Full disclosure: I won this cruise, so my only choice was itinerary, and after reading many negative reviews, I was quite worried. My worries were unfounded and we had an amazing time...as Americans, the Italian flavor added to the experience...rather than detracted, in our opinion. The last night, the dining room was rocking as waiters danced with passengers, the Italians started a conga line and everyone...Italians, Americans, Germans, French, etc....sang Italian songs.
There are some things that will seem inefficient to Americans, but just chill out and enjoy a little bit of the European experience. It was particularly fun to watch the Super Bowl on the big screen by the pool with the other American passengers and stand for the national anthem...the grill was also open late that night, so we could indulge in burgers, hot dogs and fries. I will never forget the look on some of the crew's faces when Big Boi performed in that giant fur coat for the halftime show!
As far as entertainment, we liked all the shows, but especially Davide, the tenor and "The Voice at Sea"...where passengers competed in a sing-off. All competitiors got encouragement from the audience and we had a little nationalistic pride when an American won. Bingo was done a little differently with push-in cards and the caller reading off the numbers in 5 or 6 languages...again, FUN! I didn't buy a drink in a bar, but my son and his fiance did and they said prices were even a bit lower than those in Vegas, where they live.
We only took one tour with Costa...in Jamaica...and it was well-run with awesome guides. They only spoke English, so I'm not sure if the Europeans enjoyed it as much as we did, but most of the activities did not really require a narration.
We loved the dance lessons and shout out to the Latin Dance team who would dance with passengers in one of the bars at night. The musicians at all of the venues were excellent....if you like to dance, you will LOVE this ship!
Cabins were okay...maybe a little dated, but comfortable. Many complain about lack of turndown service...I think most of us are capable of doing that ourselves. My room was always made up when I returned from breakfast, gym and spa.
We had second dinner seating, which started out tough for us, being American, but we adapted by eating a salad or dessert at the buffet and then going down and having a delicious dinner in the dining room. I have seen complaints re charges for pizza and burgers...you can eat those for free at lunch...no need to pay at all. As our itinerary progressed, we were actually glad for late seating, as we got back late at some of the ports and would have rushed to get to the first seating.
I used the spa and gym daily...part of the reason I only gained 1 lb, despite indulging in dessert 2x/day. Both are excellent and the spa package was a great value...especially during sea days.
Be sure to register your credit card at one of the kiosks when you get on the ship (this was one of my only complaints...why can't you register it upon check-in at thea port?) or you will need to settle your bill in person at the Hospitality Desk, which had a very long line as our trip concluded. My only other complaint has nothing to do with the ship or cruise, but just that the Costa customer service department in the US had an incredibly long wait time on the phone before I was even connected with an agent...and that they would not return phone calls or emails.
All in all, a fantastic cruise...one of the best I've been on...and it had little to do with the ship, but mostly because of the atmosphere. I lived in Germany for 3 years when I was much younger and loved it...I always found that if you travel to other countries and want things the same way as they are at home...maybe you should just stay home.