Costa Cruises Reviews

Year Started: 1854
Ships in Fleet: 11
Category: Mainstream

Summary: A Europe-based mainstream cruise line owned by Carnival. Ships are structurally identical to Carnival. Recommended for European cruisers who do not speak English - good for bargains in the Caribbean.


Costa Cruises Cruise Ships

34 Reviews

Regions:Middle East, The Orient

Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.

6 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Middle East

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

1 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, World

Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.

0 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

1 Reviews

Regions:Western Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

15 Reviews

Regions:Western Mediterranean, Middle East, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

23 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic

Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.

39 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic

Good for: Children`s Programs. Singles. Families.

7 Reviews

Regions:Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe

Good for: Value for Money. Children`s Programs. First-time Cruisers.

0 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe

Good for: Group. Families.

11 Reviews

Regions:The Orient

Good for: Group. Singles. Families.

User Ratings

Overall Rating
from 137 reviews


Service Level

Value for Money

Ship Décor

Public Rooms


Kid's Programs

Daytime Activities


Shore Tours


Alternative Dining

User Reviews

137 User Reviews of Costa Cruises Ships
Western Caribbean
Publication Date: November 30, 2003

This was our eighth cruise, the fifth with Costa . Due to reading a couple of negative reviews, we were a bit apprehensive for the first time. We quickly learned that everyone has different viewpoints and that is what makes life interesting!


We had spent a couple of nights pre-cruise at the Ft. Lauderdale AmeriSuites just to unwind a bit. It was a nice stay. We opted for a cab rather than the hotel shuttle, which was very busy at the time. We arrived at the pier around 11:30 a.m., quickly spotted a Costa rep outside and asked directions. She took a look at our documents and took us inside past the waiting crowds to a separate waiting room with chairs. This was our first cruise in a suite, and we finally realized this was the reason we were able to bypass of the big crowds. We were the very first to board the ship about 12:30 p.m.


Our first impression of this sister ship to the Atlantica, which we had sailed previously, was WOW! We liked the decor even better than the Atlantica. The quality shows everywhere. No cost

has been spared. There was plenty of marble, glass and wood nicely blended into a most pleasing arrangement. We found all the public areas to be not only attractive but also comfortable and relaxing.


Our Panorama suite was large, comfortable and beautiful, with plenty of storage space, a closet in the living/sleeping room as well as the dressing room, drawer space everywhere, and a beautiful marble bath with double sinks, whirlpool tub/shower combo. We had a large, completely private balcony with teak reclining lounge chairs and a table. Suite passengers are provided with daily dining room menus and may order in if they choose. We did have a full breakfast in our room a couple of mornings.


Contrary to some reviews, we found the food to be very good. We like to try new things, and we did every night in the main dining room with no disappointments. The pasta courses were very good. We had a table for two as we had requested and service was prompt. Orders were always correct, no mix-ups. Our waiters were polite but unobtrusive, which we liked. We never had a bad meal! We had most breakfasts and lunches at the buffet restaurant and found the selections varied and quite good. Be sure to explore the different serving stations before deciding on your selections. Also the hamburgers at the outside grill are first class. Soft serve ice cream and pizza are always available as well.


The main theater is absolutely beautiful. During the course of a week there is something for everyone. A magician, Irish tenor, classical piano and two production shows were all good. But the highlight for us was a steel band concert by a group called Island Magic. This was one of the best concerts we have ever witnessed. If they are playing, don't miss it!


Very smooth. We were in a cab back to our hotel by 9 a.m.


This was our best cruise ever. The ship was beautiful, the food and entertainment excellent. My wife and I have tried to think of something negative, but honestly can't come up with anything that was not flawless. Costa remains our favorite line.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: November 30, 2003

The Mediterranea was new in 2003. Our cruise in November found it to be a delightful ship. It's very (my wife's term) glitzy. Lots of marble, impressive atrium, very nice public areas and small secluded lounges that make the experience seem intimate. Surprising in a ship so large.

The cabin staff was excellent and the room (ours with a small balcony) very nice. This was our first trip with a balcony and for our style found same to be overrated.

While our waiter and busboy were excellent, the food itself was spotty. One evening my vegetarian entree, vegetables tempura, was almost inedible. The batter had parted company with the vegetables and what remained was badly singed. One night the service was inordinately slow. Our waiter had an adjoining table that was extremely high maintenance throughout the cruise, but that didn't seem to account for the delays that seemed to eminiate from the kitchen itself. Lunch and breakfast were fine. One shortcoming was a lack of informal eaterie, other than pizzia, outside normal meal hours.

