Having had been on 10+ cruises before (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, MSC) I have to say that this cruise line is the worst when it comes to customer service. Travelers used to good customer service should not sail with Costa.
We sailed as a family for New Years 2018, and while we had a good vacation overall, it certainly was not due to the staff aboard the Costa Deliziosa. It felt like not only were they understaffed at all times, every day; but the staff was also grumpy - felt like they were just there to get the job done and get their paycheck.
While you can see the details of our experience below, overall, I would not want to sail Costa again, or would recommend it to any American friends, or anyone that expects decent customer service.
So here we go with the detailed review:
~~~Let's start with some general good things I liked about the experience:
+ Boarding process was very quick (both on the first day, as well as when we got off/on at the various islands).
+ For international passengers, they do a good job at making the announcements in various languages (it's obnoxious as they get longgg, but good for those that speak something other than English or Italian)
+ Bags were delivered very promptly on both the first day, as well as the departure date.
+ While the variety of food wasn't doing it for us, the quality of the food was really good compared to other ships.
+ A lot of great live music throughout the ship every night / they have a lot of bars
+ Drinks package and upgrade to the middle tier package was worth it. Lots of drinking throughout the week.
+ Mobile app with free chatting (only available for iPhone) was very useful to find each other on the ship as well as to see the the daily planner.
~~~But the list of bad things outweighs the good one:
- The temperature in the ship was borderline hot, especially in the gym. Couple of times I had to step outside to get some fresh air.
- On port days, despite having odd port hours they did not adjust the schedule for the buffet. At one particular port there was a 20+ minute line to get... Salad, since it was the only available thing.
- Rooms in the back of the ship vibrate a lot. One particulate night the vibration was so strong that when you sat on the toilet it felt like you were in a massage chair. Alternatively, you could also get a free shaking massage while laying in bed as the vibration is equally as strong there.
- Calling room service or customer service was futile - you were placed in a permanent hold without anyone ever answering. After spending 20+ minutes one day, I discovered that the call is never answer. The trick? If placed on hold, hang up and try again until a human answers the phone. Why even have a hold system them?
-- If you managed to get through the line for room service, you'll be playing a guessing game of whether the food will arrive or not. One particular night we placed an order that never arrived. I was too tired to call back and have them deliver it after waiting 45 minutes.
- No ironing on board, which is standard in most cruise lines. We decided to send a couple of clothes to the dry cleaner to get them ironed. We requested same day delivery, and at 6PM nothing had arrived. I had to call to have someone go check and get them, and I was told that the clothes deliver only starts at 6PM (keep in mind, first sitting for dinner is 6PM). Seems like same day service is not viable in most cases.
- Room is only serviced once a day - no turndown service, or change of towels in the afternoon.
- The buffet: in general they had a very european selection of food which wasn't my favorite, but I knew what I was signing up for when going on an european cruise line.
- Pool towels: They do not have a place where you can go exchange your towels. They apparently come around every evening knocking on your door and asking if you need fresh pool towels. Well..... We must have never been in the room around the time they came because we never got that option. Not only that, after I once called to get fresh pool towels, they were never delivered.
- While they had an iPhone mobile all, they didn't have an Android equivalent. The iOS app, which we installed on the embarkation day, also decided that it needed an update midway through the cruise and kept bugging you about updating (hello? no wifi!) it every time you opened it.
~~~Special mention to the TERRIBLE evening dinning experience
The first day was bad. We had three rooms under the same reservation, and they sat some of us together, and some of us in a different table.... After talking to the maître d' they fixed the issue on the second day. And things got worse... The second day was terrible. Our waiter was extremely rude*. He was just rushing to get our orders, rolling his eyes at my grandparents for taking long time to choose, and brought the wrong food (and tried to force us to eat it before fixing the issue). It was so ridiculous that I had to call the maître d' over to talk to him about his attitude. After this incident, on the third day things started to get better after being assigned a new waiter. Our waiter was ok when it came to his attitude, but the issues with the food continued. Between courses it would take a good 20-30 minutes before the next course arrived. Dinner usually lasted two and a half to three hours every night. Not only that, but in between courses the servers would not refill your water or wine unless you managed to flag them down. One night I didn't like my meal, so I sent it back and asked for another meal. The waiter continued to bring the rest of the meals, and brought my food after bringing my dessert....
*note that we later realized that the reason why service was so slow and the waiters were so bad is because they're understaffed. On most cruises you get a waiter and an assistant waiter. This cruise line only has one waiter per table which makes the entire process extremely slow.
We had 3 balcony rooms. The members staying on 8341 and 7347, which are one above the other, really enjoyed the room as it was a big bigger than 7358 (normal size room).
7358 room was of average size, but don't be surprise if you get a call from 1980s asking for its style back, and also for its TV. The style of the rooms was a bit dated, and the TV was probably 10 inches. Very small. There is also only one outlet per room, so bring a power strip.
Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale, and they gave us a stop in Miami. Really? What a waste of a stop. Not only that, we arrived on January 1st (New Years Day) at 9AM and the immigration laws required that EVERYONE, no matter whether you wanted to go to Miami or not, had to get off the ship. Until the last person did not get off the ship, we were not able to embark again. We got had to wake up early on our vacation, got off the ship by 10AM, and was not able to get back in until almost noon. Just sitting there at the terminal. I understand it's not the cruise lines fault that the authorities require everyone to get off the ship, but they should have at least plan to arrive in Miami later on New Years Day to let people at least sleep in more.