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Costa Mediterranea Review

Find a Costa Mediterranea Cruise from £869

Costa Mediterranea
4.0 / 5.0
292 reviews

This ship does what Italy does best -- pasta and partying -- with an exuberant attitude
If you expect an American ship, you will be frustrated -- by the pizza, coffee and multilingual crowd
Bottom Line
A great ship if you want to feel like you've really left the U.S. behind




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Gayle Keck
Cruise Critic Contributor

Costa Mediterranea Overview

Buon giorno! Welcome to Italy! If you're a fan of the boot-shaped country, you'll likely love being aboard Costa Mediterranea. After a few years of "trying to please everybody," Costa -- operator of the only Italian-registered cruise ships -- is returning to its roots, with a renewed focus on its theme, "Italy's finest."

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What does that mean? You'll definitely notice it in the main dining room, where there's a pasta course at both lunch and dinner. But you'll also get an exuberant Italian greeting from Filipino cabin stewards, Indian waiters and other staff because, as the ship's hotel manager says, "Anybody can learn to talk with their hands!"

The Italian attitude extends to entertainment and the genial party atmosphere onboard. In the evenings, there are up to seven different dance venues to choose from, playing everything from Italian favorites and dance standards to Latin and Euro-pop. Entertainment staff, known as "animators," lead line dances and conduct wacky events like the "Mr. Costa Contest," which includes a partial striptease by contestants. Adopt an Italian mindset, and it's all hilariously wonderful.

On the other hand, if you like to venture to exotic shores during the day, but return to a little floating chunk of America at night, Mediterranea may not be for you. The Italian-style pizza isn't piled high with toppings, there's a charge for bottled water and a good number of your fellow passengers are likely to be Europeans. Be forewarned: some of your shipmates won't speak English, and ship's announcements will be repeated in Italian, French, Spanish and German.

The ship's over-the-top gaudy interiors take a bit of getting used to. Designed by parent company Carnival's Joe Farcus, they leave virtually no surface unadorned. Prepare for an abundance of bling, with Carerra marble, Murano glass, terrazzo, mosaics, inlaid wood (both real and faux), quite a few bare breasts (on artwork, not passengers), and a flock of Cupids with cherubic penises dangling overhead. Throw in an Egyptian-themed theater and a Chinese-inspired bar for good measure, and you could experience visual overload. Fortunately, Mediterranea's cabins are roomy and low-key in their decor, so your eyes get a break.

The ship received a multimillion dollar refit in November 2013, but this was focused on the hull and mechanical side of the ship. However, some worn items, such as carpets, curtains and upholstery were replaced.

We were pleased with the broad range of shore excursion offerings on our trip, but found the lack of any shore information or port briefings (aside from jewelry-focused information provided by onboard shopping consultants) to be disappointing. No general maps or information sheets are provided, and on our Caribbean cruise, a single orientation lecture covered only available shore excursions. During European cruises, there are informational lectures once or twice per sailing, but no individual port briefings. So if you like to explore on your own -- you're really on your own!

Top Costa Mediterranea Itineraries

Costa Mediterranea
11 night mediterranean cruise

Venice, Bari, Athens (Piraeus), Haifa (Tel Aviv), Haifa (Tel Aviv), Crete (Heraklion), Corfu, Split, Venice

11 Night Mediterranean Cruise

Costa Mediterranea

View All Costa Mediterranea Itineraries (2)

Fellow Passengers

Costa Mediterranea attracts an international crowd, which varies depending on the itinerary. For European sailings, the vast majority of passengers will be European, with new passengers embarking and disembarking at every port. When the ship moves to the Caribbean, the mix starts to shift, with more and more passengers from North and South America as the season progresses. Though you might expect a lot of Italians, the ship is also popular with French passengers on its Caribbean itinerary, due to a call on French Guadeloupe. Some French passengers disembark here, while locals embark.

The average age of passengers is 55, and the free Squok Club for kids means that it's a popular ship for families, particularly when school's not in session.

Ship staff make a real effort to accommodate various nationalities when it comes to announcements, excursions, entertainment, menus and signage. Major announcements are made in Italian, English, French, Spanish and German -- and there are designated hosts who conduct separate passenger orientations in those languages as well. Many staff are multilingual, instantly hopping from one language to another. On the downside, repetition of info in multiple languages can get tedious.

We thoroughly enjoyed the polite European habit of acknowledging fellow passengers when entering or departing an elevator. Don't be surprised if a complete stranger greets you with, "Bonjour, Madame," or departs with a "Buona sera!" as the doors close.

