The dates worked for us, the itinerary looked fine and we were excited to share good family time aboard a new ship that promised a high quality cruise experience and delicious Italian food. We occasionally choose cruise ship travel with our 2 young adult daughters and their partners and especially appreciate extended dinners, good food and excellent service. We were stunned on our first night at the horrible food that was brought to us. It was both indistinguishable and inedible! Apparently the "new design" of this cruise ship contains a single mid ship kitchen that is tasked with preparing (90% of food served on this ship is designated on menus as previously frozen for compliance reasons.) This means that wait staff must run to mid ship to get food items, thus the food is often cold, delayed and brought in random sequence throughout the meal. We were entertained watching other passengers look alarmingly and curiously at their food -- wondering what it was and how curious it looked and how bad it often tasted. This is sad. Menu item descriptions were not clear and on several occasions a different item would be brought for the same item description. The ship personnel did their very best to make guests happy -- clearly they were put into an impossible situation. We noted the "rank" of employees, especially in the cafeteria where managers would rudely "bark orders" and lower ranking waiters and table clearers. This made us very uncomfortable. To be fair, given the price of these cruises, customers don't pay for high end food. They tried to make us happy and brought us requested vegetables and white rice to us nightly so we could get some nutrition. So strange also to be on a ship that does not have coffee and/water available throughout the day. They charged for water! Entertainment was average to below average with an amazing acrobatic show. Low to mid range singers and lots of tacky videos accompanied by "porn like" sound tracks. It was laughable -- The rooms were nice and clean and the ship was very clean, of course it was new. In one of the ships areas there were so many pillars you could see from way to many seats. One day while returning to the ship we were forced to stand in line for nearly an hour waiting for new passengers to go through the desk. People had been waiting for up to 2 hours because they didn't have enough desk staff. Management was responsive and seemed to care but are helpless because this ship and the way it is run falls way below the mark for the average cruise customer. In the future we will avoid COSTA cruise. What irks me most is that COSTA knows it is delivering this kind of cruise experience and I don't think they care, once they have your money, they will do their best to placate you thought the experience. We still had a great time with our family and exploring the towns where we docked. Pool is super NOISY - no place for quiet reading time like on many ships. No Library or Internet/Computer Lounge. Pretty much what you read here in other reviews about the disappointing aspect of the Smerelda are true. Reading these reviews reminded us of aspects of the cruise we downplayed when we are on it, but all of it is true. Literally can not get a slice of pizza or ice cream on this ship without paying more. Stay away from Smerelda Inedibelda !