The shore excursions were predictable and typical for the Western Carribean. We took the ships excursion to the pyramid at Chi

Chichinitizi (sp) and since we arrived early and had an excellent guide found it to be well with the experience. The sole problem was with the buffet lunch that came with the excursion. It was poorly planned and executed. The venue didn't seem prepared for a crowd the size of ours and the pushy nature of our fellow passenger didn't help.

The Costa line attracts a lot of Europeans and we enjoyed the cosmopolitan nature of the cruise. One word of caution. There's more smoking in the public areas than is common in the United States. It takes some getting used to.

Overall, we thought the cruise represented a good value and would certainly consider taking Costa again.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: November 23, 2003

We just returned from a 7 night cruise on the new Costa Mediterranea.

Before booking we read Anne's review of the sister ship, Costa Atlantica. Her review was right on target. I find her reviews usually are.

I would like to amplify a few points. The food is worse than she describes and the service is still poor. Anne mentions that Costa is working on a training program---evidently this has not started or if it did start, it fails to train people correctly.

Although our cruise was the first in the Carribbean for this ship, the passengers were a very high percentage of non-US. There were a considerable number of children and teenagers as it was a Thanksgiving Cruise. Most were behaving well but a number were not. Costa made no effort at restraining them.


We always thought Carnival attracted people who wanted a noisy time, but we realize Costa has them beat.

It is a very poor cruise line for Honeymooners and the ones we met were ready to shoot their Travel Agents.

Lastly---Anne's reviews are right on target and we would recommend everyone reads them before booking a cruise anywhere.

Frieda and Bob

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Publication Date: November 21, 2003

My friend,Barbara, and I have each cruised many times and we were both terribly disappointed on this two night trip to Freeport. The trouble getting on the ship was not entirely Costa 's fault as there was a problem in Miami and all the ships at that port were diverted to Ft. Lauderdale. However, we took the bus from Ft. Myers at 8:00 a.m. and arrived at the cruise terminal at 10:30. We had been advised beforehand that we would not be embarking until after 3:00. We had the foresight to bring snacks. We were given a card with a red number one on it. We did get on the ship by 3:30. However,there was no parking available later in the afternoon and some people that came later left and went home because they couldn't park and saw the huge lines outside. My daughter and her friend, a first time cruiser, had to go to the airport parking lot and take a bus back to the ship.

They stood in line and finally got on the ship at 5:30. They had not eaten since breakfast they too, almost gave up

and went home.They were on board just in time for the life jacket drill. They were late for the first seating and treated rudely. The service on this ship was terrible. I tried room service. No answer. My friend called at a different time, left an order and an hour an a half later cancelled it and went to bed. The mattress was uncomfortable and squeaked. At dinner the first night my vegetables never arrived nor did my friend's baked potato. Who decided that the best place to have a midnight "buffet" was the crowded casino? Steam trays were lined up alongside plates as lounge chairs were pushed back. People were trying to get through the mass confusion to leave the casino with their food. This was the poorest excuse for a midnight buffet and the poorest place to have one.

The stateroom was nice and well done. The food in the dining room was good....if you got it. Barbara and I talked to at least 40 people and asked them how they liked the cruise and not one felt any differently than we did. I asked them if they had talked to anyone that liked the ship and the service and they all said they had not. The decor is a matter of taste. Some of us feel it is ostentatious while others liked it. The money seemed to be put into the decor for show while the practical but necessary things were left wanting i.e. no shampoo or lotion in the bathrooms, no room service or comfortable beds. I will only sail on the tried and true lines like the Princess, NCL and RCI.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: November 5, 2003

We recently cruised on the Costa Mediterranea, leaving Genova, Italy on November 5, 03 and arriving in Miami, Florida on November 21. This cruise was a great disappointment. This state of the art new ship has a decor that was gaudy! It was not a restful tasteful decor. The staff was cold, often rude and offered little hospitality.

We thought the whole cruise was very disorganized. Dining areas would close early or open later than posted. We had a problem getting a read out of our final bill. Embarkation and disembarkation were slow and disorganized. It took more than three hours to get on the ship and more than four hours to get off. During this time we stood in line with no help from the Costa staff. Our included transfers to the air port after we disembarked never did show up, we took taxis at our own expense.

Smoking areas were not observed, people seemed to smoke wherever they pleased. Life boat drills were poorly done. We would not have really known what to do in an emergency.

