This was my second cruise, my husband's first. Embarcation was quick and smooth. As soon as we were on board, we were directed to deck 9 to partake of the lunch buffet. Shortly after lunch, we were able to go to our cabin. Our cabin number had been changed, as we had learned when checking our bags at the port. My friends had put the tags they received in advance on their luggage, and went to what they thought was their assigned cabin. When their luggage was delivered, her husband began unpacking. A little later, a couple showed up at their door, saying they were assigned to that cabin. My friends had to repack and move, as they had not known their cabin number was changed. Our sign and sail cards were on our bed, but my friends, who are both blind, hadn't noticed that their names weren't the names on the cards.
The cabins were very spacious. We had a balcony cabin, which we enjoyed very much. Our steward, Derick, was great, and always cheerfully greeted us when he saw us.
Like our friends, my husband and I are both blind/visually impaired. I found it easy to get around the ship, but my husband, who has some vision, as well as my friend's husband, found the mirrored glass elevators very confusing. Our cabins were near the front of the ship. We usually took the front elevators to other decks that didn't have cabins, if we wanted to go to the middle or back of the ship, as the cabin halls were narrow, and often filled with cleaning carts and such, making it necessary to walk single file, rather than side by side.
On this cruise, English was the first language in which anouncements were made, followed by the same anouncement in French, Spanich, Italian, and German, interesting, but sometimes an aggrivation.
I wasn't as pleased with the food as I was on my other cruise. The first night, we went to the pizzaria. The only pizza selections available were cheese pizza and artichoke pizza. I like to have some meat on my pizza. The meals were alright, but I didn't have one thing that made me say "I've got to have that again"! My husband missed never having biscuits at breakfast. The wait staff was very accommodating, especially at lunch and dinner. Because buffets aren't as easy or convenient to manage, for people who are blind/visually impaired, we chose to eat most of our meals in the dining room. At breakfast, we often had to ask several times for beverages, orders were served incorrectly, but corrected when brought to the staff's attention, and portions varried, depending on how the food was ordered. When I ordered corned beef hash with toast, I got a nice portion of hash, but the day I addded a fried egg, I barely got a small spoonful of hash, added to the plate as an afterthought. The desserts were odd, in that some pies and cakes were served plain with a spoonful of spreadable something, in the flavor that was listed for the cake or pie. Because we weren't wowed with the food, we didn't spend extra money to have a meal at the Tuscan steakhouse, Club Atlantica.
We were generally happy with our bar drinks, and I enjoyed the virgin pina coladas, which I was able to get with drink tickets. There were two happy hours a day, so that was a treat. Rather than having a beverage card that could be purchased for the week, as Carnival did, one could purchase ten drink tickets for $25.30. These could be used for sodas and virgin drinks.
We didn't go to many of the late night shows, however my friends and I participated in the tallent show which didn't take place until 10:45 pm, and didn't end until a while after midnight. It was not your "run of the mill" tallent show. It was presented as if we were in a Roman colliseum. I won't give you specifics, as I don't want to spoil the surprise, in case you take the cruise, but if you're curious enough, you will find it in another review that is on the web.
My husband, friends, and I all enjoyed the on board shopping. The ship also had a shopping guide who seemed much like a walking, talking infomercial.
We were very impressed with our cruise director, Andrea. He wore many hats, and they all fit him well. He wseemed as comfortable hosting the Newlywed game as he was giving a lecture regarding `the Da Vinci code, mathematical theories and philosophy.
Disembarcation and embarcation at all the ports seemed very organized, and was no problem at all. Although there were sometimes communication burriers, we found all the crew to be friendly and ready to serve. We enjoyed our cruise, but I probably wouldn't cruise with Costa again. That seemed to be the centiment of most people with whom I spoke, who had cruised with other cruise lines.