warning, this cruise line does not like or take care of its American guests. This is the second time that me and my wife tried costa...once on a larger ship, the costa magica and once on the europa. Both times our hosts were noticibly rude and not very helpful. We have done some cruising before so we were able to get around the lack of help. The rudeness only gets worse as you get closer to Italy. And the europa has a smell that is noticeable all over the ship...it smells like sewers. The pool on the outside deck was only open once on our eleven day cruise. Each stop was either too short or when you went ashore you found that most of the stores were closed because it was on a weekend and it was after 1pm. It just goes on and on...for some unknown reason the english speaking host doesnt tell you about the shuttles that will take you into town only the expensive excursions...but even those shuttles end up to be about the same cost as getting a taxi on your own. We received no information booklet from costa and even after many attempts to conta costa via phone e-mails we never received any information. Then costa told our travel agent that the no longer send out any booklets....and costa was right in a way...all the european gusets showed up with booklets ,just not the American guests. (actually not being able to access thier website or getting information actually saved us lots of cash. We ended up going ashore at each stop and saw there was easy access to many types of tours not just the ones offered on ship...the best of which was those double decker tour buses that you can get on and off all day for about 10-20 euros. We used those like taxis and got off at or near where we wanted...spent as much time as we wanted then just got on them when they came by again.)
Don't get me wrong, the upper class italians were the rude unhelpful ones...your cabin stewards etc were more than helpful...it is just a shame that their bosses are not. if you are not european or better yet an italian from Italy be warned.
The food was not up to standard either. This was the first cruise where we actually ordered room service...(where there is also a small charge...they do get you everytime you turn around...you have to pay for water...they even turn off the hot water for the tea machines!!!)
The food is the same day after day for breakfast and for lunch/dinner/midnight buffets ,I am so sick of the same sandwiches they served which had the same two types of meat slices and the same two types of cheese. This is also the first cruise where I saw guests getting off just to eat! and that also included some of the europeans!...please do yourself a favor and don't pick the costa europa....