We chose this cruise because of the dates and the itinerary, which fit with other travel plans. Also, the price for the cruise was extremely reasonable compared to other cruise lines making the same itinerary. However, we were hesitant about booking with Costa, largely because of the negative reviews on this and other sites from U.S. Citizens.
But I must conclude that these negative reviews were wildly off base, and could only be from the kind of malcontents who obsess about minor matters. The cruise was exceptionally pleasant at every turn. We were taken care of with enormous consideration and hospitality, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. This cruise was one that is organized by Costa for its Costa Club members, many hundreds of whom were on board, so I am prepared to think that there may have been special care taken for this group of loyal passengers, but the entire atmosphere on board was one of continual attentiveness to passenger needs and comfort. One of the passengers had cruised with Costa 84 times! (She got an award), and there were many who had been on this cruise line dozens of times, so it is hard to believe that they were dissatisfied with their experiences.
We were two of only very few native English speakers on board, although we speak the main languages used on the ship (Italian, Spanish, French, German), we were made to feel completely welcome with a special English language guest director, and all excursions with English guide options. We were on the ship over the 4th of July, and the ship arranged a 4th of July party just for us (only 5 U.S. Citizens).
This was an independent "self-discovery" tour of the city of Bremen. The bus dropped us off in a convenient place right near the center of Bremen. The cathedral, Rathaus, and other sights were easily accessible. We had a great lunch in a local seafood restaurant. All in all, a very pleasant visit at an economical price.
This was a highlight tour of the cruise through the Lofoten island chain above the Arctic circle seeing a fish processing plant, an open air museum and having a great lunch. The landscapes were stunning.
The cable car to the top of the mountain over Narvik was not to be missed. A great tour also of the war museum teaching us a lot about Norway's role in WWII
The main stop on this tour was the Romsdal open air museum showing traditional Norwegian culture--a charming place with traditional buildings and crafts, and a group of young girls performing folk dances to a traditional fiddle. The tour also visited the Molde cathedral and a stunning vista point above the town. Molde is the "city of roses" and is beautiful and charming.
A charming visit to a former cheese factory-- a cave full of troll statues where Norwegian pancakes and a tour through the countryside and the charming traditional streets of Stavanger.