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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
Have just returned from 7 day cruise around the med on Costa Serena. How let down I was. This was our third cruise with Costa and will now be our last. How things have changed in 7 months has been a real turning point. We took the All ... Read More
Have just returned from 7 day cruise around the med on Costa Serena. How let down I was. This was our third cruise with Costa and will now be our last. How things have changed in 7 months has been a real turning point. We took the All Inclusive drinks package and found out that this was the only way you could get a cup of tea in the evening as they have now stopped the self service in the buffet area. The ice cream machines have been disabled, the buffet food selection has been decreased by half, you can't get a bottle of water ( unless you buy it) as it is only served by the glass with the All Inclusive package! You now have to pay for pizza after 6pm, the staff seem to have lost the ability to communicate with passengers, although they work really hard and cannot fault their service, but it would have been nice to have a conversation with them like on our previous cruises. We were 'upgraded' (if you can call it that). We were given an inside room on the Deck 9 which was fitted out for disabled passengers. The walk in shower was in need of some regrouting, the room available to get into bed measured about 2 inches either side of the bed, the noise from people walking past the rear of our cabin was ridiculous, and then there was a party on Deck 9 one evening where we could hear the music blaring whilst we tried to sleep. I know Costa are cheap, but they were cheap before, but offered a much better deal. I feel that we have been cheated big time and will not be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first cruise so we didn't have anything to compare other than we have stayed in good class hotels all over the world and Costa Serena certainly exceeded my expectations, she is a beautiful ship. Our embarkation was in ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we didn't have anything to compare other than we have stayed in good class hotels all over the world and Costa Serena certainly exceeded my expectations, she is a beautiful ship. Our embarkation was in Barcelona and this was very good, when we arrived at our beautiful balcony cabin at the aft of the ship on 8 deck our cases where already waiting for us. Our cabin attendant was excellent and nothing was a trouble for him. The bars and restaurants were fabulously decorated and all had lovely furniture. Costa Serena is a blingy but tastefull ship and being a blingy sort of girl, I just loved it. The bar and restaurant staff were courteous and friendly and nothing was a trouble for them The food was very good with a wide choice of menus for all meals served in either the main dining room our the buffett restaurant. Room service was also available and this we did use for breakfast on the days we had excursions and because we had a Premium Balcony cabin there was no added service charge. We purchased the drinks package which proved excellent value for money and there was always a choice of wine at dinner. We were a bit sceptical about the wine at dinner only being served by the glass and envisaged we would have to re-order and produce our card each time we needed a top up, but this certainly was not the caseand our glasses were regularly topped up by our waiter Mario who was very attentive, friendly and did an excellent job of looking after us. We only booked one excursion through the ship and this was from the port of Savona to Monaco, which was a big disappointment. The travelling time to Manaco was almost 2 hrs and when we arrived around 11am we were told by our guide that we would be leaving at 2pm to return to the ship, so 4hrs travelling time for 3hrs sightseeing was not good. La Spezia was the next port where took the local train and visited Cinque Tere. Our next port was Civitaveccia where we took a train to Rome and cost less than 10 euros return, in Naples there were plenty of taxis in the port, so we took a taxi to Pompei at a cost of €15 per person return. We had a wonderful time on Costa Serena and were sad when it was time to leave, hopefully we will have the opportunity to sail on her again in the very near future. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some ... Read More
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some passengers attended dinners really sloppily (t-shirts, etc). The food in the buffet was really mediocre, not much variety with low quality (served prawns which were tasteless and over-cooked, not much variety of hot breakfasts (porridge, cream of wheat etc), The dinners weren't very good quality food except the soups were excellent. The entertainment was ho-hum. The guitar player only did karaoke guitar, he couldn't sing so he just mumbled, and his playing was very simple. The guitar duo was really excellent. The couple in the main lounge/atrium were ok, but the girl was terrible, once again only doing karaoke style. The pianist was quite good however. There was really no "piano bar" which is where i usually spend my time.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
I booked this about a month before going and instantly regretted it after reading the reviews BUT... We had a great time. Two adults and one child age 9 from Scotland. We spent three days in Barcelona before boarding, we walked down to the ... Read More
I booked this about a month before going and instantly regretted it after reading the reviews BUT... We had a great time. Two adults and one child age 9 from Scotland. We spent three days in Barcelona before boarding, we walked down to the port from our hotel midway up the Ramblas, there's a port bus just at the port gates takes you to the ship for a couple of euros, I didn't do the web check in but they done it at the port for us, booking in was quick and painless, we had to wait until 2pm to board the ship but the waiting area was comfortable and there was a snack bar. We were pleasantly surprised to be given an outside cabin with window as I booked the 'take what's available' option, the room was a good sized, the beds were comfortable, the room was spotless and cleaned twice a day, towels changed, etc. the ship itself is a bit loud but I like bright colours so it didn't bother me, the only thing I didn't like was the statues in the main area, they looked like shop dummies and cheapened the otherwise nice furnishings. The food was a mix of good and bad, the breakfast wasn't great but I didn't see anyone not eating, I'm a fussy eater so I'm happy with cereal, cup of tea, fruit and a croissant, but you had the usual people piling their plate up and not eating it, only had lunch twice and it was good, plenty of choice, dinner was in the restaurant and we couldn't fault it, the service was quick and the waiters remembered what you had to drink and it was there for you every night, there was singing and dancing a few times in the restaurant and I think almost everyone joined in. There was a separate kids menu, ours had spaghetti bolognese every night! Best he'd ever tasted! Our table guests asked for Indian food one night so we all had curry made especially for us. We didn't use the kids club. We went to most of the evening shows and they were all good, better than the ones Royal Caribbean had put on, mix of languages used but didn't detract from it. We didn't hang around the ship we always got off when we docked, there was only one day at sea and that was our last so were were glad of the rest. The port excursions were ok, wish we had done a bit more homework beforehand so we new where to go and what to. Disembarking was fine, you are given a time slot and just have to wait on being called. Pros- price, we paid a quarter of what we paid the Royal Caribbean. Room was excellent Port times were longer No great push for you to buy photos, gifts etc on the ship Downside - Breakfast could be better Soft drinks (squash) should be provided and I didn't see any water dispensers anywhere? We had to buy the all inclusive drinks package even though it was a waste of money as I can't drink alcohol due to medication though it's probably a good deal for most people. Buffet could be better organised so there not so many people wandering around trying to find seats with food in their hands and they should definitely crack down on the kids running around the restaurant before someone is seriously injured. Port information should be updated on their daily newsletter - eg, took us an hour to get to the Trevere Fountain in Rome only to find it had scaffolding around it and had been drained, we could have used this time to visit something else. Ships plumbing could be doing with an overhaul, seen a couple of floods in public toilets and our drain didn't drain very quick and had a slight smell about it. Biggest downside, other holidaymakers don't smile :((   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first ever cruise so it would be fair to say that any review we give must reflect the fact that we have nothing to compare it to. However we have been on enough holidays to know what we are talking about to some extent. We ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise so it would be fair to say that any review we give must reflect the fact that we have nothing to compare it to. However we have been on enough holidays to know what we are talking about to some extent. We joined to Costa Serena in Barcelona and the embarkation process was relatively painless if a little long. They started the boarding at 2pm but it was nearly 3 by the time our batch of numbered passes was called. When we got to our cabin, our bags were waiting for us as was the Costa Cards and the necessary itineraries and information sheets. As we were dog tired from 24 hours travelling we decided to grab some lunch and get our bearings. We found a hot dog/burger hatch serving near the mid-ships pool and this