Costa Favolosa debuted in 2012. A Concordia-class ship - large and lively with a whimsical decor by Joe Farcus. Recommended for Europeans
Best For People Who Want
An Italian carnival atmosphere; Plenty of deck parties, loud music and a wide range of facilities, including a large children's facility and a water slide; All the options and activities that come with a megaship, including a large fitness area, plenty of balconies; lots of entertainment options.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Tranquility; great food and service; not to be in a place where English is not the first language
Though Costa assures prospective passengers that they will be "cruising Italian style," beyond the decor, less than ten percent of the actual crew are truly Italian, with most of the Italians in the navigation, deck and engine departments. The majority of the crew come from the Dominican Republic where Costa has established a school to train crew-members.
Though the interior design is impressively logical and easy to navigate, the signage does not measure up, as the public thoroughfares lack the "You Are Here" deck maps. Get used to carrying the deck plan you find in your stateroom with you for the first few days.
That Italy has some of the world's greatest cuisine should not be taken to mean that Costa serves the world's best food. Indeed, menus appear to be designed to appeal mostly to an Italian audience, and should you order a selection from another continental derivation, you will probably end up thinking, "I should have gone Italian." You would suppose that they'd get pasta dishes right every time, but pasta depends upon fast service before it gets cold and rubbery. At the buffets, you will be presented with what Europeans are used to as "fast food" including beans for breakfast, and cheese, hard sausage and rolls for lunch.
But behold the exception, the alternative restaurant Club Atlantica, where for around $23 you can not only savor a delicious meal, but also escape the clamor of the main dining room.
In the Caribbean, Costa has implemented 24-hour food service with extended breakfast, lunch and tea time hours, plus a Late Night Buffet from 1:30 to 6:30 a.m. Complimentary gourmet appetizers are available daily in Club Atlantica from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., and new entrees have been added to the menus of the specialty dining room, purportedly supervised by two of Italy's most renowned chefs.
Two main dining rooms each of two decks. About 80% of cruisers opt for open-seating anytime dining. Service can be slow and inconsistent depending an how you time your dinner. Try to go early if possible.
We'll say it plainly: on a Costa ship you are an American in Europe. The company is expanding rapidly (undergoing a cruising renaissance in Europe similar to what the U.S. experienced years ago), so the staff can be surprisingly slow, and sometimes seemingly impolite, including the cabin stewards. You can always count on the bar staff to cheer you up, though.
These ships try very hard to present variety shows that a person of any native language can enjoy. This means puppeteers, acrobatic displays and other visual forms of entertainment.
Any songs are generally sung in English - since most popular music is recorded in English, but if a hit song has ever been made in a foreign Language it will prbably be in the show: an example 99 Luft Balloons by German artist Nena. Also expect to hear "I love Paris" by Gershwin, because all Europeans know the words.
The cabins' are identical to Carnival cruise ships down to the lighting wall sconces. About 70 percent have balconies. With the standard inside and outside cabins, you pay for location. Since there is virtually no difference in cabin size - 160 sq.ft. - it is wise to simply book the lowest outside or inside cabin categories and not pay extra just to be one deck higher. (The exception to the rule: Deck 4's outside cabins' views are obstruced.) All cabins have safes and two lower beds that can be converted into a queen bed. Outside cabins with verandah are 210 sq.ft. and suites range from 360 sq.ft. to 580 sq.ft.
Special suite amenities include whirlpool tubs, terry cloth robes and slippers, additional toiletries, sparkling wine and cold canapes on embarkation day, daily fruit baskets, an additional Captain's cocktail party, complimentary dinner at ClubAtlantica, and personalized butler service. Do note that your butler may be very much on a par with your server in the restaurant, which is to say distracted borderline organized. Be sure to double-check requests and take nothing for granted.
There are no self-service launderettes or ironing rooms.
There is a large Spa and Fitness Center run by Steiner Leisure.
On the two 'gala' nights, a casual jacket and tie are standard, while many men wear an actual suit. In the European style, ties are optional, especially on younger men. In the Caribbean, there is also a theme night on which many passengers wrap themselves in sheets and call them togas. Europeans tend to dress fancier for daytime activities than Americans, so don't expect not to feel underdressed in cutoffs and a T-shirt on European sailings.
Many "provincial" Europeans who speak little English gravitate towards Costa because they offer their cruises in their native European languages.
Do not expect the locals to strike up a conversation with you - they prefer to stick with their native tongue (that is why they are there). This can make things a trifle uncomfortable for Americans - listening to thousands of people laughing, shouting, arguing, etc, in languages you do not understand can get a little old.