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288 Costa Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was our second cruise with Costa (did the Med in 2009) and apart from the food couldn't find a lot wrong with it then. Unfortunately, although the food has improved, they seem to have taken a backward step overall.Once again we ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Costa (did the Med in 2009) and apart from the food couldn't find a lot wrong with it then. Unfortunately, although the food has improved, they seem to have taken a backward step overall.Once again we flew into Milan (Malpensa) airport in order to get the Costa transfer coach to the ship. On this occasion we were met by two female Costa reps that were rude, unhelpful and kept all us Brits until the very last coach. The journey to the Cruise Terminal took two and a half hours and check in took another hour, getting us on board thirty minutes before sailing.CabinOur cabin was spacious, with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. We had a large, comfortable bed. The en-suite was compact but not cramped and the balcony had enough room for two chairs and a side table. There was also a sofa, TV (only one English-speaking channel, with terrible reception throughout), mini-bar (charges apply) and safe in the cabin. Our luggage arrived within an hour. Later, our cabin steward introduced himself to us and he did a good job of looking after us and our cabin during the cruise.DiningBreakfast was available a-la-carte in the Michelangelo. For the brave, self service was available in the Christofor Colombo, where you find your plate and cutlery, join a queue to get your food and drink, then find a place to sit - and enjoy! Be prepared for queue-jumping and pushing in from a lot of bad-mannered passengers. There was quite an extensive selection of food, to suit all tastes (but never any baked beans). Lunch options were the same as for breakfast, and again a wide variety was available. Dinner had two sittings, 6.45 and 9.15 pm, in both the Michelangelo and the Raffaello restaurants. On the first night you have an allotted time and table, but this can be changed later for the rest of the cruise. This four course meal was waiter service only. There was plenty of choice and the food and service was exceptional.... a vast improvement on our previous cruise with Costa. All beverages, including tea and coffee, had to be paid for, though jugs of iced water were free.* If you don't use the dining rooms for dinner the only other option was pizza in the Christofor Colombo.There was also the Club Conte Grande restaurant, which has a premium.DrinksThere were up to ten bars available ranging in times from 7.00 am to 1.30.am, serving alcohol (spirits 5.30 for 5cls, wine 4.95 a small glass, draught beer 4.90 for 40cls, or cans 4.95 for 33cls, cocktails 6.95, liqueurs 4.95 for 5cls), soft drinks (2.95 a can), water (1.70 a half litre), tea (2.00) and cappuchino (2.50). *All prices are euros.Around the shipThere were two small pools with jacuzzis and a larger pool with a water chute (couldn't find the fourth advertised pool). There was also a wellness centre (charge) and a modern fitness centre. There was a disco, a library, a few shops, a theatre and a casino. The casino was a smoking area, as was the adjoining room (doors permanently open), therefore ventilation was poor. Next to the smoking room was the piano bar, also with open doors. Entertainment/shows took place in two showrooms, and the Rex Theatre which covered three decks. Overall we found all of the shows to be quite ordinary. Bingo sessions were held occasionally.ExcursionsTwenty six of the thirty seven excursions for English-speaking passengers were cancelled. The Tour Office said this was due to a lack of numbers, and unfortunately for safety reasons we were not allowed to go on any of the other language speaking coaches. The Tour Office also had no information about the ports we were visiting, and when we complained we were told "Its a nice day for a walk". *A little research into ports of call before you sail may therefore be of help.Disembarkation ran smoothly.SummaryApart from the excursion problems, the overall cruise cost was just about right. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The Ship This was our first cruise and so we have nothing with which to compare it. It was my wife who had wanted to try a cruise and I was the sceptical one. The boat was much bigger than I had imagined and much better appointed. We are ... Read More