was fine to start with. Dinner was at 7pm and our restaurant was at the other end of the ship. It didn't take us long to find our table and we were seated with another two British couples. The food in the restaurant all week was good, especially considering the volume of meals that must be served each evening, and there was a reasonable choice which varied daily. The service was excellent, friendly and charming. Lunch was in the self service which was a but scrum-like but no more than some of the all-inclusive package hotels in Spain and Turkey we've stayed in. Breakfast was the same, though if you preferred you could have a sit-down partly-waiter service in the restaurant areas. We checked out the theatre where each night there was a show of some sort. It was a little hit and miss but that comes from trying to please everyone. One night there was the winner of "Italy's Got Talent". A ventriloquist, which given the number of languages on the ship was an interesting choice. He carried it off well though, doing routines using smatterings of Italian, French, German, English, Spanish and even Portuguese. Given that many of the jokes were visual it worked pretty well and rarely got annoying. There were a number of other bars that we used over the week, each with a different musical emphasis. The atrium had a pianist (who clearly was reading the lyrics in English as Delilah "stood there 'logging', I felt the knife in my hand and she 'logged' no more!"). There was a band in the rear bars, a singer in another, a couple playing dancing songs for the ballroom dancing (hats off to some terrific dancers among the passengers) and a couple of Spanish guitarists in the Chocolate bar. We bought the all-inclusive which we would recommend highly as it meant we could order whatever we wanted without having to think about it. It included cocktails, and we tried plenty. (the Mojitos are lovely) All in all we would recommend cruising and Costa. Sure the clientèle were mostly Italian and the entertainment was a bit cheesy sometimes but we were never bored, often delighted and highly satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We have just returned from a very good costa serena cruise..our embarkation in Barcelona was a little confusing..our taxi was excellent both ways..on arrival the members of costa were waiting for us..we gave them our details ..they took ... Read More
We have just returned from a very good costa serena cruise..our embarkation in Barcelona was a little confusing..our taxi was excellent both ways..on arrival the members of costa were waiting for us..we gave them our details ..they took our luggage and we waited in the bright clean lounge..at 2 pm we started to board..we went to the desk unaware that we should have registered on our arrival! after 10 mins filling in forms etc..we were on board..very easy..we had paid for all inclusive but had no cards..we went for late lunch and just showed the waitress our paperwork and had our drinks along with the first of many superb meals.. Our room aft cabin 8450 was lovely..yes a little tired in places but a huge balcony..big bed fruit bowl and clean sheets and towels..this carried throughout the cruise..Marc was excellent..swift..very efficient.. everything clean daily towels if required..yes the balcony did have slight soot on it..the worse was the fag ends from the inconsiderate people above! we slept well..the food was excellent from the buffet to the restaurants on deck 9..these did get busy especially on the day at sea..you can eat in the ceres restaurant for breakfast and lunch...we had a table for 2 as requested early sitting ...with good service..there was an extreme odour near our table we did complain and were give asti supermante for all of our tables.. this was rectified with new carpet..the menu was varied with average all inclusive wine..the usual captains dinner and fun times with the crew..the all inc package was exceptional..well worth every penny..with soft drinks.. wines..beers.. cocktails..liquers and coffees..we had as many as we wanted..served by excellent happy bar staff..the trips were good..Rome and Capri..(with costa)we ventured out ourselves to the other destinations..walking getting taxis or mini trains..this was a fabulous trip with attentive staff..good all round service.. yes.. English speakers are a miniority around 100 people but the ship is full of various nationalities having a great time..and the smoking was very little..they have a separate room inside with no smoke anywhere..there were very few children on board . the overall experience was one of a chilling time..with everyone enjoying there holiday..try costa serena it was fabulous!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I was on a 7 day cruise. Destinations were very good. Cabin Staff and Bar Staff were excellent. My main concern is that the Costa Cruises took the amount from my MasterCard that I spent on the ship but after 10 days are still holding the ... Read More
I was on a 7 day cruise. Destinations were very good. Cabin Staff and Bar Staff were excellent. My main concern is that the Costa Cruises took the amount from my MasterCard that I spent on the ship but after 10 days are still holding the exact amount spent as a pending amount. This means that I cannot access my own money. So basically they are holding onto my money for whatever reason I cannot understand. I travelled with 3 others people and they are holding pending amounts for them as well. I have sent 3 emails to their customer services and have not had a reply. I am being totally ignored. Facilities Breakfast every morning was exactly the same. Hot breakfasts i.e. eggs, bacon, were cold every morning. Plus queues to get food were unbelievable. Evening meal although 5 courses was sparse and of poor quality. Same soup every night but with a different name. The sun beds were less than a foot apart and the day the ship sailed all day there wasn't room for everyone to lie in the sun. Where is my MONEY - Costa.... I would say that the destinations were fabulous i.e. Fri 06 Jun BARCELONA 19:00 Sat 07 Jun MARSEILLE 09:00 17:00 Sun 08 Jun SAVONA 09:00 16:30 Mon 09 Jun CIVITAVECCHIA 09:00 23:59 Tue 10 Jun NAPOLI 13:00 19:00 Thu 12 Jun PALMA DE MALLORCA 09:00 23:59 Fri 13 Jun PALMA DE MALLORCA 00:01 01:00 Fri 13 Jun BARCELONA 13:00 We made our own travel arrangements from the ports and had plenty of time to enjoy our destinations before going back to ship. Thank you for that Costa but unfortunately, you fell down very badly on breakfasts and evening meals. Plus the close proximity of sun-beds, and too many people on the ship to enable my friends and I to sunbathe. A few benches/chairs on the top decks would have been well received. It has now been 17 days since I disembarked, some of my cash has been released but not all. Summary: Cold bacon and eggs and any hot food - cold every morning. Evening meal though well served was of poor quality Sun beds too close and no space to move them to Withholding money.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
I’ve just arrived from my first cruise experience in Costa Serena, through the Mediterranean. I am Portuguese (had my 38th birthday during the trip) and I travelled with a friend, in also their late 30’s. I have to say that, because ... Read More
I’ve just arrived from my first cruise experience in Costa Serena, through the Mediterranean. I am Portuguese (had my 38th birthday during the trip) and I travelled with a friend, in also their late 30’s. I have to say that, because the reviews I have read here, I was a little bit suspicions, especially about the food. But, once there, I realized that I didn’t have to worry about, because the variety and quality of the food - provided by the self service restaurants (during the day) and dinning service at night - was quite good. I must also say that you are able to eat almost anytime. While a restaurant closes, another one is available. It’s impossible to get hungry there. During the navigation day, when all the passengers were on board, the self-service rooms were a little bit crowded. So we had to face queues to get food. The cabin was very clean and twice a day we had cleaning services in the room. The public bathrooms, although not quite noticeable, were very clean as well. The interior decoration was really weird and for me that is the only minor aspect of the ship. Too much colors and elements all together, especially in the main lobby. I felt like I was in a 70s or 80s disco and not in a 2007 ship. Besides that, it was a lovely experience and I had a great time. The animation team was really great and You have the opportunity to dance and have fun at night, in spite of your musical preferences. The karaoke night was not so fun for a non-Italian speaker, because almost all the participants were Italians… singing Italian songs. (A tribute to the Scottish people that saved the Karaoke night )… A special mention to the evening shows in the theater: I wasn’t expecting so much! The dinner service was very pleasant, with very funny animation moments, performed by the staff.  Next time, I won’t forget a formal/cocktail dress to wear in the «gala dinner». About the fellow passengers, I acknowledged almost every kind of people: Asians, Indians, Arabians, Africans, but most of all Italians, a bunch of Spanish and French as well. Me and my friend, and a nice Portuguese couple, were the only Portuguese on board. It was a multicultural scenario, although I felt that the Italian people ruled the environment. So…memorable days in the sea and I’m looking forward for another cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We had booked 4 inside cabins for the family! We were given 2 at the back deck 7, 1 at the front deck 7.1 at the front deck 1. Having found the other cabins we went to find ours on deck 1. As expected it was compact but well set out. Very ... Read More
