If you ask Americans to name some popular cruise lines, Costa isn’t going to be the first company that comes to mind. Costa is Italian and more popular with Europeans but it is absolutely worth a look no matter where you’re from. Tom and I had the pleasure of cruising with Costa on an 8-day Mediterranean cruise on their newest ship, the Costa Toscana. Check out this Costa Toscana review post with all the details. We absolutely loved it!
Several things about our Costa Toscana cruise surprised me. I hadn’t been on an ocean cruise in years, so I went in with an open mind not knowing what to expect. Let’s get into 5 things that surprised me on our Costa Toscana Mediterranean cruise.
1. On-board activities all day long
I was pleasantly surprised to see all types of on-board activities from morning until well after midnight. Each evening, you get a paper program delivered to your cabin that outlines the following day’s events.
The programming was similar to what you’d see on American cruise ships and it was nice to know there was always something happening during days at sea or any time we ventured out of our cabin. From fitness classes to games to activities for kids to shows and live music and so much more, Costa will keep you busy if you want an active cruise. We loved the acrobatic show and Costa’s version of The Voice, where the singing contestants were passengers on the ship.
2. Very attentive staff
All staff members on our cruise were always there ready to lend a helping hand. I had to call reception a few times and never waited on hold for more than a few seconds. The wait staff, cabin steward, the cleaning crew and everyone always made sure guests were taken care of and pointed me in the right direction if I didn’t know where something was.
They also always greeted us with a bongiorno every time we walked by. The attention to customer service was something I didn’t expect because in France, it’s a bit different than what we’re used to in the U.S. I figured since Costa is Italian that the service would resemble how things are done in France. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was never difficult to get help with something.
3. Do NOT need to speak Italian to be comfortable
This was probably the biggest question mark I had before cruising with Costa. Would we need to speak a little Italian to be comfortable and understand what was going on at shows? Tom and I speak French but would that be enough and what about guests who only speak English? It was a major unknown and we were ready to be lost half the time since we don’t speak Italian.
I’m happy to report that you will be just fine if you only speak English. Many of the staff members including the wait staff and housekeeping don’t speak Italian as their first language and were happy to speak English. I can’t recall even one instance where a staff member didn’t understand English, and that’s everyone from the boat maintenance crew to the photography shop on board, the stores, everywhere.
You will be totally fine if you only speak English on a Costa cruise.
That said, the staff speaks Italian as well and during game shows, The Voice, and other events, the host will usually do a quick translation in several languages so everyone can follow along. You’ll hear announcements in several languages to accommodate all guests.
4. Didn’t feel any movement on the boat
I wasn’t sure if the seas would be choppy in the Mediterranean aboard the Costa Toscana in June so I came prepared with my seasickness medication just in case. Better safe than sorry, right? I’m relieved to report that Tom and I didn’t need them at all. The seas were calm the entire trip. This of course depends on the weather and where you’re cruising.
One night around dinnertime, we did notice that we could feel the boat moving a couple of times but it was nothing prolonged or off-putting in the least (and I say that as someone who is prone to motion sickness). Modern cruise ships have stabilizers to counteract the movement of the ship and even in relatively choppy seas, cruising is still a comfortable experience. For 95% of the cruise, I couldn’t even tell we were moving at all unless I looked outside.
To minimize your chances of being seasick, a good rule of thumb is to book a cabin midship on one of the lower decks. Come prepared with some Bonine just in case.
5. Variety of dining options
Costa Toscana had a buffet selection and then the main dining room was where most people went for lunch and dinner, which is included in your cruise fare. Then for an additional fee, there were a bunch of other restaurants from which to choose including sushi at Sushino, the Heineken Star Club & Bistro, fine dining at Archipelago, and more.
I didn’t expect sushi or pub fare to be an option on an Italian ship and was pleasantly surprised to see the variety of meal options. There’s something for every taste and there’s certainly more than just pasta and other traditional Italian food.
Would you take a Mediterranean cruise on the new Costa Toscana? What types of cruises are your favorite?
Check out the full Costa Toscana review and check out my vlog showing what the cruise was like below!
Disclosure: Thank you to Costa for hosting us on this press trip. All opinions are my own.