The Ship This was our first cruise and so we have nothing with which to compare it. It was my wife who had wanted to try a cruise and I was the sceptical one. The boat was much bigger than I had imagined and much better appointed. We are used to minimalist Travelodge or cluttered country hotels but this room/cabin was cleverly arranged with lots of hanging and drawer space easily enough to accommodate the amount you could reasonably bring aboard if travelling by airplane. The lighting was first rate; how often we have grumbled about hotel bedrooms which have insufficient light to read by. The balcony was well worth the extra money. We were blessed with lovely weather and sitting outside with a starchart listening to the sea was a real priviledge I would advise taking clothes pegs and hangers. The hangers provided were not portable and drying on the balcony took very little time. There were ample lifts; they were efficient and we seldom had to wait long for one to appear going in the required direction. There were plenty of places for smokers but we did not find it intrusive. The gym etc was excellent. Even if you don't feel like using the gym, the showers there were far superior to the one in the cabin and a locker and lovely big towels were provided; you just had to sign for the key, Some of the equipment looked a bit tired, but it all worked. There was a nice hot bubbly pool without children or cool breezes and various hot rooms. The pools were rather small. The water fountains generally did not work. Considering the carpeting was in constant use, it was very clean. Indeed the whole ship was continuously cleaned and there were very few occasions when you sat down at a dirty table. We had benign weather and so I really cannot comment on the behaviour of the ship in rough conditions; I was hardly aware most of the time that we were at sea. The Food Plenty. We probably ate too much on the first few days. The seafood paella on embarkation was memorable. We tried all the variations for breakfast and lunch and preferred the less formal arrangements on Deck 9 to the multi-uniformed presentation in the Dining Area. There was also a Burger fest late afternoon and a rather quaint offering of afternoon tea. The evening meal was 7 courses, but I don’t think many people managed all seven we certainly did not. Having been allocated the early sitting 18:45, we quickly decided that the 20:45 sitting was a better option for us. There was no problem in switching. Having been there for more than a week we realised that they were working on a 7 day menu turnover. Considering how many they had to serve, the whole meal was remarkably quick, taking less than 1 ½ hours from entry to exit. The quality of food was good and there was choice. There were some exceptional courses like the Osso Bucco, most were far more adventurous than we would prepare at home for ourselves. The Drinks Do not envisage a Costa Cruise without taking the 19:50 euro drinks package. It made everything so easy. Coffee in the morning, beer at lunchtime, Cocktail in the afternoon, more beer, more coffee, pastis as an aperitif, wine with the meal, strega or whiskey to finish the day, whoops no we’ll have another one or two probably not very good for us, but neither is worrying about how much you are paying every minute. The Entertainment Lots to do and see. As many keep fit sessions as you could wish. Consistently high standard of background music in the main bars. The shows were varied, enjoyable and lasted about ¾ hour. We did not partake but gather that the partying went on well into the night. The Staff/Crew Mostly delightful and eager to please. We had a fantastic cabin steward Josephine, super waiters in Ktut and Jay. Customer services came up trumps with Antonio and Thomas who gave us a lot of their time. Oscar was good fun on the bar on deck nine. The maitre d’ Salvatore from Chorley was the almost perfect……. I won’t spoil it for you ….. but you will know who I mean. Value We reckon we got a great deal. It came to just under £2000 for 15 nights for two with balcony cabin to include 4 nights in Rhodes to start with and flights. I cannot see where you could match that in other sorts of holiday. The Drinks Package was of course extra as were the excursions. We did not use the Costa excursions, but the ones we chose were cheaper and extensive. The Holiday We were unfortunate. It became apparent in crossing London that my wife was experiencing severe lower back pain. We got to Rhodes OK and she could only lie down on one side. After our 4 night stay there, she could only sleep on her back and I had to push her in a wheelchair where I could get one. On the boat we managed after some persistence, to avail ourselves of a wheelchair which was fine for 7 days. When it became apparent she could no longer even lie down on her back, we realised we were in trouble. We therefore had to try to contact insurers, find timetables, communicate with Italian doctors and make our own way home. We managed just - and that is an exciting story in itself. The Gripes The difficulty of procuring water for the cabin was paramount. There seemed no problem in bringing bottles onboard, it was just that we did not go off ship as much as we might have done. In England water is on tap as it were and it was difficult to have to plan ahead. We had thought Premium Cabin meant Premium Service which it apparently does not. Almost all those we dealt with were very sympathetic to our predicament with the exception of one waspish lady obviously quite senior who accused us of changing our mind again about leaving the ship which was unfair. The difficulties in finding a suitable flight home were pretty extensive. Internet connection on the ship was poor