PUSHED AROUND ITALIAN STYLE!: Costa Serena Cruise Review by jollyelf
Overall Member Rating
PUSHED AROUND ITALIAN STYLE!
Destination: Middle East
The ship sailed out of the port in Savona. If you hadn't previously booked your hotels and transfers through Costa it was a challenge to get to this port. Also flights in and out of Genoa which is the nearest airport only fly on certain days which makes it complicated. We opted to fly in and out of Milan. We took a bus into Milan to the train station and boarded a train to Genoa where we would spend the night. When we got to Genoa there were about 30 stairs to haul baggage down and then up to the exit. No elevators that were working or an elevator. Don't know how handicapped people would do this. We had booked a hotel around the corner from the train station - The Galata Hotel. Lovely people and very helpful. They tried to get us on a bus transfer with Costa, but no seats were available. I refused to climb those stairs again and we ended up taking a taxi for 90 Euro to the ship.
Getting on the More ship was mass confusion. Costa isn't very well organized and even though they gave out boarding card numbers we discovered if you fought your way through the crowds and gave the card to the Costa employee there was a good chance that you could exchange it for an earlier boarding. After two hours of waiting we finally boarded. Our passports were taken away for some unknown reason and not returned until the end of the trip. Noone ever told us we had to go and activate our on board account, but found another massive line and figured out what needed to be done.
Our cabin which was an inside cabin was very nice and had plenty of space. The TV worked occasionally but it didn't matter since we only had BBC Europe and who wants to watch TV anyway.
Went up to the buffet for a late lunch. Most of the food during the cruise was usually not kept warm. Cold dry pancakes or waffles, half cooked bacon, powdered eggs, and bad coffee for breakfast. One day there was a Mexican buffet which was probably the best meal. The dining room for breakfast is also a buffet, but there is a menu where you can order a few things. No chance for Eggs Benedict on this cruise (my husbands favorite). Americans don't expect to find iced tea at the buffet!
Though we had requested early dining, we were assigned late dining at around 9:15pm. The wait staff is very limited and at times it was 11:15pm and we were still not finished with dinner. The entrees were usually OK. My husband didn't think they were too well seasoned.
They had only two salads available every night and this came after the main course. Between the appetizer and soup they had a pasta course. Deserts which are usually so very exciting were dismal and ice cream was usually the best. One night there was a parfait which was something square on the plate with no flavor whatsoever. Butter is very difficult to obtain. We did get a pitcher of iced tea with dinner, but never were offered coffee at the end of the meal.
We had booked our shore excursions on-line prior to departure. This meant nothing. The excursions were cancelled without notice at 2 ports. We were only in Barcelona for 4 hours and wanted to go to the park with the Gaudi art which is rather far from the port. This was the tour that they canceled because of lack of English speaking people. There was a shuttle bus that just took us to another side of the port where we were able to obtain a taxi, but this was a very close trip to make with time restrictions. Several other tours were canceled. People at our dining table had a tour to Fez cancelled. Can you imagine going all the way to Morocco and then not being able to see the area? We went to Marrakech on a tour with Spanish speaking people which was fine. At least we experienced it. This was so exciting and I recommend seeing it! It is so exotic and like a trip back in time. We also enjoyed our tour in Lanzarote and rode camels which was so much fun. They cancelled Tenerife and we just walked around. This was so frustrating as you can imagine. Funchai, Malaga and Madiera were were nice and the tours were fine. We visited Mijas on Malaga and it was such a charming little place.
The activities on board were mostly conducted in Italian. Hard to play Trivia when you don't understand the question. The musicians were horrible and there is no orchestra to accompany the shows. They mostly had musical shows or acrobats. One night there was a ventriloquist. Very difficult to include 4 or 5 languages. One show was performed by the crew. Seems like Costa likes to cut corners where they can.
We were able to get a bus through Costa to the Milan airport which was the best way to go. We had train tickets which we threw away. It was nearly impossible to get any information prior to departure.
Disembarkation wasn't as bad but we had to recover our passports which happened just about as we were ready to depart. It was tense!!!!
Loved the ports, but would not consider another Costa Cruise. They can't handle English speaking people and don't seem to care.
For Americans it's not the best dollar value because they charge you in Euros but if something had been $1.00 you will pay 1 Euro ($1.47). Tips were included without question but they didn't have envelopes for special servers. Don't know if this is good or bad. Might reflect on the service. Less