We had booked 4 inside cabins for the family! We were given 2 at the back deck 7, 1 at the front deck 7.1 at the front deck 1. Having found the other cabins we went to find ours on deck 1. As expected it was compact but well set out. Very surprised to find we had port holes and thought there must be a catch! The ship is well laid out with sliding tops on 2 of the pools. Our first meal at 7pm (the second sitting is at 9.45) We were seated together. The first surprise was that there was no water supplied. ALL DRINKS had to be paid for which is price of drink and tax and the food was quite salty! Mealtimes were not cheap. The descriptions were very inventive and the portions small, very little in the way of vegetables. The waiters were lovely. Our first meal was served within around 10 mins of ordering the second course came within a reasonable space of time. The plates were cleared away and we waited for our dessert and waited. Then music started many guests started swinging their napkins round their heads (watchout for flying breadcrumbs) my family decided to join in with this strange tradition! Some waiters then sung for us! I just sat and waited for my dessert. When the singing was over our desserts finally came. This did not happen every night. We went to the very comfortable well laid out theatre the entertainment was good and there was no language problems. We then went to bed! The next morning we were awoken by engine noises which suddenly turned very loud and the whole cabin viberated! This was caused by the side thrusters as we docked. We would not be needing to set an alarm for this holiday! There is no food available after 5pm except for the restaurants and only water after breakfast! I found a lot of the food a bit bland and all desserts tasted the same to me! Beware the chocolate bar! Strawberries coated in chocolate 1 euro + tax my family got quite addicted to these! We found the holiday relaxing had plenty of sun. The sea day was overcast and there are no deck games on this ship despite lots of wasted space on the top deck. There was a lot of annoying entertainment on the pool deck which meant there was no where to sit in there. The pools are lovely and warm and a sensible depth. The hot tubs were warm and a good size. Despite saying no one under 16 should use the hot tubs there were plenty of children in them even a baby in nappies. This is my 3rd cruise with 3 different lines. I place it second! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - ... Read More
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - too good to miss, even though previous reviews of the ship and line have been mixed. Although I booked an outside cabin with no number, I was delighted to find that we had been upgraded to a balcony. Our first experience, but definitely not the last. We set off for Barcelona - an easy well-timed flight down from the UK to arrive there at 1.30 pm, and went straight to the cruise terminal. I was surprised to find very few passengers there, and we walked through to the embarkation desk where all they needed were our tickets and passports, and where we were issued with the usual ship cards. I found out later that on this cruise the ship had passengers boarding and leaving at almost every port, a bit like a ferry, but it meant that we had a long time in each port. Up onto the ship where security zapped our cards and took security photos with a hand held device. Onboard there are numerous terminals where it is possible to register your credit card yourself by swiping your ship`s card, then your credit card - no waiting at customer services. Our cabin 9210 port side, right at the bow of the ship, was gorgeous. Note - the beds were next to the window which meant we could lie in bed at night and watch the coastal lights. Having since looked at other balcony cabins on other ships, I think this is quite unusual - the beds are usually away from the windows. Plenty of storage and a neat little bathroom with a great big mirror. Everything was spotlessly clean. Dining - we always like to use the buffet dining room, and were very pleased with the quantity and quality of food at breakfast and lunchtime. It was always very busy, and the type of food is not the same at each station - for example, pancakes are on one side of the ship, eggs are on the other. When we did have to wait for a table, it was only a few minutes. Great service from all the waiters and chefs who couldn`t do enough to help. We had a problem in the evenings though - I had read that it was just pizzas in the buffet after 6pm, but I didn`t realise it was just 2 types of pizza - margherita and plain cheese. A few salads, and no desserts at all, not even ice cream. I believe that after 9.30 pm, the pizzeria becomes waiter service with a greater choice of pizzas, but we prefer to eat at 7 p.m. I would also like to say that it was the first ship we`ve been on where the girls on the reception desks were so helpful and polite, they really couldn`t do enough to help. Decor - what can I say? It was a bit OTT, but maybe Italians like it that way! There was pattern and colour on everything, which gave me a headache for the first few days ;) The theme of the ship was Roman gods. One of the big bonuses was 10 lifts together at the central area = no waiting. There were 4 swimming pools, 2 of them with sliding glass roofs over the whole of the pool area. The overall age group seemed to be 30s to 40s, with a great many children, but it was Easter. I felt this lent a really young feel to the ship, although it seemed to be very noisy compared to our other cruises. This applied to the evening shows in the Glove theatre - they were just too noisy for us. The glove theatre had a fantastic wrap-round design, with no obscured views. One of the highlights of the ship was the 4D cinema, which showed short 15 min animations, buy one get one free for 8 euros. The first film we saw was haunted house, which was a fab experience with 3D glasses, moving seats, smells, and puffs of wind. Ports and excursions: Marseille, cancelled because it was too windy to get into port, and replaced with Toulon: Savona; La Spezia, where we took the opportunity to walk to the train station and took the train to Monterosso, one of the Cinque Terre villages; Civitavecchia - we`d booked a trip to Cornetto, but it was cancelled; Naples - we booked a trip down the catacombs, but this was again cancelled, so we took the trip to Sorrento and Amalfi. Tip: sit on the right side of the bus to get the views, and don`t go if you suffer from travel sickness! A days cruising back to Barcelona, then an easy flight home. Summary: Pros: Lovely ship, spotlessly clean Great food Great service from the girls on customer services and the excursion desk Really interesting ports, especially Savona and La Spezia The 4D cinema Long time in each port Cons: No selection at the buffet pizzeria between 6 and 9.30 p.m. It also had the atmosphere of a children`s playground. Would we go with Costa again? definitely. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We just returned from a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Costa Serena. As some other contributors have mentioned, we were very apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of the ship on this site. We really wonder what ... Read More
We just returned from a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Costa Serena. As some other contributors have mentioned, we were very apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of the ship on this site. We really wonder what ship these other passengers were on, as we saw none of the activities mentioned by those negative reviewers. First of all, it is true that only about 10% of the passengers speak English, but every member of the crew speaks English well enough to converse with you satisfactorily. Also, there are very few Americans on the ship, but it is an Italian ship - that is to be expected. We knew we were not sailing on an American ship! The ship looks like a floating Las Vegas. Yes, it is brightly decorated, and it could be considered a bit "over the top". But, every place on the ship is perfectly clean and excellently maintained. There were some children on the ship, and they were very well-behaved or quickly disciplined by their parents. Also, we saw some smokers, but only when we happened to venture outside to the decks where smoking was permitted. There were many French, Italians, and Spaniards having a wonderful holiday and making merry on the ship, but they were never anywhere near our cabin. We only experienced peace and quiet when we went to our cabin for the evening. We had a balcony, which we loved. Our cabin was very nice, the bathroom very clean, the bed was very comfortable, and our cabin steward was outstanding. The dining room is very nice, as are the buffets and the burger and pizza bars. The food is not up to 5-start restaurant quality, but it is very good, and the waiters are very attentive. At the buffets or burger and pizza bars, we had to stand in line a few minutes, but there are so many lines, that there were never more than 5 or so people ahead of us. Also, we saw absolutely no one pushing and shoving. We saw mostly smiles and "hellos" from our fellow passengers. We enjoyed the excursions immensely, and all the trips and tour leaders were very organized and quite efficient (with the exception of our Tunisian guide). Also, Madeline, the English speaking hostess is excellent. We understand that the Costa Serena is not the most luxurious cruise ship in the world, but we very much enjoyed it and feel strongly that we needed to comment about what a delightful experience we had in light of all the negativity others have published about this ship. Please sail on the Costa Serena with confidence. You will have a wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We have little experience of cruising and our judgements are necessarily based on limited experience. The story so far ........ We went on our first ever cruise last October on Costa Mediterranea. If you read my review of that trip ... Read More
