What I loved about Costa Smeralda Smeralda Tips

Hi everyone, thanks for clicking! As some of you may already know, I was lucky enough to cruise onboard Costa Smeralda during her inaugural season, in fact, I was on her 4th sailing EVER! Yes! She was that new! And I have to say, she is definitely one of my favorite ships I’ve sailed on, if not THE favorite…! There are so many things to love about this brand new ship, naturally because it’s one of the biggest cruise ships sailing today but also because it’s truly different from other Costa ships! Here’s a list of things that I really loved and a couple of tips that should come in handy if you’re either booked or if you’re considering sailing on Costa Smeralda!


I’ve been on cruise ships ranging from 700 passengers up to 6000 thousand and I was slightly worried about the size of Costa Smeralda… I was expecting crowds and lines, but luckily I was wrong! Smeralda can accommodate up to 6.554 passengers, but it doesn’t feel too busy, there’s always somewhere to sit, there is so much space on this ship! One thing that really separates Smeralda from other Costa ships is her contemporary design! Costa Smeralda is a very contemporary looking ship, both inside and out. Color schemes are really subtle, but at the same time colorful and lively like on older Costa ships. The overall look of the ship is a really interesting balance between a traditional feel and a modern feel, and so although the decor is very contemporary, the artwork is sort of traditional so it has quite a nice mix to it. In addition the furnishings, lighting, fabrics and upholstery, and accessories were all made in Italy especially for Costa Smeralda! I loved the design of this ship, not just the interiors but also the outdoor areas, there are so many places for sunbathing and relaxing or even just walking around, such as the Lungomare Riviera. It’s a full wraparound promenade on deck 8 and it’s one of my favorite areas onboard, it’s perfect for late night walks!

Cabins were not too shabby either! I was in an interior cabin, and as we all know, they’re usually not really exciting, but whoever designed this cabin really had functionallity as his top priority. It’s certainly not big but somehow it had everything you might need! The only problem I had was that the bed mattress was too firm, but that’s maybe just because it was basically brand new!


All in all, I love this new direction and approach to interior design that Costa is taking, everything looks really classy and modern, while still maintaining that italian charm!


Catching a show on this ship is pretty easy because there are multiple shows each night! One thing I really loved about entertainment onboard Costa Smeralda is the casual approach to evening entertainment. Most shows take place in the ship’s main atrium, The Colosseo, which turns into a theatre in the evenings. It offers tiered style seating on all three decks. It’s perfect because if you don’t like the show you can just walk away without anyone noticing and continue with your evening or you can casually check out what’s happening in the Colosseo without interrupting anyone. It’s a perfect concept in my opinion, more ships should adapt this “Theatrium” concept! Some shows also take place in the much smaller San Remo Theatre which can turn into a night club with a pretty large dance floor! Most of the shows are usual singing and dancing variety shows, magician shows, juggler shows… but The Colosseo is also used for acrobatic, Cirque du Soleil style performances. All the shows looked really good because they utilise LED screens that are everywhere, fire, smoke…! Shows last around 30 minutes both in the theatre and in the theatrium so if you have a short attention span, shows onboard won’t be a problem. I was really impressed by the entertainment onboard, it has to be really difficult for them to come up with shows that work in so many languages. We’ve heard a lot of great singers and dancers, and acrobats, overall I was really impressed! Parties onboard were a lot of fun as well, don’t miss them!


If you like Italian food, this is a ship for you! There is so much pasta, cheese, tomato sauce… delicious! Guests have access to 16 restaurants, including the all new Ristorante LAB where guests can have fun cooking and learning about food sustainablitiy at the same time. There are two more specialty restaurants, Pizzeria Pummid’Oro and the Teppanyaki restaurant. Pizza in the Pizzeria was delicious, great value for money too, especially if you’re a Costa Club member! What I really loved about dining on this ship is the fact that there are multiple restaurants open for breakfast and lunch! Usually, 3 main restaurants (+the buffet) are open for breakfast and lunch and they all offer buffet style service, so if one is busy, just go to another one! There are also screens troughout the ship that show how busy each restaurant is! (green, yellow, orange and red – depending on how busy is each restaurant)

Onboard atmosphere

There’s just something about the atmosphere onboard Costa ships! They are all so lively and fun, but at the same time not too crazy! Costa Smeralda really comes alive at night, the ship is full of live music in the evenings and everyone is ready to party! When you wonder around this ship in the evening there is so much music, it’s so loud, it’s so lively… it’s a really vibrant ship! And let me tell you something, Italians really do know how to party. Everyone onboard is so friendly and ready to chat even when you don’t speak italian (I don’t!)! I also love that this cruise is definitely not just for old people, there were so many kids onboard, babies, teenagers, people in their 20s and people in their 80s… it’s really a ship for everyone! Overall, a really happy ship in the evenings, but relaxing and quiet during the day… perfect combination if you ask me!

International and Italian onboard experience

Sailing on Costa ships is a really international experience! Costa is an italian cruise line and it’s generally geared towards Italian passengers, that said you’ll find people on a Costa cruise who speak German, Spanish, French, Hungarian… so you can definitely cruise with Costa without having any Italian speaking skills, I mean… Look at me! Ha-ha! Just expect that most of the passengers on the ship won’t speak the same language you’re speaking (unless you’re Italian of course!) On my cruise there were around 200 English speaking passengers and there is an English speaking representative to help you out if you have any problems on board. What I like about this Italian and international experience is being surrounded by so many different nationalities and languages, it really feels like you’re travelling! Everything onboard Costa Smeralda feels like a genuine Italian experience, the decor, atmosphere, entertainment, food… I really love that! If you’re looking for a great way to explore the Mediterranean with a really european atmosphere onboard, book a cruise onboard Costa Smeralda!

