Jacobellis and Tom F:
My comments were not meant to offend the two of you and I was not specifically addressing you or any Costa complaints either of you may have posted on this board. I'm glad, however, to have stimulated some discussion on the subject of expectations.
I took a cruise many years ago that by the end, had a majority of the passengers complaining loudly and demanding refunds. The ship, an old Premier ship, was not in the best of shape. The food was mediocre at best, the service was lousy and worst of all, the weather was incredibly bad for the entire week. Dark stormy skies, very rough seas, lots of seasick passengers (who frequently forgot to take their seasick bags with them when they left their cabins), leaks everywhere, and numerous plumbing problems. The weather was so bad that all ports of call were cancelled. It was just seven days of being trapped on a rocking and rolling ship with each day bringing disasters worse than the day before.
It was, however, probably the best cruise we ever took. We met numerous people we still, six years later, talk to regularly. I often think that it's the friendships you form on board that make or break a cruise. I never once wished that we had selected a different line or a different itinerary. Afterwards, I wrote a calm and professional letter to Premier, pointing out the problems with the ship, the food, and the service. A month later, I received a certificate for 75% off my next cruise with them and took the same ship again with better results, although it was not nearly as memorable as the previous one had been.