We have little experience of cruising and our judgements are necessarily based on limited experience. The story so far ........ We went on our first ever cruise last October on Costa Mediterranea. If you read my review of that trip (October 2013) you will see that we had to abort in Savona a few days short of finishing the cruise from Rhodes to Marseille. My wife had back problems and we had a horrendous time getting off the boat and making our way to Nice airport. As I warned then, help from the Insurance company via the ship was pitiful and we were largely left to our own devices. I am sure we would have done better on a 'British' ship with a British doctor and speaking in English. We managed however with my limited Italian and rather better French (and help from friendly natives) to get home. With persistence we managed to persuade the Insurance company to pay up, my wife had her operation and we thought to put the money towards doing the bit of the Med we had missed before the insurance premiums went up. This turned out to be rather naive as the company would not cover such a recent operation even though my wife was completely cured. So off we went to Barcelona at the end of March only adequately insured; wife had forgotten her walking stick, but didn't seem bothered. I was. It's a great device for avoiding queues and eliciting sympathy. We had a night before the cruise in Barcelona, the weather was fine and the hotel central. I highly recommend getting to the cruise port the night before embarkation; it takes away a lot of stress even if it does cost a few pennies more in taxi fares. The letter we received from Costa gave the wrong embarkation time but we rolled up at the Cruise terminal at about 12:30 and were drinking our first cocktail an hour later. Barcelona embarkation is comparatively luxurious and has a good duty free section. Thus we managed a decent bottle of wine to celebrate, and a large bottle of water. Although we had booked the all inclusive, it is rather pleasant to have your own bottle of wine on your own balcony for when the extensive fire drills kick in at every port and everything shuts down. Embarkation at Rhodes had been primitive and slow. One for the Serena. The fire drills on Serena were well organised, intelligible and reasonably deft. They managed to lose us on Mediterranea and we all sort of drifted off in different parties into the darkness when nobody seemed interested. Never found the muster station or perhaps we did. One up to the Serena We had booked a Premium cabin this time, but I can't honestly say there was a lot of difference and I wouldn't pay for it again. The coffee they bring with the breakfast is barely drinkable One up to the Mediterranea - The Classic cabin there was slightly larger/wider, although the balcony at the back of Serena wake-watching was fantastic and you are allowed to smoke. We are very much occasional smokers and there has been a big policy shift in smoking since last October. Nowhere inside is set aside for smokers except for a so called Cigar bar, which does not have a bar and as far as we could tell no air extraction system either. One poor chap had to don a gas mask to clean the ashtrays and pose for photos; we only went in once. Better for everybody if they dispensed with it altogether in that state. There are windbreaks on the deck with a bit of a canopy. We haven't smoked inside at home for years and so were not much inconvenienced. A pity on a ship that size that there is not a place where smokers and non smokers can interact in a degree of comfort, but I do realise there is a sea change. A draw. The decor. Just silly on the Serena with the plastic Gods and Goddesses reclining on their polystyrene clouds. One for the Mediterranea. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, I suppose, and both ships were kept immaculately. More could be made of the hand sanitizers but they were there and we did use them. Unlike on the Mediterranea however all fixtures and fittings worked, so one to Serena. Signage or is it signeage? I managed to get lost frequently on Serena, my second cruise and almost never on Mediterranea my first. Principal difficulties were with the way off ship/exit. We spent a good deal of time in the bowels of the ship trying to find the exit. Deck 0 is fascinating with the panoply of waiters and stewards and cooks and laundry and logistics operatives, but we felt we should not be there. It was a bit like one of those Science fiction films where you are wandering along a very white long passage waiting for someone with a meat cleaver to leap out from a side bay. On the last day we were told to proceed to deck 5 and await announcements for disembarkation which we duly did. We were then told to go to deck 0 which we did by the nearest lift. It was a dead end. We went back to deck 5 and found our English hostess who seemed to think it was quite a hoot. It seems a shame that most people who are only on the boat for a week, waste considerable time because signs are just not there. I found the gym on four mornings but not easily. Mediterranea much better. The gym and facilities on the Mediterranea were superior to those on Serena, although they were both pretty good. The locker system on Serena involved putting in a PIN number, but few of the locks were working. On the Mediterranea there were locks with a physical key and lovely big fluffy towels and showers with water coming at you from all directions, so one to Mediterranea. There was certainly plenty of food on both ships with lots of variety. I would not recommend either breakfast or lunch in the Main Dining Room, mainly because there was so much more choice elsewhere. Lunch in MDR seemed to take forever and the breakfast coffee served up is stewed and poor. We never had afternoon tea, but sampled the pizza bar in the evening. If you want a pizza you are better waiting until 21:30 when they serve individual pizzas on deck 10, which are rather better than the slices on deck 9 earlier, although baked in the same oven. It is a sit down meal with friendly waiter service too. The evening meal in MDR was a highlight of the day; we had attentive waiters and a speedy refill of empty glasses. We were fortunate in getting along extremely well with our co-diners which made the waits between courses speed away. Everyone enjoyed the Italian evening. I think both ships provided us with an excellent meal time experience but Serena shades it just. On our first cruise the wife was virtually wheelchair bound and on this one we were not going to trip the light fantastic either and slip another disc, so it would be unfair of us to comment much on the dancing and late night carousing. We heard it, but at a suitably muffled distance. We did go to a couple of shows and listened to some accomplished bar piano/singers ply their trade early evening. There were some very popular dance line dance instruction classes in the pool areas and when these were not operating the wide screen showed a variety of entertainment during the day including virtually a whole Pavarotti concert and of course football. Still it was quite a joy to be away from England during the 20/20 cricket cup in Bangladesh. My only contacts with it were a couple of texts from my son and they didn’t spoil my Prosecco at all. For entertainment therefore Serena just gets the nod. Ah, away from England into some warm sunshine. Those of us from more northerly climes must enjoy our Mediterranean holidays more than those who can take the weather for granted, living there all the time. The only unexpected disappointment was Tunis, where we could not land because of thick fog. We had a bonus docking at Palma de Mallorca instead. That was our only booked excursion; for the other ports we just went a few hundred yards from where the ship docked. The highlight for both of us was the archaeological museum in Naples which is a 10 euro hairy taxi ride away and has to be the most stunning museum I have ever been to. The exhibits are so accessible. You should not of course touch them, but you could. We have been to Herculaneum and Pompeii and got lost driving in the Naples traffic, but the boat drops you so close. The Sunday food market in Savona was good too. The shopping experience on both ships was geared to the expensive ‘duty free’ merchandise and neither sold things you might actually need, like a razor for instance although we did buy a blow up Costa Serena for the bath – not for us you understand. It suited us better to spend another night in Barcelona at the end of the cruise and we had an enjoyable enough day on the hop on hop off tourist bus, but I think that with a little more confidence next time we would try the Barcelona card which includes the train ride from and to the airport. So both ships are of course offering a similar product and experience. For those of you who were counting, Serena won 5-4, but then I chose the categories! Probably because we felt that Serena was better organised. Nothing to choose between the crews who were mostly delightful, smiling and very hard working – honest too; my wife’s mobile phone was handed in within minutes and a phone call made to our cabin via the resourceful waiter. We tipped those who served us most individually and should have taken a pack of little envelopes and notelets which we found very difficult to obtain; rather less embarrassing than just handing over banknotes. Next time we shall try a different line and a different sea, but I for one who was very sceptical about cruising at all have been converted by Costa!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This review contains some of my own personal thoughts, opinions and suggestions that could improve your crusing expereince, especially if you are a first time crusier((like me). The review will be seperaetd into three sections. Positive, ... Read More
