Costa Smeralda cruise


Costa Smeralda cruise

Costa Smeralda cruise

I understand that the creation of this objective page may invite criticism. However, I want to emphasize that I have nothing against Costa. My duty was to be objective, even though I know this page may seem harsh. Nevertheless, it accurately reflects my experience as well as that of many cruisers!

Costa Smeralda cruise

Poorly designed amenities that diminish the cruise experience

Costa Smeralda promises a unique experience. However, I must be candid from the outset: I did not enjoy this experience at all. Therefore, I cannot recommend it. While journalists may have published numerous glowing articles during its opening, their credibility is questionable. This billion-dollar cruise ship is a complete mess. The interior decor is beautiful, but the layout is bewildering. I may not be a journalist, but I am read by thousands of travelers. Therefore, I must be honest and present the Costa Smeralda objectively.

Costa Smeralda cruise facilities

Discover the facilities of the Costa Smeralda

Here is an overview of the facilities available on this ship:

  • Over 2,600 cabins.
  • 1,550 cabins with balconies.
  • 788 interior cabins.
  • 13 pools and Jacuzzis: Refreshing wading pools and crowded Jacuzzis.
  • 11 restaurants and snack bars.
  • 19 bars and lounges.

Despite having these numerous facilities, the Costa Smeralda received negative reviews from passengers.

Bars on the Costa Smeralda bars

A decent atmosphere but lacking in warmth

During your cruise aboard the Costa Smeralda, it’s true that most of the bars lack something essential: that human warmth that creates a unique atmosphere.

If you’re seeking a lively and friendly atmosphere in the bars, the Costa Smeralda might not meet your expectations. It’s also important to note that most bars do not offer table service. You must get up and order directly at the bar… It can be quite disconcerting!

Onboard prices on the Costa Smeralda surprising

Bottled water at €4.20 and unexpected supplements

During your cruise aboard the Costa Smeralda, you’ll notice that onboard prices can be high. Bottled water is sold for €4.20, a double espresso ranges from €4.30 to €5.06 depending on the bar, a regular espresso is €2.20 (before taxes), and sodas vary between €3.60 and €5.50, depending on the bar where you order them. Additionally, pizzas start at €9, and ice creams are sold for €2.20. Adding to these prices is the surcharge: For example, if you order a soda for €3.60, plus taxes, it comes to €4.26 for a 33ml soda.

What’s even more surprising is that some packages (all-inclusive plans) don’t even include water. There have been cases where people with all-inclusive packages were told to be cautious about their consumption (as they were overindulging in drinks). Of course, drinks tend to be more expensive on cruise ships, but what’s shocking is the price of water, especially in the evening when the restaurants are closed. If you ask for a carafe of water, it doesn’t exist; you’ll have to order a bottle and pay €4 each time, and they will tell you that filling your water bottle can only be done in your cabin. It’s really quite expensive!

Costa Smeralda cruise restaurants

Buffet and dining options limitations

The cuisine is satisfactory; however, there are many downsides. At the buffet, the menu remains the same every day. Goodbye self-service, the portions served are tiny, and asking for more becomes complicated. Additionally, pizzas, which are usually free and delicious on other ships, are not free here and start at a minimum of €9 in the restaurant. It’s worth noting that finding a place to sit and eat can be challenging; we had to sit outside near the smoking area.

Restricted dining hours and dietary limitations on the Costa Smeralda

A disappointing dining experience onboard

Furthermore, please note that buffet hours are restricted. They close as early as 8:30 PM, limiting your meal options. After this time, there is no more free dining available, nor is there the possibility of getting water. This restriction limits our freedom to eat at our convenience, which is truly lamentable!

An ice machine with no ice

Throughout the week, the ice machines were out of service even during peak hours.

