We decided to try the Costa Smerelda due to two reasons. Firstly it was only a few months old when we sailed (turned out three weeks due to the delay in sailing) and also the price. It was under £350.00 for a balcony cabin and easy jet had cheap flights.
The cruise started in Marseille and on arrival we had to wait about three hours for the Costa transfer. I would recommend getting an taxi from the airport stand as it is fixed price (45 euro) to the post. The Costa transfer was around £34 pound so about the same price with no wait, Loads of taxi as well. On arrival it was only about an hour to the departure time so straight on board with no queues.
The ship is like a large shopping centre with all restaurants like eating in a local takeaway. No grand rooms, no table clothes and plastic chairs to sit on. The atrium is not designed well with very few seats and in the two floors overlooking the stage most seats you watch a TV screen rather than the entertainment below,. The theatre is the same with limited views and most places watching a TV screen is the only way to see what is on. The front area was filled about 1 hour before the show started.