This review contains some of my own personal thoughts, opinions and suggestions that could improve your crusing expereince, especially if you are a first time crusier((like me). The review will be seperaetd into three sections. Positive, Negative and would be even better ifs! Positives Embarkation at Barcelona quick , efficient and hassle free. Cabin with a balcont worth paying the xtra for and spacious lovely and clean Drinks package, buy before you cruise. Its great value and not anywhere close to as limited as stated by other reviewers. At somewhere around £16 per person per day it is well worth it, especially if you, like me, make it your lifes work to travel all the way through the cocktail list! There are of course non alcholic cocktails so when you have made your way through the ones containing alcohol and fancy something else, feel free to ask the waiter or bar person to add alcohol of your choice to the non alcoholic ones and they will happily oblige! The staff on this ship are second to none, always polite, always helpful and even on occasion go above and beyond the call of duty. PLease ensure that you save a few euros for the end of the trip to tip your cabin person as they do an amazing job, often twice a day cleaning and tidying your cabin, should it be required. The english rep madeline is lovely, knowledgable polite and the epitomy of professionalism. Top marks there. Trip to pompeii- Do not miss this, this was the very best part of the trip for all of the guests in our party. the sites were amazing and margot the guide was excellent, so much so that we tipped her at the end of the excursion. Trip to Tunis. no need to buy the expensive excursion. Ten euros will get you on the shuttle bus that drops you at the souk and this is great fun! Trip to the catacombs- The catacombs are great if not a little scary but get the shuttle bus into town rather than the expensive excursion. the trip is long winded spends too much time in one place and often the commentary takes ages as the tour guide has to describe everything in a number of different languages which on the surface is fine but does become really tiresome and both myself and my sister in law got really agitated by this towards the end of the trip. savona- simply get off the ship walk into town and sit at the side of the harbour and watch the world go by whilst trying some of the beautiful pasta and pizza on offer its awesome. Entertainment on board isnt to everyones taste but is fine Good hairdryer in room There is an indoor smoking room located on one of the decks look out for Dark vader! The chap who cleans this room comes in with a gas mask on! rightly so but was quite funny the first time we saw him! For him indoors there is an F1 simulator. Be prepared to be left for long periods of time if your chap is into his motor sport. Testosterone was in buckets and the competition was fierce! Good fun though i was told. Hubby spent almost 100 euros on here so it must have been! Negative I expereinced a lot of the pushing and shoving and not queing Food was fine for the first few days but it was never particulalry hot just warm. I suppose only to be expected taking into consideration the amount of people needed to be fed. A gripe from all our group was that bottled water is not included in the drinks package The mini bar is expensive and there is a charge for it to be restocked I love the sun and therefore if you do too i would say dont book to go on a cruise in feb,march etc as you wont see much sun on board you will get some in Tunis though. No mention of hand hygeine in presentation and few people taking advantage of the hand sanitiser available at most entrances to eating areas. A ship this size could see food poisioning spread quickly, Decor, not to everyones taste and whilst im no linda barker found it all to bright and gawdy with no where except the cabin to give the eyes a rest. Quality of the coffee at breakfast is rubbish and the hot water is only hot not boiling so even if you were to take your own t bags it doesnt make a decent cuppa. if you like a sing song and see karaoke on your 'today' magazine, dont get excited, its mainly in other languages, you dont stand a hope in hell of being able to get up and sing, the screen wobbles all over the place and the graphics are pants.The compare gets people in the wrong order so it causes loads of confusion, give this one a wide berth(excuse the pun) Even better if You dont go expecting The QE2 (as was) Your happy to mingle with individuals that have no manners and can overlook this Water was included in drinks package You go in the warmer months (obviously you will pay more) The decor was toned down in a few areas The food was hot Finally I have said that i would be unlikely to cruise again. The main reason for this is that the whole experience simply reminded me of all inclusive holidays that i had previously on land, without the benefit of being able to jump on a bus or a taxi whenever i felt like it. Therefore i found it restrictive. However i have considered this in more depth and come to the conclusion that if i had gone during the warmer months, and perhaps to a smaller ship and to better destinations that i could be persuaded to try it again. As a woman in my early 40s i ditched all inclusive type holidays when i didnt have my children in tow,. Cruising isnt for everyone but if you like the all inclusive vibe then you will be fine and it is something that you need try at least once.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This was our second trip on the Costa Serena and knew exactly what to expect. Firstly this is an Italian Cruise Line and you will only occasionally hear the English Language being spoken by your fellow passengers. Lots of children on board ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Costa Serena and knew exactly what to expect. Firstly this is an Italian Cruise Line and you will only occasionally hear the English Language being spoken by your fellow passengers. Lots of children on board of all ages and a real family atmosphere prevails with plenty of activities for them. The food is geared to Continental tastes and it can be a bit hectic in the self service at times although we have never had to queue for more than a few minutes - never mind 40 minutes as claimed by an earlier reviewer. Our cabin staff were excellent and always visible - we did have a suite (offered an upgrade from balcony cabin at a reasonable extra charge). Lively entertainment areas - with the Italians and other Europeans enjoying their dancing - the old fashioned way. Plenty of quiet areas to escape the crowds if required. If you are a complainer then don't bother - one couple approached out English Hostess with a list of seven of the most trivial matters - why they bother leaving home I don't know. This is not a stiff and starchy Cruise Ship with a formal atmosphere and you get what you pay for - by the way we are a couple in our seventies (just) and will use Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We have recently returned from a costa cruise, which we almost didn't take because of all the awful things said about the line. So pleased we went with our common sense we had a fantastic time. The important thing to remember when ... Read More
We have recently returned from a costa cruise, which we almost didn't take because of all the awful things said about the line. So pleased we went with our common sense we had a fantastic time. The important thing to remember when booking a Costa cruise is that this line caters very much to the southern european market, especially italian. therefore dining arrangements, especially at breakfast, are done to suit, i.e. more emphasis on buffet style, less so on the sit down served arrangement as is prevalent on other lines. there is the option to go to the restaurant and be seated, most of the food is continental buffet style but tea and coffee are served, as are items that don't lend themselves to buffet such as omelettes, fried and poached eggs etc. evening dining is the event with 7 courses, and there is the usual lunch buffet/burger and fries bar very much like most cruise lines. there is no buffet dining in the evening, the area turns into a sit down served pizzeria. very italian. Our embarkation in Barcelona, was quick and very efficient, but most of the passengers don't get on and off here so we are unable to comment on the other ports. We were treated wonderfully from the start, politely, friendly and we didn't come across many staff who couldn't at least make themselves understood in English. Costa are very thorough these days with lifeboat drill, as they should be. the arrangements for english speakers at this port were as plain as the nose on your face. turn up at the arranged time at the theatre, listen to the english hostess give a talk and watch a video and then be ESCORTED to your muster station for the lifejacket demo. simples. you can then happily ignore any further announcements regarding lifeboat drill at other ports no matter what language the announcement is in. language does seem to be a major issue for some cruisers on costa especially in europe. the bulk of the passengers come from italy, spain, france, portugal, germany etc. their first language is not english, why should it be and why should this need spelling out. it annoys us greatly that some english speakers seem to have this bizarre idea that everybody should be able to speak english. There is also a perception that if the passengers are european therefore there is bound to be pushing and shoving. i will admit that in some instances some of them don't grasp the concept of queuing very well, but in the restaurants we saw none of that. everyone waited in line, generally patiently and did not push in. the smoking rules on board are very strict, more so than some other lines we have been on. no smoking inside, not even in the casino. we saw no one disobey these rules and never smelled smoke inside. the only place where smoke could be smelled was at the side of the door leading to the promenade deck but it never lingered as the air conditioning was very efficient here. there were so many bars and seating areas it was never necessary to sit there. in fact, this ship has more bars and seating areas than most of the ships we have been on. there is only one paid for restaurant plus a small one specifically for spa cabins and the space for these has to come from somewhere. full marks to costa for