Summary - if your only language is English, it is best to avoid, it is heavily weighted towards Italian, including language, entertainment, food, majority of guests. You Que for almost everything, a lot of items were extra cost and it is not a budget cruise.
Quick tips – Avoid Costa if you can only speak English. Carefully select your drinks package to suit, select your evening meal timings to suit (early is 6.45 seated, late is 9.30). Service charge is automatically 10 Euros per person, per night. If you port at Dubrovnik it is KN not Euro in most shops. Do not let your internet package run out, as you can not top it up then, it has to be re-purchased (up to 100 Euros per device) Non of the staff were helpful when it came to being charged or overcharged with anything.
Full Review -
We booked this cruise as a bit of a last minute choice, we had the itinerary in mind and only had 2 options, Costa or Norwegian Star, I should have read reviews but instead went off photographs, which made the cabins look dated on the Norwegian, so went with Costa.
The ship itself is nice, our cabin was ok, although I am not used to cruises, so it felt a bit caravan like, I am unsure if this is across all cruise ships. We upgraded to an unrestricted balcony view room, as we liked the idea of seeing where we were going on a first cruise, this was worth it, as it was great to see it leave and arrive at Ports, or gave us something to look at.
Food - Evening set meal times in main restaurant are not ideal, 1st seating is a 6.45 which for some days is too early and 9.30 which by the time you eat, is late. You do not get to switch between meal times, so decide and request before you go. If your going as a couple, have to sit with strangers at this meal, if like me then that is not for you, the choices are buffet or pay for one of the other restaurants.
Buffet was very repetitive, you had to que much of the time, but there was a large selection and nice food, it is all self served, including drinks, so there is no service as such.
There are set meal times, anything outside of this is charged like mini bar, room service, any other restaurants, including the burger and pizza, which are served from the buffet area and in the same seating area which is a bit of a cop out.
Drinks - You can choose a drinks package, be careful which one, as its very labelled on what you can or can’t have, anything above your drinks package is charged. Ours for example was the brandino, which included branded drinks but not bottled water or cocktails/champagne, which apart from the water did not bother us, but as they ask you to not fill water bottles from the vending machines, you have to keep refilling small glasses or pay for the bottles (3 euro). Vending machines only had juice at breakfast time, all other set meals were water, or tea/coffee, alternative drinks are all a visit to the bar for a drink, in which case you have to que up, most of the time.
Service - Majority of the staff were friendly, there were a few that because of the language barrier, just didnt want to know. There is no drinks service by the pool, so it’s all ques at the bars. There is no pool side service, although at the main bars inside there is table service. You are automatically charged 10 euros per person per night for a service charge too.
Entertainment - Being a cruise ship, there is a fair few bits to do and a good schedule, however it is largely Italian based, including evening, with a large language barrier.
Pools - Larger indoor pool, with a screen and more entertainment, does have a sliding roof but doens't seem to get a lot of sun, outside pool is small and full of children, not many sun loungers although this is one of the main areas for bathing, also saw staff taking away towels when people had only just gone in for dinner or drinks, I can understand if they are trying to reserve for hours but this caused arguments.
Destinations - This was the best part, I felt you got a good amount of time at most locations, although some are early and some are leave just after mid day, I got to see some lovely locations in a short space of time, whilst resting between locations, this is what it was all about for us. Getting on and off the boat was very organised too. Although they had to change our Mykinos stop to Athens due to bad weather.