Costa Mediterranea Dress Code

Mediterranea's evening attire is "elegant casual," which is interpreted a bit differently by different nationalities. For some women, it's slacks and a blouse; for others, it's a spangled spandex minidress. A few men sport a jacket and tie, while others don a polo shirt with the collar turned up, Euro-style. Shorts and tank tops are banned from the dining room in the evenings, though.

Most sailings have two formal nights, where men are requested to wear a jacket and tie or tuxedo, while women are directed to wear a dressy pants outfit or cocktail dress. In practice, outfits were all over the map, from casual to the occasional tux.

Mediterranea also has several theme nights on each cruise, including soirees like "Tropical Night," "Italian Night" (passengers are encouraged to dress in red, white and green, the Italian flag colors), and "White Night" (where white attire is requested, and an outdoor dance party follows dinner, complete with white desserts and white cocktails). Note: The infamous Costa toga parties are a thing of the past, so don't come aboard looking to get your Caesar on.

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Costa Mediterranea Ratings

Public Rooms4.04
Fitness Recreation4.03.6
Value For Money4.03.5

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More about Costa Mediterranea

Where does Costa Mediterranea sail from?

Costa Mediterranea departs from Bari and Venice

How much does it cost to go on Costa Mediterranea?

Cruises on Costa Mediterranea start from £869 per person.

Awards and Recognition

Costa Mediterranea Member Reviews

Costa Mediterranea
Sail Date: Feb 2020
For a vessel that is one of the oldest in the Costa fleet, the Mediterranea is in pretty good nick.... Read More
Costa Mediterranea
chess palace
Sail Date: Feb 2020
I always like to walk round the deck and although you can't do that completely on Costa Mediterranea, you can manage an almost full circuit of about 500 metres on Deck 10 - easier in the early morning... Read More
Costa Mediterranea
Sail Date: Jun 2019
So I was quite worried to embark on Costa Mediterranea due to my experience with the best ones on the sea. I cannot praise to anyone to give a go, to try it at least once. It was amazing.... Read More
Costa Mediterranea
Sail Date: Mar 2019
We will most defenitely sail again with Costa.... Read More

Costa Cruises Fleet

Costa neoRomantica
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

63 reviews

Costa Romantica had a total redesign and refurbishment in 2014 to be reborn as the Costa neoRomantica with a more intimate atmosphere aimed at adult-oriented cruising.

View All Costa neoRomantica Cruises
Costa Victoria
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Costa Victoria is an older ship -- launched in 1996 -- and, even though it had a major refurbishment in 2004 (adding 242 balconies and mini-suites), it's still a bit behind the times.

Costa Victoria Cruises to the Mediterranean View All Costa Victoria Cruises
Costa Mediterranea
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

This 2,114-passenger vessel, launched in 2003, is a great option for anyone wanting to have a more Italian cruise experience.

Costa Fortuna
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Costa Fortuna, a 2,702-passenger vessel that debuted in 2003, offers an Italian experience with American comforts.

Costa Magica
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Costa Magica offers "Cruising Italian Style" with a savvy flair that includes international cuisine and more than 5,000 pieces of Italian art.

Costa Serena
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Costa Serena, launched in 2007, is a casual, multinational ship with relaxation options including four pools, spa cabins and a spa restaurant.

Costa Pacifica

Pacifica launched in 2007 with a music theme. Unique to Costa Pacifica are cruising's first-ever recording studio and a "music maestro," who oversees the enrichment opportunity.

Costa Luminosa
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Costa Luminosa is a whimsical ship with a simple layout that's easy to navigate. The ship, which debuted in 2009, represents a "retro-style evolution" for Costa.

Costa Deliziosa
3.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

With 2,260 passengers, Costa Deliziosa is a warm, whimsical ship with a simple, easy-to-navigate layout and plenty of amenities.

Costa Favolosa

Costa Favolosa launched July 2011. The 114,500-ton, 3,000-passenger vessel was built at Fincantieri's Marghera ship yard in Venice, Italy.

Costa Fascinosa

The 114,500-ton, 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa an Asian-themed Samsara Spa (with associated restaurant), a pool area with giant movie screen and sliding glass roof, and a Grand Prix driving simulator.

Costa neoRiviera
3.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

As with all Costa's "neo" ships, neoRiviera's itineraries include more overnights and longer port stays; features a mostly Italian clientele and vibe that could be off-putting to Americans.

Costa Diadema
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Large cruise ship carrying 3,693 passengers and features several dining options, longest promenade deck in the Costa fleet, more than 7,000 works of art and state-of-the-art simulators. 

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