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Is Costa Italian or European?


MyriamS
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Hi everyone, I'd never considered taking a Costa cruises before (mostly because I did not like their itineraries) but, lo and behold, when looking for cruise to Iceland for Spring 2025, Costa actually has the best itinerary of all mainstream cruise lines we checked, as well as a similar price point (not cheap, but fair). It's not the typical Costa cruise: it is 12 night long and has only one departure port, Hamburg. Based on this, I would expect many (even the majority) of customers to be German and probably older as well (as I read there are fewer families on longer cruises). 

 

So my question is: will Costa adapt to this audience, or will it provide an Italian experience only? The two examples that jump to my mind are:

- dining times. In Europe, the more South you eat, the later you dine. My Finnish partner happily eats dinner at 5pm and has converted me. Of course, we can eat a couple hours later, but having dinner at 9pm would simply not be enjoyable to us at all, and many of the German, Dutch, Danish... passengers would agree. Does Costa adjust the set dining times based on the itinerary? If the late seating is really late, what are our chances to get the early seating? We would be sailing in an inside cabin, so not getting to choose.

- noise levels. Italians are not shy about partying loudly late at night. Germans (at least in my experience) really respect the "quiet hours". Will the whole ship be noisy, everywhere, all the time? Or is the noise restricted to some area and by picking our stateroom well, we would be able to sleep in peace?

 

I'm sorry if I sound extremely boring. I love Italy, but there's a reason I don't live there. 🙂 In my experience, every country in Europe has its own quirks, and Costa advertises itself as a good holiday for a pan-European audience. Do you think it deliver on that promise? 

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It is Italian line... So food is italian, most likely passengers will be Italians etc. However the crew will be multinational so announcements will be in several different languages. 

Usually cruise lines don't change the dinner times due to the itineraries. Early dinner is bit late for Finnish but it is doable at 6:30pm. If you get the late evening seating ask cruise line for early seating. Most likely you will get it because later seating is much more crowded than the earlier. Of course no guarantee and will depend on the nationalities on board. But on previous Costa cruises the earlier seating is not that crowded compared to the later seating which was packed full.

 

And there will be parties all around the ship. But the noise level will in the theatres etc. The cabin areas are quiet depending on the location. Just don't take the cabin next to pool area... 😁 

It is Italian but I say it is good value for Europeans as the experience is European/Italian. But for those coming from US based cruise lines it is very different. And I think Costa cruises are good value when comparing the prices against RCL, NCL etc. 

 

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We've done many Costa cruises from Germany. There will be a good mix of passengers from around Europe with no nationality dominating. Early dinner will be at 6 or 6.30 and is not as popular as late dinner, so you won't have a problem getting a table. Get a cabin on deck 7 and you shouldn't have a problem with noise.

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I’ve been on exactly one Costa cruise, so take this for what it’s worth. They are unabashedly Italian. They do provide menus, daily newsletter, etc. in a variety of languages and the entertainment staff are remarkably multilingual and will cater their patter to their audience. But in terms of “style” it’s Italian all the way. Meals can go late (I was randomly assigned 9:15 dinner). Evening entertainment is often loud and goes until the wee hours. Don’t expect a string quartet playing in the atrium. But as long as you pick your cabin well, there are always quiet spots for an evening drink and then off to bed. 

Side note: I recently got in a discussion with some English YouTubers on the differences between AIDAcosma and the Costa Toscana. Same basic ship structure (Carnival Helios Class) but fitted out very differently. And how the German ship was dead after 10:30 while the Italian ship was just getting started. 

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Thanks for your insights, everyone. We did consider AIDA cruises as well, but their itinerary is just not as good as Costa.

 

@wcook Were you able to change your 9:15 dinner assignment? (If you wished to)

 

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5 hours ago, MyriamS said:

Were you able to change your 9:15 dinner assignment? (If you wished to)


I was fine with it. I was in Dubai, so my body clock was nine hours off anyway. And later dinner was less hurry back to the ship. 

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To ensure a quite cabin looks on the deck plans and pick one with cabins above below and either side.

 

Don't go for a cabin above or below any entertainment or dinning area or pool decks or gym or runny track etc

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I usually prefer to try as many different cruise companies as possible but Costa had very affordable cruises during our tenth year anniversary, so I decided to give them a try on a classic 7-night Mediterranean itinerary. 

I followed your advice and picked a cabin surrounded by other cabins as it was only a very small upcharge (20€ total). I was also positively surprised to see there was a way to register my dining preferences in My Costa (restaurant, table size and dining times of 7 or 9pm for this particular sailing). I chose a table for two at 7pm in El Meneghino If early dining truly is the least popular option, then they should be able to accommodate us. 

My thinking is that, if we like this cruise, we can just book the longer Iceland itinerary for next year and, if we dislike it, well, it was a cheap holiday, and probably still better than staying home for our tenth year anniversary. 

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  • 1 month later...

Just an update: our 10th year anniversary cruise in November 2024 won't happen as Costa cancelled it (the Smeralda needs to reposition around Africa for its winter season in Dubai). The alternatives offered by Costa did not appeal, so we will try MSC this time and probably come back to Costa for Iceland in 2025.

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