If you are an English speaking only couple, there is nothing here for your safety.
First, the most important issue, safety. We boarded the ship in La Romana, on December 29, for a 7 day cruise but it wasn't until the evening of January 4th. that we received our lifeboat drill. This was our inbound leg and too late to be of any use for the people who boarded at the same time as us, or for the people who boarded in Guadaloupe. The limited instruction for the drill was first given in Italian, then French, then English, and for the poor Germans - last. We were motioned to line-up, where we stood for 20 mins. no further instructions about what would happen from here in a real emergency -just form nice straight lines, like little primary school kids. No instructions on the lifejacket flashing beacon activation - mind didn't work, I guess the battery was flat, no regular equipment checks take place either. Lifeboat drills on Carnival were done on the first day, something they need to pass to their associate. I find this whole process sloppy and inexcusable. My wife says the lifeboat drill was poorly promoted, advertised, and policed since of the 8 people at our table we were the only ones that turned out - we were at sea and all were aboard.
The quality and preparation of the food being poor, and the resignation of the waiters to serve endless replacement courses without asking why they couldn't be eaten - is amazing. I suppose over the course of their time aboard they know what is coming. These facts I know have already been reported so it's not worth revisiting old issues.
Did I mention the lack of english programming on the TV system, and the fact that in the cabin movies did not work - my problem I guess for booking on Costa.
We went on Costa 11 or 12 ago, and my wife and I cannot remember there being this sort of problem, the crew at that time made an effort to make us feel welcome and safe.
As a postscript, I blame our agent for not pointing out the lack of English service available, the only thing he mentioned was the use of the Euro as currency which had a bigger impact on our cost than we expected.
My advice for the unknowing language limited individuals, looking for a last minute cruise trip, Costa should not be your choice - stay with Carnival, or some other cruise line that caters for English speakers.
I understand there are cruises booked from the UK where the leaning is towards the all inclusive.
I'm not excusing it, but given you had a midnight departure and the port intensive nature of that itinerary, it doesn't look like there was a good time for a drill at any time. That is a U.S Coast Guard requirement (the drill), and since you didn't stop at any U.S. ports I guess Costa had no obligation to do the drill within 24 hours of departure.
The lights on the life jackets are saltwater activated.
Let's see...an Italian ship never stopping at a U.S. port...why would I expect English to the be first language used aboard, especially when the Euro is the currency?
We've not experienced that problem sailing out of Port Everglades. We sailed on the Magica and the Mediterranea. Our muster drill was done before we sailed. It took a long time since they went through everything in 5 languages. We are a totally English speaking couple and have not had any problems finding someone who could speak English. It might not be great English, but we could get our questions answered.
Sorry that you didn't enjoy Costa, I wouldn't hesitate to book a cruise on them again. We thoroughly enjoyed them. It's a different experience, but one that we truly enjoyed. Toga night, the passport to Italy night, and the general jovial atomosphere on board were really fun to us. My husband prefers them to Carnival and in some respects Princess.