The food was not well prepared and often of poor quality. Desserts were often

tasteless, breads at the lunch buffet were stale, the juices were watery, ice cream at the buffet was from a soft serve machine and was tasteless, ice cream in the dining room was often served melted. They did not know how to serve properly. Dining room service was slow because our waiter had too many tables to serve. We complained to the dining room manager and it made no difference.

The beverage service machines were closed quickly after a meal so we could never get ice tea or coffee between meals. They never did serve such drinks as free lemonade. It was obvious that they wanted us to purchase from the bar.

Our cabin was nice and the ship was clean except for the last day when the tables were dirty, no ice in our cabin. It appeared that they were ready to get rid of us.

The entertainment was either very good or very poor. The theater was lovely and state of the art.

There was no entertainment such as a Caribbean band around the pool area. No fun special drinks were ever served in take home souvenir glasses.

Our port calls were too brief. The paid excursions were let off first, those of us who were taking our own trips had to wait longer to get off the ship, this shortened our port time even more.

The public areas on the ship were hot. The air conditioning was not adequate.

It truly was a cruise we wished we had not taken.

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Baltic Sea
Publication Date: June 29, 2003

My husband and I just returned from Russia and the Baltics. The suite was beautiful and the staff were very accomodating , but the food and entertainment were very poor compared to the two other Costa cruises we took in previous years. The buffet was very sparse and the dinning room selections besides being very limited had very little taste.

The dining room staff were very helpfull and kept wanting to exchange our selections but the food quality was not the same this year. Also the entertainment was very poor this year. The shoe excursions were excellent and the staff very helpfull.

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Western Mediterranean
Publication Date: June 24, 2003

We came back yesterday from a 5 days cruise on the Costa Mediterranea (its second voyage) and we can confirm that the official review of Costa Atlantica fits perfectly also to this new ship.

But we would like to add something: you will feel isolated as if you were in an enormous shopping mall even if you are Italian... it's not a language problem, simply nobody talks to you... And even if Costa advertisement says that "the ship is inspirated by Italian ancient buildings", in fact the decor is horrible and kitsch and the best place to stay is your cabin.


Margherita & Paola

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: April 13, 2003

As we checked in for our eastern Caribbean cruise on Costa 's Victoria, I was immediately concerned when I had to produce an ID at four separate points in order to board. Carnival checks you once, then takes your picture, and is very secure. Costa never took our picture, but seemed obsessed with having people who barely spoke English look at our birth certificates, over and over.

Once on board we proceeded to the bar, where we got burned for over $21 for three Bloody Marys, and then we continued to the buffet. I sampled picnic fare and stared down a large plate of kidney bean salad. Little did I know that this delight, as well as most of the others we saw, would be lurking at every buffet we attended.

The ship was as beautiful as it was overcrowded. Everyone was pushing and shoving like a cattle call. The deck was packed with lounge chairs that filled by 9:30 a.m. When people went to lunch, they left clothes and shoes on their lounges to reserve them. The hot tubs were full of Germans and French who pretended not to speak English

-- and definitely did not understand deodorant use. These same congenial folk blocked the elevator doors and refused to let you off unless you grunted in their native tongue. Costa blew the wad on this ship -- it was loaded with lavish décor and impeccably maintained. They should have paid the staff a little more and spent a lot more on the food.

The staff was basically aloof. After I got friendly with a few of them and inquired about the general lack of courtesy, they explained: "If you think Costa treats you poorly, they treat us like dogs." Costa did not quite treat us like dogs, but they did, however, feed us like dogs.

Although I am not a gourmet, I am fat and I've been on a few ships. The restaurant's menu was very limited, and the selections were almost sure to disappoint. The waiters were the nicest people on the boat. They constantly steered me away from menu selections toward "better choices." Even with this safety policy in effect, I was treated to a series of Epicurean tragedies one after the other. If your idea of fancy food is a quarter head of lettuce in a cereal bowl, this is your ship.

Upon boarding we noticed a woman dressed as a cross between Snow White and Elvira. When I stole my glance away from her cleavage, I noticed her talking to my 5-year-old girl. She invited her to a "par-r-r-rty" at 9:00. My little girl shook in her shoes all day as she anxiously awaited her party with Snow White. When we got there, Snowvira was dressed in jeans surrounded by a sea of people. She was handing out consent forms and soliciting kiddie drink card sales. There was no party. There was no event at all for kids, just a sales pitch to parents. My little girl didn't understand why Snow White stood her up and cried herself to sleep that night. I will never forgive Costa for this.