resisting the many paid dining areas (so far). most of the bars had some form of live music/entertainment which was excellent as was the talent in the theatre shows. no big production shows as on lines such as royal caribbean but the in house dancers and singers were as good, if not better than we have seen elsewhere. the shows were very popular, and they managed to find something which could appeal to all cultures and languages. well done to Costa for what is potentially difficult. This is a large ship and absorbs its full complement of passengers really well, there is never any need to feel overwhelmed by people if you want to get away. we never used the library, internet area, or disco so cannot comment on these. considering the large number of teens on board and that alcohol is served from age 18, the behaviour was very good. The food was absolutely wonderful. maybe fewer choices in the buffet than some cruises but generally you would have to be extremely picky not to find something to like. I have read poor reviews about the pizza. this is probably due to expectation. certain nationalities (not to be named) expect their pizza to have thick or stuffed crust and a hundred or so toppings to choose from. italian pizza is not like that, it is a snack really, made to be cooked very quickly and eaten on the run, hence thin crust and few toppings. we love it, and when you are on costa you are effectively in italy. whereas costa's pizza is not the best we have ever had it italy, it is more than acceptable. The burger and fries bar tended to be the busiest (there were many teens on board on this sailing), especially between 11 and noon. the main buffet did not open until 12 noon and on one day in particular when the ship docked at 1 pm everyone wanted to eat and be ready for getting off. however, there were actually 2 burger/fries bars on this ship and the one at the other end of the buffet from the main pool was usually quieter. all you have to do is wander around and look. we never waited very long in the main buffet, even at the busy lunch time. the evening dining was wonderful, 7 courses (all small) which meant you can try lots of different food items and still be able to walk. and if you didn't think any course was big enough, they would have happily brought you another one, or a different one. all the staff wanted to do was to please and i never heard the words its not possible once. the food was of very good quality, beautifully cooked and presented and politely served by the friendly waiters. if costa is at the 'cheap' end of cruising the food did not make it feel like it. we had the drinks package which was fantastic value and the wine at dinner was most acceptable. if you are a connoisseur you may have problems, but then maybe you are on the wrong cruise line. the food was excellent quality, beautifully cooked and presented and politely served. there were many children on board, all of them very well behaved and the odd one that misbehaved was soon pulled into line by a parent or carer. yes they were noisy and lively especially in the activities around the pool which they were all encouraged to join in, even the tiny ones. i would be very concerned about children in this environment that weren't noisy and lively. at dinner, all the children we saw, and there were many of them, knew how to sit up to a table, sit still, manage cutlery and behave in a civilised manner. perhaps this is because they are brought up to do this from a young age. it is obvious from our travels in europe that they seem to grasp the idea that children are a joy to have with you and you want to give them a good time, but they are not the centre of the universe and sometimes they have to fit in with the grown ups and do it with good grace. the children on this ship certainly knew how to do this. the main pool area was where many of the activities took place, mostly around dancing, singing, games and exercise. we expected it to be like a zoo but it wasn't. the glass roof was nice as it meant the area was available to use even in bad weather. the weather on our cruise wasn't especially good, quite windy and a bit of a swell so that sometimes the pools had to be closed due to water slopping around which would have not been safe. similarly, not all the beds were out because there weren't enough people outside to use them. however, if you could find a nice warm sheltered corner (which we did), there was nothing to stop you getting a bed and moving it. (which we did). we didn't ask someone else to do it for us, we just took a bed and moved it. we expect service on a cruise, not slavery. the public bathrooms were plentiful but not easy to locate and this was a niggle which we intend to raise on our survey. the doors were the same colour as the ladies/gents sign and this made them easy to miss. there was supposed to be a lit sign above the door but it was not always lit up. plus, the ship map did not show the location of the bathrooms. when we did find one, it was always spotless and fresh. occasionally towels and tissues did run out, especially the bathrooms around the theatre which were heavily used, but it never took long to replenish them. besides there are hand air driers as well. hygiene was paid attention, hand sanitiser available outside all the restaurants and coming on board. no washee washee (ncl) you were left to make the decision to sanitise your hands yourself. you would be a fool not to. Costa does not present, or price itself as the Ritz of cruising. It is a family orientated and family friendly line and this shows in the way that children of all ages are welcomed and valued. some of the kids did go to the kids club, some not. the carers of the kids club certainly knew how to keep their charges in line and they did. we never once saw any child 'running wild' - whatever that means. haven't reviewed the cabin specifically, they are pretty similar to cabins on most cruise lines. we had an inside one, midships, deck 7 which was a premium cabin an a little larger than some we have had and a very nice bathroom. we do usually tend to go for the cheapest option because we spend so little time in it, but Costa have this arrangement whereby if you book the cheap, to be allocated cabin, you cannot choose your dining location or time. for two people travelling together perhaps this is OK but we were in a four and wanted to be sure we were dining together. For that reason only we upgraded to the premium cabin, classic is the cheapest. it actually wasn't that much more expensive, about £28 per person. we also got room service free with this class of cabin and as we do like our early morning tea/coffee it was nice to have that. we did have breakfast pastries once in the cabin an were impressed with them, they were delicious and fresh. Using the medical facility isn't something you particularly want to do but on this occasion we had to. They were excellent, very well staffed, treatment first class and wonderfully caring and considerate. the medical facility must report to the customer service staff details about their patients because 2 days after i started receiving treatment they called me in the cabin to ask how I was and had my condition improved. a nice touch. Fortunately for me I wasn't confined to the cabin (not norovirus!). What I would say to the nigglers and complainers about Costa cruises is this - they are exceptionally good value - don't expect the Ritz from what you have paid If you are travelling in Europe, the ship will probably be full of Italians, Spanish, French etc. what did you expect. These passengers will probably not speak English, why should they. Do you hate the presence of visible children, especially in the dining room. if you do, choose another line, or an adult only ship. Going on holiday should be an adventure, it won't be totally under your control and like it is at home. that is the joy of a holiday. if you really can't stand it that there may be little things that are not exactly as you might like them to be, then better to stay at home. We have travelled on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and NCL as well as Costa and independent travel throughout Europe and the USA. There are things about each one that have been specially nice, and things that we were not too sure of. That applies to probably every holiday we have ever been on. Keep an open mind, be flexible and you will have a wonderful time, on Costa as on any other cruise line. Moderate your expectation to what is realistic and do some research first (and not just bad reviews). Be grateful you can afford to cruise, and are fit enough to do so. There are many out there that would give their right arm to be doing what you (and we) are fortunate enough to be able to do .   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the ... Read More
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the cruise took on most of it's passengers in Marseille and Savona -The drinks package was very reasonable What's bad - The lack of choice , There's very little choice for eating on costa, - The queues- Particularly in the buffet for breakfast or lunch on sea days, On our sea day the queue for the buffet was 40 minutes long. At this particular time (Between 11 and 12) this was the only food available. I would not like to be on this ship with kid's who may end up crying for food. The queue was inexcusable the buffet is huge but 90% of it was closed. It wouldn't take many staff to open more of it - Some of the staff- Some of the bar waiters would walk past your table full of empty drinks 10 times, Or ignore you if you called them discreetly. Maybe they are used to dealing with Europeans who are more assertive. - Some of the public bathrooms were a bit smelly and there was often no towels or tissues to dry your hands. Never seen anything close to this on another cruise ship.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
We are not normally difficult to please. We have taken eight cruises between my sister and I and have never been so disappointed as with this Costa Cruise. If I ever hear the phrase "impossibla" or "madam it is not ... Read More
