May 2016 - Costa Mediterranea to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
This was our first cruise (a middle-aged US couple) and we didn't always know what to expect but definitely enjoyed the experience and we were 'sold' on cruising by this experience. The destinations were great -- Corfu for example is not the sort of place we would have gone to on our own, but we went because it was on the itinerary and absolutely loved it. The ship was wonderful, the food was excellent, and the experience of being at sea was amazing.
HOWEVER! There were two serious negatives to the cruise experience, both of which were entirely Costa's responsibility. The service in the main dining room was ridiculously slow (45 minutes to get our first course, and we were always offered bread but never butter, which was weird). The byzantine complexity of the beverage policy was constantly frustrating; we had a non-alcoholic package but the business of having to sign for each and every drink, and not being able to order water (!) was crazy. I know this is how cruising works but that doesn't make it any less stupid.
Worst of all was our experience with Costa's excursions department. We signed up for one excursion, the bus tour of Montenegro from Kotor, and it was a disaster. We were promised a four hour tour (giving us one hour to explore Kotor itself) which included the old capital of Cetinje. Those were the two things we went there to see -- Kotor and Cetinje. Instead, the tour took four hours and didn't include either Kotor or Cetinje. (Trying to prove us wrong, the tour desk got out their 'official' description of the tour, which confirmed at least that it was a four hour tour; the Costa website has a detailed video about this tour that really plays up Cetinje as a destination but they quietly dropped it from the excursion without telling us).
The employees at the travel desk were extremely rude and unkind, making no effort to apologize or compensate us for their mistakes. At Costa evidently they take very seriously any fine print that may say "We reserve the right to completely screw our customers for no reason." The single experience of this excursion -- which kept us from even seeing Kotor itself, the town the ship docked in -- has convinced us that we will never, ever travel with Costa Cruises again.