Costa Cruises Review

U.S. News Travel
  • Overall Rating: 3.5stars 3.4 3.4
  • Expert Rating:3.5stars 3.3
  • Traveler Rating:3.0stars 3.2
    • Couples: 3.1
    • Families w/ young children: 3.1
    • Families w/ older children: 3.2
    • Singles/Friends: 3.0
    • Groups: 2.7
  • Health Rating:

Costa Cruises Overview

How it Ranks: Costa has been ranked based on an expert evaluation of the line's level of luxury, as well as an assessment of user reviews and health ratings. Costa Cruises appears on the following ranking lists:

Costa Cruises distinguishes itself from other European cruise lines with its Italian-inspired design, festive atmosphere and wide roster of onboard activities. Costa's ships sail around the world, touring the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Middle East, Asia, Europe, South America and the Pacific, with itineraries lasting anywhere from three to 115 nights. For an extra fee, Costa offers excursions that organize activities like religious site tours in Mumbai and scuba diving in Cozumel. Costa's shipboard experiences are just as varied as its shore excursions. Some ships offer an intimate ambiance and relaxed pace while others are crowded and action-packed. But with roughly one crew member for every three passengers, Costa aims to satisfy cruisers with quality service. And affordable cabins are easy to find within Costa's fleet, a main draw according to recent cruisers. While at sea, casinos, arcades, fitness facilities and multiple pools will keep you entertained along with cooking demonstrations, dance classes or card games. Once you've worked up an appetite, have a seat in one of the ship's restaurants or stay up late to enjoy the midnight buffet. And if you're looking for a more memorable culinary experience, consider splurging for a meal at one of the specialty Club Restaurants.

Pros & Cons

  • Many ships to pick from
  • After one Costa cruise, you'll be eligible to join CostaClub, which offers discounts on select cruises and other privileges
  • Onboard activities cater to families, couples and spa enthusiasts
  • Meals at Club Restaurants are not included in cruise rate
  • Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are not covered in cruise fare
  • The brand's reputation is still recovering after the January 2012 Costa Concordia accident

On Board

Costa attracts European couples ages 35 to 55, as well as retirees and families, though you are more likely to encounter younger cruisers on July and August voyages. Generally, Costa's European itineraries draw a European clientele, while Caribbean and South American cruises draw a North American crowd. 

More about the onboard experience»

On Shore

With more than 2,000 shore excursions to choose from, Costa offers a broad range of shoreside pursuits catering to a variety of traveler interests. Excursions vary by itinerary and include everything from a walking tour of Dubrovnik's Old City to a snorkeling expedition in Belize. You can find ...

More about the on shore experience»

Before You Book

  • All cruise fares are per person, based on double occupancy and include onboard dining at non-specialty restaurants, 24-hour room service, nightly shows and entertainment and Costa Kids programs. Cruise fares do not include government taxes and fees.
  • Cruisers younger than 21 must be traveling with a parent or guardian and on some seasonal voyages, guests 21 to 24 years old must stay in a stateroom with someone at least 25 years old.
  • Shore excursions, specialty dining, Internet access, gratuities, spa treatments and beverages are not included in the price of your cruise.
  • To reserve most Costa voyages, a $400 per person deposit fee is required; a $250 per person deposit is required for Caribbean cruises; and a 15 percent deposit is required for World/Grand cruises.
  • The cost of your cruise must be paid 90 days prior to departure. (Note: Caribbean cruises that are not booked online require final payment 70 days prior to sailing).
  • All cancellations and refund requests must be submitted in writing. You will receive a full refund if you cancel your reservation 90 days or more before departure. If you cancel your reservation 57 to 89 days prior to your scheduled departure date, you will forfeit your deposit fee; if you notify Costa 30 to 56 days prior to departure, you will receive a 50 percent refund of your cruise payment; if you cancel your reservation 15 to 29 days prior to departure, you will receive a 25 percent refund of your total cruise fare. If you miss those deadlines and cancel your cruise within 14 days prior to departure, you will receive no refund. (Note: Caribbean cruises and World/Grand cruises are subject to different cancellation rules and restrictions. Consult the Costa Cruises website for more information.)
  • You can book excursions online up to five days prior to departure using Costa's excursion booking tool.
  • Children younger than 6 months are not permitted on Costa cruises. Trans-oceanic crossings, World cruises and cruises lasting 15 days or longer require passengers to be over the age of 1.
  • Costa offers both one-way and round-trip voyages; popular ports of call include destinations across Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and South America

Before You Board

  • You may receive priority check-in if you submit a booking form online on Costa Cruises' website at least one day prior to departure.
  • You must check in at the terminal 90 minutes before the ship's scheduled departure time.
  • Costa requires passengers to present a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months after the cruise ends. Depending on the cruise itinerary, other identification documents, including a valid photo ID are acceptable. Certain countries require that cruisers obtain visas; more information about visa requirements can be found here.
  • While at sea, a physician and nurse are available 24 hours a day; however, when docked at port, medical facility hours vary. If you have an existing medical condition or a disability that requires assistance, you are encouraged to call Costa's special needs phone number and submit your medical requirements in writing upon making your reservation. Costa also encourages you to contact your personal physicians for information regarding vaccinations.
  • If you require dietary accommodations, you must submit a form (obtained from a Costa reservations agent) at least four weeks prior to departure. 

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Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship's Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship's Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.