We are not normally difficult to please. We have taken eight cruises between my sister and I and have never been so disappointed as with this Costa Cruise. If I ever hear the phrase "impossibla" or "madam it is not possible" again I will scream! When you take a cruise you have to accept that you are a captive audience and all that goes with that. However, Costa take this to an entirely different level. The staff are trained in the a way which seems to be that the customer is never right and expects too much! By the end of our seven day cruise we had a list of three A4 sheets of complaints (we don't normally do this!). A few examples - The lifeboat drill was a farce - we asked a number of crew for directions and were sent the wrong way three times before finding the English speaking presentation - this did not fill us with confidence from the first day!! We politely asked the deck crew to get out some sunbeds on an upper deck - they were very reluctant, saying that they could only get them out on one deck (not where we had found a sheltered spot!) We both drink a lot of water……despite being on the all inclusive package, water was restricted to a serving by the glass (small) and I could not get a glass of Prosecco (normally included at the bars) in the dining room as a dessert wine. Also huge queues for the buffet on returning from excursions, pools closed for no apparent reason, children in adult areas and poor excursions, where supposed English speaking guides could only repeat "is very important" for most of the landmarks! All of these are indicative of poor organisation and poor customer service. After complaining with Guest Services and speaking with the English Cruise Representative (who we felt were understanding of our issues), we decided not to pay the Service Charge as we had received very poor service. To cap it all, when we were disembarking we were shouted down by a tall overbearing Italian man (The Assistant Administrative Director – Daniele Gorini) who did not listen to anything we said but just insisted on speaking over us. He then proceeded to say that Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic were “Bull Shit.” Needless to say, we will not be taking a Costa Cruise again. We normally take NCL cruises, however, they did not have the specific dates we needed on this occasion. Next time we will take a different holiday rather than a Costa Cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
The ship is new and big, but the design is no grand as other mainstreem cruise ships that we have been too. Common areas are very small and crowded. Pools and hot tubs looked small & crowded so we never used them. The foods were ... Read More
The ship is new and big, but the design is no grand as other mainstreem cruise ships that we have been too. Common areas are very small and crowded. Pools and hot tubs looked small & crowded so we never used them. The foods were bad on the first day but after that foods were very good. A variety of choices for buffet breakfast, luchn or tea. There were pizza throughout the day. Coffee was bad and there were no juice for lunch, only water and coffee. Dinners in dinning room were very good. There were special nights such as Italian, Gala nights with special performances by dinning room staff. The atmostphere was very lively and fun. the shows in general were very nice and entertaining, especially the show where regular staff (such as waiters or stewards) performed. It was execellent. A variety of entertainment at the lounges/bars with dancing (ballroom, rock & roll or Italian style of dancing) Most cruisers are Italian or non English speaking. So we were assigned at dinner table where people did not speak English. We had to request the change to luckily English speaking people. From then on, dinners were enjoyable. Overall, Costa provided excellent values for your money. THe ports were very good and easy to explore. I would recommend Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We were excited with this departure and the ports that were offered as well as an opportunity to practice our language skills with the various European guests. The ship is lovely and our stateroom verandah was wonderful. It was well ... Read More
We were excited with this departure and the ports that were offered as well as an opportunity to practice our language skills with the various European guests. The ship is lovely and our stateroom verandah was wonderful. It was well designed and our exceptional steward kept it immaculate. We met a French couple our first evening and were surprised to learn that they were departing the next day in Marseille. We eventually learned that guests embark and disembark at each port. We never were able to gain a ship synergy as when all the guests embark simultaneously, however, it was quite interesting seeing the different European groups coming and going. The food was very well prepared, fresh and offered a decent variety. The restaurant staff did an admirable job given the numerous languages they are required to work in. We normally avoid buffets but the breakfast buffet was expansive and we had the opportunity to have personalized omelets made as we watched...a very short wait. Our only complaint was the tour excursions. We had pre-confirmed tours and our first tour was cancelled. It took a lot of energy on our part to secure a substitute that was adquate. Our tour in Catania (Sicilty)combined French and English speaking guests. The guide had to translate back and forth and we often missed some of the sites during the translation. More time spent having coffee and shopping than touring...a waste of money. However, the tour to Pompeii was exceptional with Professor Romano guiding us back in time...AMAZING! We had a pre-paid transfer as we had to catch an international flight. We were booked on the latest departure in error and were treated rudely by the excursion staff. Their resolution: take a taxi (at our own expense). They have refused to refund the price of the transfer. Taxis are plentiful and significantly less money and the most direct way to get to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if ... Read More
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if we were to take advantage of the vouchers, use them immediately or forget it. Although we had till October 2012 to use them, when looking at the prices for next year, would have cost us double then what the vouchers were worth. We so glad we took the cruse when we did... Why wait an extra year & pay $800 more, to get disappointed. Do not get us wrong, when looking to purchase the cruise, We did look for the most inexpensive one Costa was offering. With our discounts on the cruise with the vouchers and the fact we had enough points to receive an addition savings from our booking agent and to receive a room with a balcony on the 8th deck..Plus we wanted to stay in Barcelona(the port we embarked on) so we payed for all 5 nights at our hotel through air miles, in all made for an inexpensive trip.. The passengers you get on an inexpensive cruise, will reflect on the type of clientele. Being NorthAmerican of Italian background, made it easier to understand the European mentality... No wonder the people at customer service & tour organizers smiled at us when we needed assistance.... Guess what we are saying is, between the rudeness of the Italians and the arrogance of the French, everyone else that was left on the trip were pleasant...Over all we look at this outing as time off.. The ports were nice, the weather could have been better(That is not Costa's fault) and our stay in Barcelona, was a great experience... All in all, the reason we took advantage of the offer was because we really enjoyed the first cruise on the Costa Pacifica.... Although the staff on board, by the time the week was over, were very good to us....But.....You Get What You Pay For Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
I can't understand why there should be a daily service charge €7 per day over and above your initial payments when it's a compulsory expense !!! and to then be charged 15% on all extra's seems a little underhand to me. ... Read More
I can't understand why there should be a daily service charge €7 per day over and above your initial payments when it's a compulsory expense !!! and to then be charged 15% on all extra's seems a little underhand to me. Other services on the boat such as sauna and massage are alo expensively wrapped up in packages and day rates (€33 I think) when you may only want an hour or a brief escape. Internet access was also expensive at €26 for 3 hours.....even McDonalds give this free. You should also be aware of port to city transfer cost particularly in Marseille I can't fault the restaurants and bar staff, they were all very poite and efficient....not their fault that they are forced to serve the food (which was good)at such a fast rate. The customer service desk is almost always too busy and when you do speak to them they were not empowered to actually make a decison (classic cost avoidance ploy) if it was anything more than advice. The decor was not to my liking a bit too dark and just totally over done but each to his own here. The general atmosphere was bit claustophobic but better weather and more outdoor access would have helped, and perhaps less naff piped music. The description of the swimming pools is overstated....4 stokes end to end. This boat is dominated by Italians...great people but you may feel a little overpowered.....although Volare is always fun. This is the first critique I've ever written....sorry that I was not motivated to be more positive. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
After booking the cruise on Costa Serena i read the reviews and wished i had not booked.I have worked as a holiday rep for the most famous British holiday company for the over 50s and also worked front of house in some great restaurants ... Read More
