Why did I book this cruise?
I’ve often seen REALLY cheap last-minute Costa cruises dropping into my inbox. I’ve always wondered what they were like and as I had a little bit of annual leave left I decided to take the plunge. I didn’t really have high expectations for this cruise, given the rock bottom price I paid and some of the reviews I had read on trip advisor. I was pleasantly surprised by my experience.
How much did it cost?
I paid £400 for a 7-night cruise, including flights to Venice from London. An absolute bargain! The cruise without flights was being advertised at £250 per person, that’s less than £35 per night!
Which ship did we cruise on?
The ship that this cruise was on was the Costa Luminosa. The Costa Luminosa was built in 2009 and she has a sister ship the Costa Deliziosa. I’ve honestly never seen anything quite like this ship. She is SO colourful, lively and full of life. The decor certainly is unique and I definitely will never forget the atrium shown below.
Check out the video below to see what I LOVED about the Costa Luminosa. She is such a colourful ship it really is better shown in videos than photos.
What nationalities were onboard?
I knew that Costa was an Italian line with the majority of guests speaking Italian. I didn’t, however, realise quite how few British passengers would be onboard. There were only 62 British passengers onboard out of 2800. Apparently, this is quite a lot and some cruises won’t have any British passengers at all.
The ship has an English speaking representative who introduced herself to us. A nice touch I thought. She let us know that if we ever needed anything she was our port of call which was really reassuring. All of the staff onboard did speak English but it was still nice to know that we had somebody who spoke English as their first language.
In what languages were daily announcements made?
Day to day announcements were usually only done in Italian and most gameshows/trivia quizzes were hosted in Italian. Unfortunately, I don’t speak any Italian so that made taking part in a lot of the activities near impossible. However, I never expected to be able to do so. I don’t think I can go on an Italian cruise line on a cruise out of Italy and complain that the entertainment was mostly in Italian!
In what language was the onboard entertainment?
In the theatre a lot of the entertainment was in English. The proportion of songs sung in English was quite high and the cruise director spoke many many languages. He would try and include guests of all nationalities in the shows and in one evening would speak: Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German!
I was continually amazed by the ability of the staff and other guests to speak a variety of languages. I only speak English and sometimes struggle enough with that.
What was the entertainment in the theatre like?
The theatre was huge and I really loved the seating. You don’t have individual seats and there are plenty of tables around. There isn’t any bar service in the theatre but it’s easy enough to get a drink from another bar and bring it into the theatre if this is what you wanted to do.
Given the number of languages spoken onboard, I thought that the entertainment was really good. It isn’t ever going to be like the entertainment you’ll find on a British or American line because of the language barriers but we saw lots of singing, dancing and occasionally things like acrobats and shadow puppets, yep really.
For some reason, filming and taking photos was allowed in the theatre, hoorar!
The shows seemed to like using a LOT of lasers. I never saw any warnings about this before the shows so that is worth nothing if you are epileptic or don’t like having lasers shining at you. I thought it was really cool but did start to wonder if the lasers were actually hypnotising me to think that.
What was the food like?
The food in the buffet all looked really nice and there was a lot of variety however it was often served much much colder than I would have liked. Having said that, I always found something that I wanted to eat and particularly liked the doughnuts for breakfast! I just ended up sticking to food that was always meant to be cold.
I will be bringing you a full food review so watch this space!
The buffet closed for the evening at 8:30pm. There was no free food available after this time. I’m normally a fan of a late evening snack so this was a shame. I also really struggled with the fact that the tea/coffee machines were only available at breakfast and between 4-5pm. I REALLY missed my evening cup of tea (but not enough to pay for it of course).
Below is my afternoon tea snacks:
Main Dining Room
The food in the main dining room was really good! I found the menu a bit confusing so it was very much a lucky dip as to what you were going to get. That said all of the food was hot (ish) and well prepared. I also think that the presentation of the food was really good. We were never given anything that didn’t look photo ready.
What is dining like?
As most of you know. I do not like set dining or table sharing. Unfortunately, we had to do both onboard. We were sat with a couple of Scottish women and another American pair who never came back after the first night. Who knows where they went, maybe they changed to a later dining time. The dining room itself was HUGE. It was split over two levels and was decorated the same way as the rest of the ship.
Dinner itself is quite a big event onboard. It can take upwards of two hours and you could have 5/6 courses if you wanted to. Maybe even more! I am more accustomed to the ‘starter, main, dessert’ kind of set up although I did my best to try everything (for research purposes of course).
Bonus tip: It is worth noting that water isn’t included for free at meal times. A big bottle of water will cost you €3. I did miss the continuous filling of my glass!
What was the atmosphere onboard like?
The ship was really lively and loud. I think I’d recommend Costa more as a party cruise line than a relaxing one. That said there were plenty of places where you could grab a drink even on the busiest of evenings. There was LOADS of seating around the ship and we never struggled to find somewhere to sit.
What was your cabin like?
I stayed in a guaranteed inside cabin with my brother and my parents stayed in a guaranteed balcony cabin. We ended up being miles away from each other but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Those extra steps made up for the doughnuts I was eating for breakfast!
The cabin wasn’t particularly exciting but it was clean and functional. It reminded me of some of the Carnival cabins which makes sense since Costa is owned by Carnival.
Would I recommend a Costa cruise?
I would BUT not to everybody (same as any cruise line). A Costa cruise is a LOT of fun but anybody considering a Costa cruise with them should realise that the majority of guests onboard won’t speak English and this makes it a very different experience from cruising on a British or American line. The ship was very loud and full of life.
Who would I recommend a Costa cruise to?
I’d recommend a Costa cruise to people who like a lively atmosphere and an authentic Italian experience! There seemed to be a lot of families and young adults onboard so I think these groups of people would be happiest onboard.
I had a lot of fun during this cruise but it is important to remember that this definitely isn’t a luxury cruise line and you do get what you pay for. It is very much a budget cruise line, as the price suggests!
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Explore With Ed
Friday 21st of December 2018
Ideal for a cheap last minute break! I did a similar itinerary last year on MSC, more for the destinations than the ship - but I really enjoyed it. :)
Emma Le Teace
Thursday 27th of December 2018
Oh absolutely! I think Costa and MSC are pretty similar :)
Paul and Carole
Thursday 20th of December 2018
Great post showing what Costa have to offer, it is a budget line and it seems you get what you pay for, but does looks a lot of fun. We would not of considered Costa but certainly will now if the price and itinerary works for us!
Emma Le Teace
Thursday 27th of December 2018
Yep exactly! Couldn't have said it better. For the money it was fabulous :)