Four days after the Concordia drama, the fully booked Serena departed for a 12 day cruise to the Canary islands, but it was a very disapointing cruise for several reasons.
-Safety: the safety exercice was reduced to standing in front of the lifeboats for 30' with a short aviation-style explanation how to inflate the life jacket(4 days after Concordia disaster!)
-The ship: too big (3800 pax)overcrowded with mostly italians from who you wander how they can afford such a trip (low price vacation offered to workers by company?): large "very popular"families with babies and badly educated children, noisy,no dress codes at all, eating huge amounts of food all day long and occupying all the spaces on board (reminder: we have done two other cruise with Costa with "normal" people....)
-Design: where has gone the famous italian taste? Not a sinle inch is left without fancy-fair style decoration, crazy colours and figures all over. -Cabins: the only pluspoint (we had booked a balcony): soft design, very comfortable, excellent bedding, functionnal bathroom, lots of stowing space.
-Restaurants: 2 classic restaurants (3800 pax!)but many "bad" tables:no view, against wall, close to kitchen entries and service islands = extremely noisy. No possibility at all to change.
-Food: ok except poor choice at lunch in the classical restaurant and very repeatative in the overcrowded self-service (dirty tables due to too many crowds)
-Staff: the non-europeans (asians a.s.o)are still very friendly and smiling, but demotivated since their (poor) wages were turned from € to $ (same amount!)for working 13h a day for 6-8 months without a single day off. The european staff is mostly ignoring the clients (especially if you are not italian)
-Stops: on this trip , the Serena was mostly docked in the industrial parts of the harbours, very far away from the cities (shuttle tickets sold on board)
-Entertainment: in the theater, 2/3 good shows, but all day long very loud games presented by screaming presentators all over deck 5
-Prices: have gone up a lot: 5€ per person for cabin breakfastservice(free untill last month), classic drink package at 119€, and even a guided ship visit at 75€ per person! Drinks in the bars also quite expensive (+15%service)
CONCLUSION: if you are looking for a "serene" winterbreak in company of normal educated fellow travellers, avoid this noisy lower class fancy-fair.