December 2014 - Costa Favolosa to South America
What an unpleasant overall experience.
The crew was pleasant but appeared tired and overworked and rather resigned. When engaged in conversation, they were quite emphatic about how badly the cruise line had deteriorated since "that American company" (actually Carnival is owned by American/Israeli billionaires) took over ownership. Experienced cruise travelers also decried the deterioration in the service, cleanliness and quality compared to years past. This apparently is a far cry from the Costa you knew and loved.
stateroom was nice. It is a recently built Italian luxury ship. What's not to like?
Food - really bad. Buffet was rather stale and unimaginative and unchanging, sorta like gong to McDonalds every day except even McDonalds is fresher and often has better variety. reminded me of feeding the livestock when I was a kid. Balanced diet and all that, but not very imaginative. And just sort of shoveled out there.
And talk about ripoff, you cannot get even water to drink at your evening supposedly fine dining dinner, without paying for it. the menu items there were also unimaginative and not that flavorful. Again, I don't know why. Shouldn't be that hard on an Italian ship with Italian chefs. And I am an experienced Italian cuisine diner, both in and out of Italy, having been raised by and married to outstanding Italian cooks. Heck, they didn't even know how to set the table properly. Waiters seemed motivated and nice people, so I assume they didn't receive training.
Overall experience was not unlike being trapped in a generally pleasant but bland floating prison. With services, food, entertainment, excursions, port calls all appearing corporate database managed down to the lowest possible cost. And the attitude seemed to be to simply try to squeeze every last $$ from passengers, by any means possible.
Literally filthy buffet room chairs. Rest of public areas not quite so bad.
entertainment - Entertainers tried hard, but, for example, the bass was so overpowering, artists could hardly be heard. Strange experience. And markedly unpleasant. Where did they get those sound engineers? We chatted with many of them ( my wife does that sort of thing). they too were pleasant but seemed a bit tired and resigned. I wonder why.
"Shopping" was also a joke. Couldn't even find a place to buy toiletries. And the stuff offered for sale was just junk at inflated prices for the unsuspecting.
And $30 for a prepaid hour of S-L-O-W internet use (Yes, i do need to check business sometimes even when on vacation. how do you think I can afford taking my wife on cruises?) seems another ripoff, given the free wifi available virtually everywhere else. Even airliners charge a lot less. Doesn't seem like a good business decision, when it simply adds to the feeling of being exploited when they have you by the shorts.
No more Carnival associated enterprises for me. Ever.
If you like cruising, check the details carefully. And chose anyone but a Carnival associated line.
I hope this info helps a bit.