When we cruised the Med. last summer, we were at port almost every day. On the days that we were in port during dinner it was always open seating so that was great. You can always get a table for four, one of our best times was a lunch when the guy seating everyone was not paying attention and we ending up siting with a German couple who spoke a little English, we then became friends for the rest of the trip and now they plan a trip to AZ to visit (us and Las Vegas) The pools were cold even in the Summer, and they are salt water too. It didn't seem to stop the Italians, they are pretty much party people....also top deck sun bathing, clothing optional.....
Some people were critical about the food, as for me I am a caterer, so I know the cost of food and for the money it was great. I would say the weakest part of the food would be in the desserts. They look better than they taste. No gelato either just bad soft serve.
I think sometimes we forget how much or little we are paying for some of these cruises. My HAL with AIR is only $1,100 so I will be happy with what ever I get. We are going to mainly ports I haven't been too yet so I am excited.
On both ships, the Italians loved to dance! I have a blast just watching the old men and their wives on the dance floor. They take it very seriously. Costa is now owned by Carnival, so I think the level of service is pretty much the same.
The only other thing I can think of that people talked about, was the smoking. There will be more smoking that most Cruise Lines, only allowed in the Casino, and certain bars, but it does tend to travel. I just avoided the smoking areas.