Finally I encountered the straw that broke the camel's back. I was rudely ejected from the indoor pool for having kids under 16, even though the pool was full of young kids. All the other people just pretended to not understand and continued to allow their kids to swim. I decided to complain to the information desk. The lady I spoke with there seemed genuinely concerned about my complaint. After a minute, her apparent manager joined her. I outlined my concerns about the rudeness at the indoor pool and the fake Snow White party. She gave me a schedule of kids' events and continued to review it with me until I realized I was getting nowhere. When I asked to file a formal complaint, the underling asked if she should get a form and the manager replied with some gibberish in a foreign language. I expressed my fury at her speaking behind my back in a foreign language and she pretended not to understand me. Generally, nobody cared.

I spent the rest of the week trying to entertain the kids and waiting for the cruise to end. The more we tried to get a good meal, the worse the food got. The heavily-promoted midnight buffets turned out to be more kidney bean salad, unripe fruit and Sam's Club éclairs surrounded by intricate carvings of cantaloupe squirrels and honeydew bunnies. These people are obviously grossly mismanaged. Whereas the boat and décor are top-notch, it seems that nobody's at the wheel.

Save the trouble and cruise with a real line that cares.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: March 23, 2003

My Wife myself and my 3 children (Ages 15,8,8) sailed on the Victoria April 13 for a 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. My wife and I previously sailed on the Costa Carla C 22 years ago and had high expectations for this cruise, our children's first.

Costa circa 1980: Let me first tell you that our cruise aboard the Carla C was incredible! The food was beyond gourmet, the service impeccable.....we truly felt like royalty. Naturally we figured that it could only get better. Boy were we wrong!!!.....what happened to the Costa of 20 years ago? Read on if you wish to find out!

Embarkation: was average. Port Everglades is in a very bad section of Florida so hold on to your purse and wallet! My wife's was stolen the morning before the cruise in Ft. Lauderdale. It was a little harder for us to board the ship because all of her ID was in her purse. After 2 hours in a detention room and many tears, we were finally able to board the ship but my wife swears someone followed her around secretly for the entire cruise. Security

was very tight....and that didn't bother me the least bit.

We're OFF: Once on the ship, we went to the buffet on deck 11 rear. It was barely average. Nothing unusual, nothing spectacular, nothing to write home about, and it was the same everyday..... basically pretty boring. The help at the buffet was courteous but half of them didn't understand a word of English, which brings me to another point...English was definitely the minority language on this cruise, both passengers and crew. If you're into ignorant Western Europeans who like to sun topless around the kiddy pool exposing their hairy legs and armpits and who prefer the smell of their BO to Calvin Klein, this is the cruise for you! All announcements were in at least 5 languages and English was not the first. We were told by the crew that there were 2300 passengers on the boat, which was over the 1900 limit.....unsafe and overcrowded. If you did not get a lounge chair by 9:00 am, forget it!

The Ship: simply beautiful!!! Immaculately clean, abundant with rare marble and expensive mosaics. The public rooms were large, albeit overcrowded. This ship must have cost a fortune. I have been on other cruises and this was one of the most beautifully designed ships I have ever seen. Someone was always cleaning something 24 hours a day. One day in port they even painted the anchor after it got dirty from anchoring in Catalina Island the day prior. On the negative side the arcade is in the middle of the casino and kids aren't allowed in the casino, so you had to covertly sneak them in to the arcade. Also the A/C in the public areas was inadequate and many of our non-deodorant using shipmates stunk to high heaven. I always knew when my elevator mates were non-American.

The Food: The food was just average. My prime rib, the first night's dinner was like a steak'um with gravy...gravy on prime rib....Classy!!! The pasta was always excellent. The coffee was great. The food presentation was on par with Shoneys/Eat'n Park. Gourmet is not a word in Costa 's dictionary. Even the salads were boring. The midnight and dessert buffets were spectacular like they were sculpted from shiny plastic...just how they tasted. Looks aren't everything. They bragged that there were 150 different people from 60 different countries in the kitchen know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. The morning buffets were the same soggy scrambled eggs, cereal and other items that you would typically find on a very skimpy Sunday brunch not equal to Shoneys or Eat'n Park. Even the orange juice was watered down. One morning I asked for an omelet and got the dirtiest look from the man behind the counter that I said "Never mind". The next morning I got up the courage to wait for an omelet and what I got was an overcooked taco shell. Average drinks ran from 4-8 dollars each. Our waiter and busboy were wonderful and they were extremely happy that we were Americans. Tipping on Costa is cash only and they told us the Europeans never leave a tip and since their salary is a measly $50 per month, their tips were their income. Along with our cabin steward they were the nicest people on the ship.