After booking the cruise on Costa Serena i read the reviews and wished i had not booked.I have worked as a holiday rep for the most famous British holiday company for the over 50s and also worked front of house in some great restaurants serving the likes of Michael Caine,Bob Hoskins and Mel Gibson. Once our holiday started,i looked for faults but there were none except for our flights and Naples.My daughter and i flew with KLM from Bristol to Barcelona via Amsterdam.The flights were booked through Costa as were our transfers in Barcelona.A direct flight would have been better but we accepted it.Finally arriving in Barcelona,we were met by a taxi driver in a brand new black Mercedes and driven to the port.Our luggage was then taken to the ship and we went and checked in and had a drink.30 minutes later at 2pm, boarding was announced and we had card number 2.We boarded straight away and went to our cabin.We were in 6201 outside window at the front of the ship with amazing views.Large cabin,lots of space and very clean.After unpacking we explored the ship and were amazed.It is clean,modern and not over the top as many people have said.On returning to our cabin to get ready for dinner we were met by Neri the chambermaid who greeted me and knew my name even though we had not reached our cabin yet.She did an excellent job throughout our stay as did P.Kumar and Dexter in the Lido Sole bar and Raquel in the Vesta restaurant. We then had a great week meeting lots of lovely people ,especially the people on our table.There were probably only 150 English speakers on board but we all felt happy and mixed well with all the other nationalities.The announcements in 5 languages were short and sweet and only occurred 3 or 4 times a day and there was no pushing and shoving in the lifts or buffet by anyone as i had been led to expect by other reviewers.The ship was full with over 3800 people on board. The food was excellent,the staff were excellent and the ports of call were excellent except for Naples(very dirty and dangerous when crossing roads).The ship never felt crowded as it is so big and with 13 bars to choose from there was always great entertainment.The theatre was a bit of a let down as it is beautiful and large but the acts were average.This did not matter as there was a lot going on elsewhere. After a fantastic week we were sad to say goodbye to all our new friends and the ship.Once again a lovely transfer to the airport only to find that our flight to Amsterdam was delayed and we missed our connection to Bristol.No problem,we were put on a flight 5 hours later and given phone vouchers,food vouchers and 100 euros off future flights with KLM.Hopefully direct flights when we book our next holiday with Costa which we will do and soon. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Had a week on the Costa Serena our first Cruise with Costa, although we have cruised many times before. The ship is beautiful and the facilities are good. Food very good and a wide choice. The destinations on this cruise where ... Read More
Had a week on the Costa Serena our first Cruise with Costa, although we have cruised many times before. The ship is beautiful and the facilities are good. Food very good and a wide choice. The destinations on this cruise where excellent and shore excursions well planed. Shows are poor until the last night of the cruise and that one was very good. On the down side they have introduced a 15% surcharge on everything from the bar so a small glass of beer is nearly 6 Euros and you still have to pay a compulsory gratuities payment on top of the surcharge. The Officers only talk to you if you are below 20 years of age and partly dressed, and talking of dress on the gala night I only counted 5 couples who dresses for dinner some of the Italian guests even wore T-Shirts. The crew had a attitude problem for example if you met one in a corridor you had to give way for fear of being knocked over.That attitude was all over the ship and the guests where even worse than the crew, try to get out of a lift they just push in before the lift empties. The examples of rudeness are as long as my arm, every English speaking person said they had the same problems that we experienced. If you are a none smoker forget it the guests are mainly Italian and they smoke everywhere even in the lifts. Children are not allowed in certain areas for example the large Jacuzzis but they treated them as there private swimming pools if you tried to get in you where jeered at and the security guard who's job it was to keep them out just laughed. One final note I have spent many happy holidays in Italy so I don't have a downer on Italians but this lot were just rude and in great numbers. One of the staff said when she approached a guest and said bon giorno if you replied back "hello" she felt as though the next 2 minutes the guest would be polite and courteous, but if they replied bon giorno she had a fight on her hands to say polite. I could go on but I think I've made my point. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
Its our own fault. We had read reviews of Costa before we went and thought that as it was good value for money we would ignore the faults. How wrong we were. The first thing is the cabin is so small compared to other ships. We went to ask ... Read More
Its our own fault. We had read reviews of Costa before we went and thought that as it was good value for money we would ignore the faults. How wrong we were. The first thing is the cabin is so small compared to other ships. We went to ask to upgrade only to be told by a very rude person that she must e mail HQ first, but will only do this if we 100% wanted to upgrade. We said no problem, but we wanted to see a similar cabin that she was now asking a further £1,000 for. No she cant do that !!! So £1,000 for what then ? we were met with a look that made us think we in the wrong. Ok we said lets do it thinking if we dont like it they could whistle for their money. Needless to say 3 days later when we enquired what happened the staff at the desk knew nothing about our request !!!! Costa Serena's guests are 85% Italian 10% French and an assortment of others who dont know better. The guests seem to hunt in packs of 8 plus children. None of them can say the following. Please, Thank you, or Excuse me. Getting out of a lift you take your life in your hands. The onward rush nearly consigns you to a life stuck between decks. Now lets do the food. This is served by waiters who have the look on their face that they would rather be elsewhere. We put this down to the fact that the tipping is already done, so why be pleasant? The entertainment would be first class at my granchildrens birthday party, but for adults, forget it. So to sum up for good value it is ok, But my suggestion is pay a touch more and use another cruise line if you are English. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We had heard nothing but glowing reports from other family members who had taken several cruises with other companies. We booked our cruise through a travel agent and were quite happy with her recommendations. We arrived at the ship in ... Read More
We had heard nothing but glowing reports from other family members who had taken several cruises with other companies. We booked our cruise through a travel agent and were quite happy with her recommendations. We arrived at the ship in good time and after finding our room with some difficulty deposited our belongings and began to explore. We sampled some food on deck 9 and had to use plastic plates and pyrex type beakers. Not what you would expect from a cruise ship! Away we went to explore further and soon I became sick. Spent the rest of the evening in bed while hubby went to dinner on his own. Not a great start to our holiday but we persevered with what was fast becoming a shuttle ship experience or Butlins boat type holiday. We said very little about our feelings of disappointment until we met Jackie and she soon let us know that this ship was certainly not the best she had encountered. Far from it! Then we met a French couple who seemed to have much the same reservations as ourselves and we were amazed to learn that they had boarded the ship at Marseilles. Far too much embarking and disembarking. Obviously its more lucrative for Costa to operate this way but I would prefer to embark with the same people and cruise with them before disembarking with them. That way maybe there would be a chance of meeting more people. Food - We got rather fed up with the self-service buffet type meals. Very basic food for the most part. Dinner was a little better if you like 5 or 6 courses and enjoy your pasta. We felt the charges for excursions were almost extortionate. We were afraid to miss out by not going but this was not the case. We had to take 2 tours in French since there were insufficient numbers for an English tour. Fine for me but boring for hubby! Sorrento was the no.1 tour for me but it was cancelled because of lack of interest. Service charges - We certainly didnt expect to pay 14euros per day for 7days! We embarked mid-afternoon on the 1st day and left just after 9am on our last day. Costa are fair reaping it in there since the previous guests in our room will have paid it too (their last day and our first day) and the next guests after us pay (our last day and their first day). To put it more simply - Costa reap double payment of service fees for 5 out of 7 days. I didnt really get that much service since nearly all of the cruise was self-service. Nearly everyone we spoke to had similar feelings of discontent and one only had to behold the queues waiting at reception to know that a lot of changes need to be implemented soon to improve overall customer satisfaction. We would certainly be in no hurry to book another Costa cruise. It was an expensive experience and the end result - try to manage another birthday treat for hubby! Read Less
Costa Serena Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 2.0 3.1
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 3.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.6

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