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Are Costa Cruises All Inclusive? Your Guide To Whats Included

If you are considering a cruise with Costa cruise line you might be wondering what is included in the cruise fare. I recently took my first Costa cruise and learnt a lot.

During this post, we will cover everything that is included, and everything that isn’t, so that you can budget for your Costa cruise.

Do Costa Cruises Include Meals?

All Costa cruises include all meals as standard. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available in either the buffet or main dining room which are included in the cruise fare. There are also some other options that cost extra but these are optional.

During my Costa cruise, I didn’t spend any extra money on food. It is possible to cruise with Costa and only eat in the complementary restaurant and buffet.

The Food in The Buffet is Included (But Not Great in my Opinion)

I have to be honest, I wasn’t very impressed with the buffet on my Costa cruise and preferred instead to eat in the main dining room. However, I only paid around £40 per night for my Costa cruise so I find it amazing that any food is included at all!

Costa buffets are perfect for dining in an informal way, for a light snack or for a full lunch. It’s the perfect moment to fill up and store some energy for when your cruise day becomes more intense. You can choose the buffet restaurant for dinner if you want a quick meal or if you are cruising with a large group and you all have different needs and preferred sitting times.  – source. 

The buffet is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.

Important things to note:

  • The buffet does close completely between meals and you may have a couple of hours where the buffet is closed. The buffet also closed at 8.30pm which is the earliest I’ve ever found on a cruise ship.
  • There is another area outside the buffet which serves hot dogs/burgers/chips etc.
Costa Cruises Buffet Food Included

What Drinks Are Available In The Buffet on a Costa Cruise?

  • Water is included in the buffet all day. I found it SO difficult to get the water machine to give me water so when I did get it to work I would fill multiple cups.
  • Tea/Coffee is only included in the buffet at breakfast and during the afternoon tea hour, the rest of the time it is closed.

If you have cruised with MSC I’d recommend checking out this post which compared the two cruise lines: MSC and Costa Cruises: 7 Differences

The Main Dining Room Food is Included

The main dining room was open for breakfast, dinner and occasionally lunch.

Is Water Free on Costa Cruises?

Tap water isn’t free in the main dining room on Costa Cruises. Water is free in the buffet.

Costa are the only cruise line I know of that don’t provide free tap water in the main dining room.

Costa Cruises Luminosa Main Dining Room

Breakfast is Always Included

A typical Italian breakfast or a lovely international breakfast, served at your table in the main restaurant and freshly prepared, will be the perfect start to your day. – source.

During breakfast, there was the option to have waiter service but there would also often be a buffet section in the middle of the restaurant. This was my favourite option during my cruise as it meant I had a table but also could select my own food.

Most of the time we were placed on a table for 6 or 8 with other cruisers. A lot of the time the other cruisers on the table didn’t speak English so we very rarely spoke. That suited me just fine though, I’m not always very sociable in the morning.

There Are Multiple Options For Dinner

 At dinner, indulge in the most famous Italian dishes such as fillet of beef alla Rossini, Cappelletti with braised meat or delicious Sardinian fregola with fresh vegetables. And let’s not forget the gastronomic offerings from the places we visit.  – source.

Dinner is a big deal on Costa cruises. The food served is traditionally Italian and there are 7 courses you can choose from. On the first day, I ordered from all courses before realising that I didn’t have to.

The food in the main dining room was of good quality and the portions were pretty large. To read my full review of the cruise, including the food, check out this post: Costa Luminosa Review 2019

Costa Cruises Main Dining Room Food

Costa Mostly Have Fixed Dining

A table will be assigned to you for the duration of your cruise and this is your every dinner.

Costa has two seatings of dinner per night and it is possible to select which one you would like before the cruise. If for some reason you get onboard and realise you have the early seating and would like late, or vice versa, Costa will try and change this for you onboard.

On a Costa cruise, you will be sat with guests that speak the same language as you if this is possible.

We were sat with 4 other English speaking guests, this isn’t just for the benefit of the passengers but also for the benefit of the crew who are waiting on the table.

You may not have to table share at all.

During my cruise which had 2800 passengers, only 62 were British. Costa cruises will have an English speaking representative onboard and ours said that 62 was considered quite a lot for a cruise like ours.

Costa Cruises Dining Times

Extra Charges For Food Items

On the main dining room menu, there will be a couple of items that cost extra.

This may be a particularly nice steak or seafood. I always avoid these items, as a rule, preferring instead to eat the food included in the cruise fare. That said if there is something you want to try, go for it!

Is There Any More Complimentary Food On Costa Cruises?

There are no additional complimentary food options on Costa Cruises.

Room Service

Costa cruises do have room service but each item has an individual charge.

Up selling

There is an element of upselling on Costa cruises. That said, I was amazed that any food was included for the price that we paid!

If you don’t want to spend any extra money on food during your cruise that is completely fine.

I have to admit I did keep some biscuits and snacks in my cabin (bought on land) for the times where the buffet wasn’t open or I didn’t want to eat anything on offer. Technically speaking you’re not allowed to bring food onboard but I doubt Costa care about a packet of biscuits (they didn’t mind mine).

To learn more about my cruise, make sure you watch this live stream I did when I came back:

Speciality Restaurants

On Costa cruise ships you will find a variety of speciality restaurants that cost extra. I cruised on the Costa Luminosa which had the following speciality restaurants:

Ristorante Samsara

Where the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean meet, we savour Pacific fusion cuisine in a menu full of taste and innovation. The menu created by Stefano Fontanesi, Costa Corporate Chef, Riccardo Bellaera, Costa Corporate Pastry Chef, is an explosion of taste where habanero chillies, cashew nuts and Japanese sake meet Mediterranean specialties like olive oil, fettuccine, Greek feta and so much more – source.

The Ristorante Samsara restaurant costs €25 per person which is extremely cheap for a speciality restaurant. On many cruise lines you’ll pay €50-€100 for a speciality meal.

Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki is a Japanese restaurant where the food is cooked right in front of diners. It can be quite theatrical at times with items of food being thrown up and chopped in mid-air.

Many cruise lines have a Teppanyaki restaurant including Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC.

The price of Teppanyaki on Costa Cruises usually ranges from €25-€30 per person.

Costa Cruises Teppanyaki

Club Luminosa

The ‘club’ restaurant is a restaurant onboard where guests who have booked suites can dine. If you’re not staying in a suite you can still stay in the cabins but must pay a fee to do so. Apparently, it is a restaurant of ‘more refined pleasures’.

Pizzeria

One thing that really took me by surprise about my Costa cruise was that there was never any free pizza in the main dining room or buffet. Costa are an Italian line so I had assumed there would be pizza everywhere!

To find out more about the things that surprised me about my first Costa cruise, check out this post: My 1st cruise with Costa Cruises: 11 Surprises!

Costa do have a speciality pizza restaurant which explains why they don’t offer any free pizza.

A 100% made in Italy pizza, with quality ingredients and the genuineness of a dough made with leavened sourdough.

Being on board a Costa ship is a genuine Italian experience. You will feel like you are in Italy. Pizzeria Pummid’oro, where you can eat the most famous Italian dish, prepared strictly according to the original recipe. – source

Costa Cruises Pizzeria

To Conclude:

On a Costa Cruise breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in the main dining room free of charge. There is also a buffet where food is available for free throughout the cruise.

There are a number of other paid-for extras but these are optional.

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