The Costa Smeralda has become a money-making machine. The limited dining choices and paid restaurants, even for common dishes like pizzas, clearly reflect this commercial orientation. Passengers find themselves trapped with limited options and unexpected expenses. This profit-driven approach at the expense of passenger experience is deeply disappointing and doesn’t align with the expectations one might have for a cruise. Not having fresh water available, regardless of the time, is lamentable, all for the sake of selling overpriced bottled water. For cruisers who have taken a package, be aware that water may not be included! Filling your water bottle at the machines is, of course, prohibited.

Costa Smeralda cruise restaurants

Farewell to traditional self-service

Aboard the Costa Smeralda, say goodbye to traditional self-service. Now, it’s the ship’s staff that serves you. The quantities served on plates are ridiculous; everything is under control. If you have a hearty appetite, don’t hesitate to ask for an extra portion (even though it appears to bother them)! This ship is truly impressive in every aspect. I sympathize with people for whom this cruise is a first experience because it doesn’t really reflect the world of cruising.

Food waste aboard the Costa Smeralda

A shocking and irritating issue

During my cruise aboard the Costa Smeralda, I was shocked and irritated by one thing: food waste.

Mountains of food going to waste, barely touched plates being discarded without any remorse… The resources required to produce this food are precious, yet it’s wasted irresponsibly, without concern for the detrimental consequences on our planet and for those suffering from hunger.

Of course, this problem is not exclusive to the Costa Smeralda but rather a general issue (MSC? Royal…), same story!

Costa Smeralda cruise restaurants

Poor service and lack of consideration

Dear friends of MTT, let me share our recent experience in the restaurants of the Costa Smeralda. We had the opportunity to dine twice, and unfortunately, both times were marked by a frosty welcome and terrible service. Not to mention that on the first night, we were treated poorly because there were no available seats; they asked us to come back the next day even though we were on the schedule…

Usually, we are accustomed to being pampered by lovely and attentive servers on cruise ships. However, in this particular case, we were disappointed by their behavior. They placed the plates on the table rudely, not a single glance, let alone a smile – a guaranteed unpleasant atmosphere. This lack of consideration genuinely surprised us. If you happen to ask for a carafe of water, they will give you a disapproving look (it happened to many people)…

Costa Smeralda cruise pizzeria

A disappointing dining experience to avoid

If you’re considering dining at the Costa Smeralda Pizzeria, think twice! Our experience was disappointing in many ways. Firstly, the wait for our dishes was endless (1 hour and 20 minutes), seriously affecting our evening. Furthermore, the floor was unfortunately dirty, which does not meet the expected hygiene standards for an establishment of this caliber. With only 8 tables, they prioritize takeout orders, leaving us waiting.

The manager of the pizzeria was particularly unfriendly when we informed him that we had been waiting for 50 minutes already, even though there were very few people. It’s essential that the staff at a restaurant of this size be attentive and friendly to customers.

Before planning your meal at the Costa Smeralda Pizzeria, keep these points in mind. We hope that these issues will be addressed to improve the overall customer experience, which is currently catastrophic.

Costa Smeralda cruise ice cream shop

Delicious ice creams at affordable prices

A pleasant surprise on board the Smeralda is the genuinely delicious ice creams. The team is extremely friendly and will serve you with a smile.

As you can see, the prices are very affordable, and all the flavors are delightful. Yes, in a week, we had time to try them all. All the staff working at the ice cream shop is really lovely and helpful. Thanks to them!

Costa Smeralda cruise theatres

Disappointing theatrical experience on board the so-called “Colosseo” and “Sanremo” theatres

During my cruise on board the Costa Smeralda, I had a disappointing theatrical experience. The “Colosseo” and “Sanremo” theaters, despite their imposing names, are ridiculously small, accommodating very few people. Moreover, their layout is bewildering, with pillars obstructing the view of the stage. It’s surprising that such architectural obstacles were integrated into entertainment spaces. The lack of seats forces some passengers to watch the shows on nearby televisions, which is far from ideal.

To secure a seat, you must arrive at least an hour and a half before the show, adding to the frustration. The Sanremo theater, located at the end of the ship, presents the same visibility problems and doesn’t resemble a real theater. This strange configuration is a first in my cruise experiences. If you appreciate quality shows and a pleasant theatrical experience, Costa Smeralda does not meet these expectations!

