We’ve heard mixed reviews about Costa Cruises, so we thoughts we’d see for ourselves. Our voyage, albeit a short cruise, departed from Barcelona, with calls at Marseille in the South of France, and Savona in Northern Italy.

Our first impressions were that the staff were friendly, welcoming and helpful and the ship was clean and tidy. They make caring for their guest a priority, which included having international hosts and excellent care for guests with disabilities. Free wheelchairs are readily available and special seating is reserved around the ship for those with disabilities – particularly appreciated by the pools and in the restaurants.

The decor and food reflect the company’s Italian roots, although given the ship is now over ten years old, decor is a little dated.

Food: A predominantly Italian menu, the ship serves around 140,000 portions of pasta each month, although surprisingly, the choice of pizza during the day is limited. The food is good with a wide choice, and deserts are especially more-ish. However, be prepared to pay for extras that you would expect to be included elsewhere, such as tea and coffee after breakfast and water with your dinner.

Speciality dining includes a Pizzeria, Burger Bar and a fine dining restaurant all with cover charges.

Entertainment:Even on a short cruise there is plenty to do, whether an exercise or Italian class, a quiz, or a show. Or you can just choose to sit on deck and literally watch the world go by.

There are three pools, two outside and one inside, all with spa pools attached. In the spa area as well as the normal range of treatments available there are steam rooms, saunas and another spa pool. For anyone feeling particularly energetic there is also a gym with an excellent range of equipment.

Cabins:The ship has 1,057 cabins, all spacious and comfortable, with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space and accessible cabins for those with physical disabilities.

Destinations: With the cruise starting and ending in Barcelona there is plenty of time to explore this gorgeous city. First stop is Marseilles, a 9 km journey from the cruise port with a coach transfer (10.45 euro return). However, the highlight for us was Savona, a charming little Italian town, easy to walk to and around, including a beautiful Sistine Chapel, second only to the Vatican. For the more adventurous it is worth climbing up to the Fortessa del Priamar for the sweeping views. Summer visitors have good beaches within easy reach.

Overall, we found the Costa experience enjoyable although in some aspects it felt a little bit ‘no frills’ – if it was a hotel resort we would grade it 3* to 3*+.

For more details about this ship, visit: https://www.costacruises.com/fleet/mediterranea/v1.html

By Editor

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