Originally, Costa Cruises only sailed the Mediterranean, and it is still their European cruises that are most popular with travellers from the UK, although Costa sail plenty of other routes. You can find their cruise ships as far flung as the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Far East, depending on the time of year, whilst Mediterranean cruising is on offer all year round.

Costa Cruise itineraries tend to be more port-heavy than other cruise lines, so you can expect to visit some new and fascinating destinations. For example the Transatlantic crossings include Casablanca in Morocco and Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic. Ports such as Ajecco on the island of Corsica and Ashdod in Israel are great additions to Mediterranean voyages.

Further afield, Costa sail to the Indian Ocean and the Maldives, including the Seychelles, Reunion and Madagascar, which makes nice alternative to a Caribbean cruise if you're after a large slice of tropical winter sun.

With all the elegant surroundings, Italian food and range of ports, you might think that Costa Cruises are likely to be expensive, but actually they are surprisingly easy on the budget. This is partly due to the fact that there are no added extras here - so expect to pay a reasonable amount on top for drinks, service and activities.

You can save by looking out for drinks packages that you pay up-front for, or on the odd occasion you may even find all-inclusive cruises. Check when you buy that your flights are included, although it may also be cheaper to arrange your own. The same goes for excursions - unless you're heading somewhere off the beaten track where a guide is virtually mandatory, strike out on your own (with a little prior planning, of course).

Finally remember to compare prices to find the best deal. Check both the cruise line's own website as well as agents, as they often have different offers, which can include onboard spends, free parking and more!

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