Costa Smeralda cruise casino

On deck 7 of the Costa Smeralda, you’ll find its casino. However, compared to the casinos on the Costa Magica or the MSC Seaside and Seaview, some passengers found the atmosphere less lively. Unfortunately, the Costa Smeralda casino is non-smoking, which can frustrate smokers. Unlike other ships, there is no designated smoking area inside the casino. Nevertheless, the casino offers a nice selection of slot machines, blackjack tables, and roulette to satisfy gaming enthusiasts. The atmosphere is sophisticated, and you can enjoy a pleasant gaming experience in an elegant setting. Interestingly, I didn’t even gamble, a first for me.

Costa Smeralda cruise arcade room

Discover the Costa Smeralda arcade room: a disappointing experience! The arcade room is the smallest I’ve seen on a cruise ship; however, the games there are fun.

The arcade room offers a few games, ranging from driving simulators to shooting games and classic games.

Costa Smeralda pools

Disappointing and inadequate pools to accommodate passengers

The photo on the right, deck 16, is the worst. Count the sun loungers to see the real size of this wading pool!

The pools on the Costa Smeralda are a real joke. With nearly 6,400 passengers, they are ridiculously small. It’s impossible to get in, let alone swim. The hot tubs are also limited (they claim 13 pools and hot tubs). In reality, they are simple wading pools. Even without all the passengers, there aren’t enough of them. The designers really messed up. The rates are high, but that doesn’t justify this! Don’t be fooled by the middle photo taken at 7 pm at 32°C. That one is the “largest on the ship.”

Costa Smeralda water slides

One of the few advantages of this poorly planned cruise

water slides Costa Smeralda 3

I must admit that among the elements of this ship, the Costa Smeralda slides are one of the few well-thought-out aspects. These attractions have been carefully designed to offer an exceptional sliding experience. Among them, the centrifuge stands out for its ingenious design. It propels you at high speed, and it’s really fun; at least we had a good laugh on the rides.

Costa Smeralda Cabins

Reasons to avoid interior cabins

The interior cabins of the Costa Smeralda

The 788 interior cabins of the Costa Smeralda are a real lottery: some offer a small desk with a bed but no fridge, while others are limited to just beds. These cabins have no additional space and are incredibly small. Three days in this cabin were really too much! All the interior cabins usually offered by cruise lines are more than adequate; there is always space, a bed, a desk…

Costa Smeralda oceanview cabins

The 762 oceanview cabins of the Costa Smeralda offer more generous space.

Compared to interior cabins, there is no comparison. Oceanview cabins offer more space, but the absence of fridges, which are more than necessary on a cruise, is a problem. This is because the restaurants close early, and it’s a well-thought-out tactic to sell water bottles for over 4 euros… I find it really lamentable!

Costa Smeralda balcony and suites

Balcony and suite cabins on the Costa Smeralda offer comfort and spaciousness. However, some balcony cabins overlook passengers on lower decks, compromising privacy. When booking a balcony cabin, be aware that staff may enter without warning, which can be potentially awkward.

Costa Smeralda shops

Panarea and Sorrento shops offer a wide range of brands such as Coccinelle, Guess, Liu Jo, Tommy Hilfiger, among others. Portofino jewelry offers an interesting selection, including a Swarovski stand. Il Tempo and Crono watch shops showcase superb creations from renowned brands such as Tissot, Philip Watch, Citizen, Guess, Bulova, Invicta, and Oris. Whether you’re looking for trendy clothing, unique jewelry, or elegant watches, these shops will meet your expectations.

The onboard staff stands out for their friendliness, kindness, and smiles. We were particularly impressed by their service, as well as that of the staff at the ice cream parlor. Their professionalism and warm welcome greatly enriched our shopping experience.