The Itinerary and Ports of Call: The itinerary was great but the time spent at the ports of call was too short. by the time you got off the boat you had to rush to get back on. Although, if you took a paid excursion, you were allowed to leave first and come back last. I would like to elaborate more on these exotic ports but was too rushed to enjoy them. They even had the nerve to dump us in the Dominican Republic one evening at dusk. I don't know about you but the last place I want to be at 1:30am is in the streets of Puerto Rico. I did enjoy St. Thomas and Nassau which we left mid-afternoon.

The Activities: The kid programs were very crowded and I ran into the ship's fairy princess at a market in the Bahamas and she told me most of them are bogus and they are geared to make you buy unlimited drink passes that are not unlimited. She said everything is geared to spending lots of money. Management was rude and they, the non-Italian employees, were underpaid. My teen daughter tried the disco but was propositioned by the many non-American boys that wanted to party or as they said "pawty" with her (whatever that means). I must admit there was always something going on somewhere and if you were bored, it was by your own choosing. The deck activities were generally fun, but the constant announcements in at least 5 languages kind of zapped some of the energy from the deck activities. The on board entertainment was on par with other cruises, magic, comedy, dancing and singing. The Cruise Director Peter was an "idiot". Come on Costa , you can do better. I figured he got the job because he was related to some VP at Costa . His favorite phrase was "Chow for now". I figured he was referring to the dog chow we had for the midnight buffet that was left over from dinner earlier.

The Staff: Most of the executive staff was Italian. I was told by a Slovak casino employee that the Italians get all of the good jobs. Don't get me wrong, I'm Italian American and proud of it. I only saw the Captain once when he was introduced at a show night. He was probably too scared to show his face in public areas because of the large number of disgruntled crowded passengers that wanted a piece of him. The Italian staff members were generally indifferent and not very helpful. An employee explained to me that it was the last Caribbean sailing and they were tired and just wanted to go home. The international staff was generally pleasant. They nodded a lot and smiled...most of them had no clue what I was saying to them. When I inquired on the final day to a young lady in a white uniform as to why the photo place was closed when it was supposed to be opened she kept telling me that orange luggage tags go to the plaza. I finally told her she had no idea what I was saying and that she was "nothing but a total moron". She gave me a bright smile, nodded and said "yes".

Summary: On the final morning, Stefano, the ship's manager, made everything crystal clear. When I was doing my daily security check in because of my wife's untimely purse snatching and ID loss, I arrived with one of my children at breakfast at 7:02 am. I was told by the man at the door to the Fantasia restaurant that I could not go in. When I explained that I just wanted to join the rest of my family, he still resisted. I had an FRS radio and was talking to my family inside the restaurant. Finally the Maitre de who I regretfully tipped the night before told me in a very rude tone that my family had not shown up for breakfast then closed the door. I went to the info desk and demanded to speak to the captain of the ship. I was quickly ushered into Stefano's office. He told me he was in charge of the entire ship. When I complained to him about the treatment and my total disappointment with Costa when compared to my previous Costa experience, he summed it up like this. He asked me what I paid for my last Costa cruise which was by far much more expensive than our vacation aboard the Victoria. He then indicated that you get what you pay for and they have to cut corners to keep the cost down. Sorry, I didn't know that. I've been on less expensive cruises (Carnival for one, but they own Costa ) and have had a great time with great food and service.

Sorry Costa , I'll never be back...."Chow for EVER" Peter and Costa ..........

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: March 23, 2003

The good- Beautiful, modern ship, friendly and mostly courteous crew, except matre-de when I asked to be switched back to my ticketed first sitting.

The bad- Ports of call. Key West and Cozumel are always nice even if the jellyfish are running at Cozumel. Progreso is not acceptable as a cruise ship port of call. If you want to spend half the short time of the port call at Chicken-itze, do it by land tour. Could not go ashore at Grand Cayman because of rough boat landing; in 15 kt. wind and 2-3 foot chop offshore at ship mooring area?

Refund of port fee not offered, private island not substituted. Food mediocre, no prime rib, no lobster tails. Changed to 2nd seating after on board.

The ugly- Head (toilet) in our section down for almost 16 hours before repaired.

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