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Can You Cruise With Costa Cruises Speaking Only English? (Entertainment, Staff & More)

If you are considering cruising with Costa Cruises and speak only English, you may be wondering if the language barrier is a problem.

In this article, we look at whether this is the case, and how the multiple languages spoken onboard may affect your cruise.

I have taken two Costa Cruises, and this post is based on my experiences

Can You Cruise with Costa Cruises if You Only Speak English?

It is possible to take a cruise with Costa Cruises if you only speak English. All staff onboard speak English and written materials, such as menus, are available in English too. Costa also have an English-speaking representative onboard to help English-speaking guests.

We never found met a crew member onboard who couldn’t speak English.

costa smeralda

What Languages do the Crew Speak?

Costa Cruises is an Italian Cruise Line but as with most other cruise lines, Costa recruits staff from all over the world.

For many, English is their second language – and they then have to learn Italian as a third language.

Then they also need to learn some other languages – like Spanish, German and French too! The crew are very impressive and I was always amazed with how they could change so easily from one language to another.

The crew actually seemed to like it when we spoke to them in English, they are often more fluent in English than Italian.

It was interesting to me that when crew of different nationalities worked together, they spoke in English. It seemed to be the common language that everyone understood.

When we first embarked Costa Smeralda, we were welcomed onboard by a lovely staff member. She looked very relieved when we started to speak to her, she said she had been concerned that we may be Spanish, and she didn’t think her Spanish was very good although I’m sure it was!

Are Menus and Other Paperwork in English?

Menus are available on your Costa Cruises App (in English), or you can ask for a paper version – they come in all languages.

costa daily schedule in English

Find out more about Cruise line Apps and how to use them here: You Don’t Need to Pay For Wi-Fi To Use a Cruise Line App – Here’s Why

When you arrive in your cabin you will find a welcome pack containing the information you will need, and the daily schedule will arrive every evening as on every other cruise line.

Our welcome pack in the cabin had a Union Jack flag in the corner. These flags help the cabin steward select the correct language for the guests staying in their cabins.

Unfortunately, there was a slight mix-up in my parent’s cabin, and they received their welcome pack and written information in Spanish. They left a quick note in the cabin for the cabin steward, and the problem was soon sorted…

All menus are available in English.

costa cruises main dining room food menu

To see everything I ate on my Costa cruise and the menus, check out this post: Everything I Ate on my Costa Cruise (Photos and Menus) – Food Review

How Does Multiple Languages Spoken Onboard Affect the Entertainment?

Shows and Theatre Entertainment

The shows put on by Costa Cruises were very good but had little or no dialogue. This is because shows have to entertain people from multiple different countries.

The shows were mostly singing and dancing, tribute acts, or acrobatics.

We watched a very good show featuring the songs of Michael Jackson and a Whitney Houston Tribute Act.

Before the show, the Cruise Director would introduce it in many different languages – jumping from one to another without even pausing for breath!

When, at the end of the show, he came back on, and talked about things going on around the rest of the ship we found that people just got up and walked out once their language had been spoken which did seem a rude, we always waited even if we couldn’t understand.

Trivia Was Tricky

Trivia was held daily in the ship’s bars and lounges. The subject varied from general knowledge, films and even “name that painting” – which we weren’t very good at.

You had to concentrate quite hard, as all of the questions had to be asked – and answered – in Italian, Spanish, French, German and English!

This meant that the trivia seemed to go on for quite a long time too.

The Cabin TV

The cabin TV had about 40 different channels – but only about five were in English.

Mostly the English channels were news channels – BBC News, CNN, Sky News etc.

There was also a film channel and one that showed documentaries.

costa smeralda inside cabin bed tv

There was also the usual Web Cam channel showing the front of the ship, and maps showing the ship’s location, weather and sea conditions.

There was also an excursion channel, showing excursions that were available to book via the App or the Excursion Desk.

Costa Have English Speaking Representatives

On Costa Cruises, there is a special “English-Speaking Representative.” It is their job to look after the English-speaking passengers.

Our representative rang us soon after we boarded to introduce herself, and let us know that she was always available if we had any questions or problems.

There was also an “English Speaking” meet-up at the end of the cruise, where she went through the disembarkation procedures with us which was very helpful.

Reception Desk

I only needed to go to the Reception Desk once during the cruise when my cruise card stopped working in my cabin door. It was staffed by people of multiple nationalities speaking multiple languages.

There were machines around the Reception and Atrium area and you were able to swipe your credit card to add it to your account to pay for any additional onboard spending. All instructions were available in English.

You can see the running total of your bill on the Costa Cruises App. This avoids any nasty surprises at the end of the cruise!

Costa Offer Multiple Excursions

Costa Cruises offer multiple excursions, and you can book yourself on to one with an English Speaking Guide.

There may not be a lot of choice depending on the number of English speakers onboard and the excursions may be cancelled if they don’t get enough people booked onto the tour, this has happened to us in the past.

How Can I Book a Costa Cruise?

You can book Costa cruises directly on Costa’s website in English or can use an English speaking travel agent.

When I recently booked my cruise on The Costa Smeralda booking directly was the cheapest and easiest way.

There was also an additional discount code advertised on their website, so the already competitive advertised price was even cheaper when I came to book!

We paid £279 FOR THE WEEK.

Would I Recommend a Costa Cruise For English Speakers?

We had a fantastic time on our Costa cruise speaking only English and never encountered any problems with language.

It is easy to book via the Costa Cruises website, and you can add drinks packages, excursions etc the same way you would when booking with most American or British Cruise Lines.

Be aware though that there will be multiple other nationalities onboard, and this will affect the entertainment you will find on a Costa Cruise.

Costa Cruises do everything they can to make guests of all nationalities welcome and make sure their ships, facilities and entertainment appeal to as broad a range of people as possible.

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