We selected this cruise and cruise line because of the itinerary as a visit to the islands in the Indian Ocean had long been on our bucket list. The only other cruise lines that regularly sail the Indian Ocean tend to be the deluxe luxury ships, such as Regent, Seabourn and Oceania, which are a bit out of our league pricewise so the Costa option was pretty much a forced choice. As a result we embarked on our cruise on the Costa Mediterranea with very low expectations and a high degree of trepidation, especially considering many of the highly negative Cruise Critic reviews and the poor image this cruise line seems to have with the self-appointed “ cruise experts” who rate the cruise industry!
However, our fears were largely ill-founded and we must say that the Mediterranea exceeded our expectations in most respects. Admittedly, we had booked a Panorama Suite which entitled us to suite class privileges such as access to the only alternative restaurant on the ship essentially reserved for suite class passengers, so we accept our assessment of this cruise experience may be somewhat biased. Nevertheless, even though we may be accused of reviewing our experience through rose-coloured spectacles, we think Costa generally gets a bad rap and is by no means as sub-standard as many of the reviews suggest. In fact, we feel the cruise line has many qualities and innovations that their so-called more prestigious and more highly rated competitors can learn from.
For a vessel that is one of the oldest in the Costa fleet, the Mediterranea is in pretty good nick. It apparently received an Euro 18 million makeover in 2018 and it clearly shows in the quality and condition of furnishings, carpeting, wall coverings, etc. throughout the ship. The initial impression on boarding the ship is somewhat overwhelming. Yes it is gaudy, bright, colourful and perhaps overly ornate with elaborately designed flooring, wall coverings, Venetian lighting, cornices and ceilings, but it is almost like sailing in a Rennaisance inspired art gallery! Beautiful framed prints of many of the Old Masters adorn the walls of the lounges, bars and restaurants, and interesting sculptures are strategically placed in most public areas. Even the passageways leading to cabins on all decks are covered with themed murals depicting much of Italian history and mythology. Yet it somehow seems to fit with Italian flair and bon homenie evident everywhere.
Good sized cabin with plenty of storage space. Double sized balcony with two reclining chairs. nice bathroom with state of the art shower! generally well appointed and equipped although the toiletries were minimal and of a standard not befitting a suite class.