on another liner. Lunch was again, a surprise. Lunch starts later around 12 or 12:30 which is common in Europe but later than American standards. Tons of fresh made selections and of course fresh made pasta of every possible concoction. Some I have never seen or tasted before. Straight up, forget American Italian as the pasta I tasted blows anything cooked stateside out of the water. Veal, and even rabbit at the sit down restaurant for lunch. Dinner, again like lunch is served later. First sitting at 6pm and second at 8:30 or 9pm. Buffet starts around 6:30pm. Food was again, outstanding with usually 5 courses of small to medium plates with one plate always a pasta. All of it was delicious, well presented and warmly served. And yes, even lobster...which has conspicuously disappeared from many other brands I have recently sailed including Royal Carribean and Norwegian. I was shocked at the seafood given the pricepoint compared to the big American players. I never had an issue getting a table at the buffet even though the ship sailed full.
About the shows, well they are fun but they do not compare to Royal Carribean or even Norwegian. However, they are fun. They just aren't as polished. I am ok with this given the pricepoint. But...the lounge musicians and singers were first rate. If you sit at the bar at night, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Service was first rate and quite a surprise given the target audience and pricepoint. I never had an issue with the crew and everything was in order throughout the cruise. The crew works very hard on this ship without interfering. I cannot say enough about how well this ship was run! My room steward does not come in 3 times a day to check on me which was kind of refreshing...leave me alone and let me enjoy the balcony view in privacy. Given the numerous languages, announcments can take a bit of time. It is rare they come directly to your cabin so all in all, not bad.
So here it comes...there are a few issues. You knew there would be, right? First. If you are in the second sitting group for dinner at 9pm and want to get into the first you are going to become extremely frustrated. I mean EXTREMELY frustrated. You will become SO frustrated that you will google Italian swear words to use with the maitre d which will get you kicked out. The Luminosa uses a traditional seating system. There just aren't enough seats for all to sit so the second seating picks up the rest. Since there are 5 courses, it takes a bit of time to get through. In order to prepare for the second seating around 9pm, they turn all the lights on at 8:15pm which is a polite Italian way of saying get out. It works pretty well. If you are not at your table by 6:45pm, you will lose your spot and it will go to someone waiting in line from the second seating so make sure you are on time for the first seating. If you do not want to eat at 9pm, walk down at 6:45pm and there is a good chance you will get a seat. You will naturally have less time to eat though. The second issue is the water service. Just ask for a water bottle and save yourself the frustration of waiting for your glass to be filled...which generally doesn't happen quickly. Trust me on this. INSIST on a water bottle (which is free on American sailings) at your table (gas or no gas).
Internet was good. Not fast and not slow. The lowest package for texting only was a sensational value at $26 for 7 days. I used Whatsapp texting without issue for the whole cruise. Most other companies charge way more than this.
Were you expecting more negatives? So was I. But it never materialized. For me, Costa was an amazing value and quite a surprise! Needless to say, I will try them again. The Luminosa was a huge surprise at a sensational pricepoint. Dollar for dollar, given the cabin and food it should be at the top of your list if you are a budget minded shopper looking for a good cruise and willing to be somewhat flexible. The Costa Luminosa is like a ferrari. Beautiful, well sorted in her own way. Go with the flow and she will richly reward you. Work against her and you will have a miserable time.
Well done Costa Luminosa!
See above. Level 4 has larger balconies than other levels.
The beach directly in front of the dock is swimmable and beautiful.