Costa Smeralda “Solemio” spa

Commercial approach at the expense of customer service

Spa Costa Smeralda 1

During your visit to the Costa Smeralda spa, you may be disappointed by its commercial approach. The ladies promoting the spa are friendly, but at the counter, the reception leaves much to be desired. The seller may not say hello, focusing solely on selling packages starting from 99 euros, without even greeting you or looking at you. You may need to insist to get a response, with noticeable irritation. Unfortunately, politeness is not a priority here; only encouragement to spend matters. While the spa is a business, welcoming customers warmly is essential. This impersonal approach contrasts with other cruise companies you may have experienced.

Costa Smeralda “CoDe” museum

Located on deck 7 of the Costa Smeralda, the CoDe Museum showcases contemporary artworks. Despite the absence of windows, the atmosphere invites contemplation of the creations of talented artists. However, I would have preferred a real theater instead of this museum, but it remains pleasant.

Costa Smeralda gym

The gym on the Costa Smeralda, on deck 16, is spacious and equipped with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment. Passengers can choose between free or personalized workouts. In addition, various sports activities are available, including cycling, yoga, and more, including High-Intensity Interval Training and BungeeFit for intense experiences.

The multisport court, located on deck 18, hosts football, volleyball, basketball, and tennis tournaments. A variety of sports activities cater to sports enthusiasts on board the Costa Smeralda.

Costa Smeralda entertainment

A disappointing experience compared to other cruise ships

During your cruise on the Costa Smeralda, you will notice a difference in entertainment compared to other cruise ships. Unlike others that offer a variety of dynamic entertainment spread across numerous spaces, the Costa Smeralda is characterized by limited entertainment primarily concentrated on deck 16. This uniqueness creates an unusual atmosphere, as entertainment is usually present throughout the ship. It can be said that the concept of entertainment on board the Costa Smeralda seems compartmentalized, which may disappoint passengers (including myself).

However, it’s important to note that some musical evenings can be enjoyable. Despite the limitations, the headphone disco night is a real highlight, offering an exceptional experience. While overall entertainment may fall short for some, there are enjoyable moments of entertainment on board the Costa Smeralda, especially during special evenings. Cruise on this ship can offer moments of fun, even if the overall entertainment doesn’t quite match that of other cruise ships.

Costa Smeralda Review

A disappointing and poorly conceived experience onboard


I do not recommend the Costa Smeralda, and this is truly the first time I have written such a review. Since onboard stay fees have been imposed, it seems that no effort has been made to improve the experience. It’s a shock for me, as I generally love the people working on ships. Today, if I compare the Smeralda to other cruise ships, it’s night and day. It’s not only poorly conceived but also boring.

The ship, while visually appealing with its plush carpets, elegant paintings, and wall hangings, presents a bewildering organization. Partitions and walls fragment the space, hindering conviviality and interactions between passengers.

Furthermore, the design choices are confusing. Fences and visual obstacles limit the panoramic view and diminish the overall experience. Even the theater suffers from poor design, with seats obstructed by pillars; many of us didn’t understand the concept, if there even was one.

The lack of french-speaking staff on the Costa Smeralda

A major disappointment for french travelers

The lack of French-speaking staff on board the Costa Smeralda is a major disappointment. Yet, departures are from Marseille, Toulon, Nice, Le Havre… So, please, 1-2 French-speaking agents for thousands of passengers are not enough!

Despite cruises offered to French speakers and departures from the port of Marseille, the absence of French crew members is regrettable. However, I can manage in foreign languages.

Nevertheless, I fully understand the frustration of travelers. Not everyone is proficient in English or other foreign languages, making the cruise experience less enjoyable.

It’s high time cruise companies consider the expectations of French travelers by providing competent French-speaking staff. This would create a warm atmosphere and high-quality service.

By investing in French-speaking staff, cruise companies would demonstrate a genuine commitment to their French passengers. A cruise experience without language barriers would make vacations unforgettable and encourage travelers to return for new adventures at sea.

MTT wishes you a wonderful cruise on other Costa, MSC, Royal ships and more.

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