During her service with Home Lines the Homeric was used for cruises from New York to Bermuda during the northern hemisphere summer season and cruises on the Caribbean during the rest of the year. The success of the Homeric in service with Homes Lines has been questioned, with one author describing her as the "giant swan song" of the company. Whether the fault of the ship or something else, Home Lines was purchased by the Holland America Line in 1988.
 1988—2002: Westerdam
In November 1988 the Homeric joined the fleet of Holland America Line and was renamed Westerdam (different sites state different dates for her transfer to HAL fleet). In service with her new owners, the Westerdam cruised to Alaska during the summer season, returning to the Caribbean for the winter. Soon after Home Lines had been purchased by Holland America, HAL itself was purchased by the Carnival Corporation. HAL's new owners decided to invest heavily on the fairly new Westerdam, and between October 1989 and March 1990 she was heavily rebuilt and enlarged at Meyer Werft. When the Westerdam entered service for HAL, she was registered at The Bahamas, but in 1996 she was re-registered to The Netherlands.
In 2002, following the delivery of several newbuilds for Holland America Line, the Westerdam was transferred to the fleet of Costa Cruises.
 2002 onwards: Costa Europa
Following the transfer to Costa Cruises in April 2002, the Westerdam was renamed Costa Europa and re-registered in Italy. On 27 April 2002 she started on her first cruise for her new owners from Genoa, subsequently being used for cruises around Europe.
 Exterior design
The Homeric was built with a terraced forward and rear superstructure, with lifeboats placed fairly high. She had a fairly large funnel, with a large arch surrounding it from the behind in order to deflect some away from the rear decks. In original Home Lines livery she had a white hull and superstructure, with a blue decorative riband separating them. Her funnel and radar mast, the structures immediately below them, as well as the cranes on her forward deck, were painted yellow. The ship's name was painted in high letters on the side of the superstructure below the radar mast.
On entering service with Holland America Line, the Westerdam received HAL's dark blue hull colours, with her funnel and radar mast painted white. The 1989-1990 lengthening altered her exterior appearance somewhat. The windows of the added section are larger than those of forward and aft sections.
As Costa Europa, the ship was painted all-white, with a yellow funnel and a small flag of the EU painted on the side of the superstructure.
 Interior design
Unusually for a cruise ship of her time, the Homeric was built with a somewhat ocean liner-like layout, with her dining room in particular reflecting liner-like design. She was also built with sizeable promenade deck, and a one-deck high theatre. She was built with two swimming pools, one to the rear of the ship, and another amidship, what was covered with a magrodome.
During the 1989-1990 refit two lounges in the forward section of the ship were combined to create a large two-level theatre, with the original theatre maintained as a cinema. In HAL service she was decorated with artworks drawing from the history of the Dutch Empire. On entering service with Costa Cruises the ship was refurbished, with some of the interior decorations changed to brighter and more European style. The original theatre was built in with six balcony suites, and a new ballroom with a hardwood dance floor replaced an earlier lounge. Despite the refit, most of the ship's decorations have been retained from the HAL days, resulting in the Costa Europa having somewhat different interior decorations from her "Italian-style" fleetmates.
 Decks and facilities
The deck plans provided by Costa Cruises only include decks accessible to passengers - the layout of the three lowest decks in unknown.
Unknown - Deck had contained an on-board infirmary when operated as MS Westerdam.
Orion deck - Main dining room, inside and outside cabins.
Pegasus deck - Inside and outside cabins.
Perseus deck - Inside and outside cabins.
Auriga deck - Suites, inside and outside cabins.
Hercules deck - Theatre (lower level), ballroom, internet center, bars, lounges, chapel, card room, shops, games arcade, beauty salon, casino, discothèque.
Andromeda deck - Theatre (upper level), buffet restaurant, outside cabins, sun deck, swimming pool.
Cassiopea deck - Bridge, fitness center, outside cabins, sun deck.
Sirens deck - A la carte and buffet restaurants, sun deck, swimming pool, suites.
Centaurus deck - Tennis courts, sun deck