While still on the Costa Europa and having each just received the no-strings €600 vouchers for use against a future cruise we were warned by an English lawyer who was a fellow passenger that these vouchers weren't worth the paper they were written on.
Although at the time I was burning with anger at Costa's dreadful treatment of its customers I was persuaded by the captain's personal word to all of us, given in several languages, that the vouchers were as good as currency as far as Costa was concerned. It seems that I was naive.
Last week one of our fellow passengers on the disastrous 14/2 to 28/2 cruise decided to bite the bullet and book another Costa cruise, using his €600 voucher to do so. Having presented his voucher and booked his cruise his travel agent came back to him and said that Costa refused to accept the voucher. Why, you might ask? It seems that Costa will not accept their own voucher where any promotional deals apply, i.e. they make you pay the full whack, which arguably wins them back their €600.
This restriction was not declared until now, which is far from surprising, when you bear in mind the barely contained anger of literally hundreds of passengers of all nations even after the original no-strings offer was made. If this chicanery had been carried out on a British ship I'd have felt extremely embarrassed.
Worse than this, insult was heaped on injury when he said that he was now no longer interested in taking this cruise - Costa now declared that there would be a €300 cancellation penalty charge. You just couldn't make this up, could you?
It is against this background that passengers are now starting pursue legal remedies, either through ABTA or directly in the courts against Costa and/or their agents.