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4 Costa Serena Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean from Barcelona

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
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 October 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
Sail Date April 2011
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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