Environmental friendliness

Green is the way to go, so why not choose one of the greenest ships out there! If you didn’t know, Costa Smeralda is powered by LNG (liquified natural gas). The use of LNG greatly lessens emissions of nitrogen oxides and CO2, which makes Smeralda one of the greenest ships at sea! Environmental friendliness made it to your cabin too! In your cabin, you will no longer find a mini fridge, they removed them from every cabin on the ship to save energy. I don’t mind this change since I never really used the mini fridge, but they still offer “mini-bar” snacks like they used to (kinder chocolate, chips… etc.) Food waste is a big problem in the cruise industry so Costa decided to limit food waste on this ship, the buffet now has glass partitions in front of the food so you have to ask/show what you want to a server behind the counter who will then fill your plate. These glass partitions are also a more hygienic solution since only the cooks touch your food! Table cloths are also a thing of the past on Costa Smeralda, both for hygienic and power saving reasons, small but great ways to make a difference! We all know that cruising is definitely not the most enviromentally friendly vacation you can have but thankfully the industry is going in the right direction with ships like Smeralda!


I can’t pretend that I didn’t love the price of this cruise! It was so cheap considering that we were sailing on a brand new ship just a few weeks after Christmas! You can definitely cruise on budget and still have an amazing time! I didn’t really spend a lot onboard either… If you have a drinks package you’re all good, well except maybe a souvenir ship model, or a Nutella waffle… alright you can definitely spend a lot of money onboard but you can certainly cruise on budget with Costa. You really get your money’s worth too! I love that you can cruise with Costa for a reasonable price and still get a pretty good cruise experience in return, it’s definitely not a premium cruise line but you do get what you paid for!

All in all, I would definitely recommend this ship to anyone who wants to have fun and experience and explore a couple of major Mediterranean cities! Costa has come a long way in perfecting their onboard experience for both Italian guests but also for their international passengers. You can have an amazing cruise no matter which language you’re speaking! And the ship itself is just stunning in my opinion, it’s a perfect combination between contemporary and tradional italian design, it’s big but also not too big! If you’re thinking of booking a Costa cruise, definitely start with this ship!

Smeralda Tips!

Pack a comfortable pair of shoes! – Smeralda is a big ship and you need a pair of comfortable shoes to explore this huge ship! Also, most of the cities that Smeralda is visiting are large and have so many thing to offer and the last thing you need is a pair of uncomfortable shoes!


Pack something white! – White night is definitely THE night! Everyone has something white on, either a white t-shirt, pants, shoes… some have all three on!

DON’T miss the Silent Disco! – The Silent Disco is probably the funniest party onboard! It was so fun to just look at everyone dance like nobody’s watching! It’s a party that everyone goes to, since it’s a brand new thing on Costa and I personally loved it!

Consider buying a drinks package! – On Costa ships you don’t get free tap water with your meals in the main dining room and juices are only available during breakfast. Water is of course available 24/7 in the Buffet. On this cruise I’ve had the Panzo & Cena drinks package again, it is the cheapest one but it was pretty adequate for my needs. It included sodas, selected wines and beers by the glass during the lunch and dinner in the MDR and the buffet. As a fan of sodas during my meals this package was perfect for me. There are also more expensive and more inclusive drinks packages offered that include a much wider selection of drinks and you can use those packages in all bars on the ship!

Check out the water slides! – Not many Costa ships offer waterslides that are this wild! You can choose between two small and two big waterslides… they are all exciting but the bowl-shaped one is really, really fast…!

Go to a sit down restaurant for Breakfast & Lunch to avoid crowds! – Everybody heads to buffet for breakfast and lunch… *sighs* Onboard Costa Smeralda you can have a self service style breakfast and lunch in 3 main dining rooms! They all offer the same variety of food, but you will definitely avoid the crowds!

DON’T, I repeat DO NOT miss the Mister & Miss cruise competitions! – These pageants are the funniest events that happen on this ship, people are dying of laughter during these “competitions”, some competitors go ALL out…!

Join Costa Club! – Definitely join Costa Club if you haven’t already because you will receive up to 50% discount on dining in specialty restaurants. You will also recieve special deals and discounts in bars and in onboard shops! There is also a special cocktail party for Costa Club members, it’s free to join and the perks are great! It also works like every cruise loyalty program out there, collect cruise points and you might get some additional perks!

Internet is actually worth it! – On my cruise I bought the social internet package for 25 Euros and it was definitely worth it! Just don’t expect those speeds you have at home but it was nice to stay connected on social media, I bought it primarely because of my Instagram page to keep you all updated and it worked great!

Opt for early dining! – Dinners on Costa are quite an event and they tend to last so if you have late sitting, your dinner might end around 10:30 PM and that’s too late for me personally. Keep that in mind if you’re like me and you like to dine early!

Check out “Oggi a bordo” to see what’s happening where! – Oggi a bordo is your usual daily cruise newsletter that you will find in your cabin every evening and it tells you what’s happening the next day! I always take a picture of it to have it with me all the time!

I hope that you will find some of these tips useful! I loved my cruise onboard this ship and I hope you will too and if you’re still not booked… what are you waiting for!?

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