to non-existent even using the ship’s facilities. We were fortunate in having someone in England who could arrange things for us. I would have thought that Post Concordia the applause and plaudits for our celebrated captain doubtless merited - could have been a bit more muted. Be aware that if you do have problems you will be dealing with non English speakers. The command of English and many other languages of many of the crew was quite humbling, but the fact remains that you will be trying to communicate detailed technical difficulties in other than your own language. As you are at sea for most of the time without communication the problems are exacerbated. Do not expect much useful help from your Insurance policy. The Verdict We would go again like a shot, health permitting.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was my first Costa cruise. I’ve cruised on nearly all the other cruise lines including MSC, another European cruise line. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised and very much enjoyed the cruise. The ship was in ... Read More
This was my first Costa cruise. I’ve cruised on nearly all the other cruise lines including MSC, another European cruise line. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised and very much enjoyed the cruise. The ship was in good condition, our oceanview room was fairly typical of other cruise lines, the main dining food was very good and the breakfast and lunch buffet was OK. The premium pay restaurant, Club Medusa, was excellent. The entertainment was in line with most US cruise lines. Keep in mind the Med cruises are very much different than the Caribbean cruises, so daytime entertainment is tamer. If you want to party, skip the cruise and head to Ibiza or Mykonos. The ship had several pools, hot tubs, Spa, excellent gym, shops, etc. I think there are some differences between Costa and MSC, who mainly market to the Europeans, and the US cruise lines sailing in the Med. First, nearly all the passengers were from Europe so all announcements are made in six languages. The ship had roughly 2300 passengers and we met only two other Americans. Second, the only dinner option is the main dining area. No dinner buffet, so if you have the early seating and get back to the ship after 7pm, late night pizza or paid room service are the only options. Third, the shore excursion options may be limited since they will only offer an English speaking tour if there are enough English speaking people taking the tour. This didn’t affect us since we normally don’t take the cruise line shore excursions, but beware if you do. Embarkation was very fast since we boarded off peak time in Heraklion, Crete. The port is right in downtown Heraklion. You may need to take a free short shuttle bus ride from the terminal building to the ship. You drop your luggage off at the terminal building before getting on the shuttle bus. There is an emergency drill your first night. Since Alanya, Turkey was not on the port of call listing, I am including in the ship review. Alanya, Turkey: This was the sleeper port of the cruise. I wasn’t expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. Great beaches, stunning mountain scenery, magical coastal views, a hilltop castle, Roman and Greek ruins, white water rafting, waterfalls and a quaint waterside area with cafes, shops and a scenic harbor. You can even ski if there in the winter. Definitely take a boat tour (one to five hours). The best beach is Cleopatra, a 20 minute walk from the ship or a few minute taxi ride. If interested in archeology, visit Side and some of the area ruins via private taxi or shore excursion. Disembarkation: Very organized and no issues. They will actually allow you to stay on board until 6pm if you have a late flight, but you need to vacate your cabin by 8am.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The boarding was a little shambolic especially when the baggage scanner packed in and they tried pushing all luggage through the hand baggage X-ray, total chaos ensued. Eventually got through this one and bussed to another queue in a ship ... Read More
The boarding was a little shambolic especially when the baggage scanner packed in and they tried pushing all luggage through the hand baggage X-ray, total chaos ensued. Eventually got through this one and bussed to another queue in a ship side marque that turned out to be for the pre-boarding snap, not a happy picture! Glad to say it all improved from then onwards. This was our second Costa cruise, the first was on the Favalosa, the Mediterranea is a slightly older ship, but equally as impressive. Cabin (inside) was spacious, clean and well maintained. An issue with the beds was quickly resolved. If you like a couple of drinks during the day and wine at dinner I would always recommend the package My only small criticism of the Costa experience would be the evening dining; unlike some other cruise lines it is not the occasion it could be. The food it of a good quality it's just they serve it so fast, as soon as one you finishes a course the next is served meaning some were almost on their sweets whilst others were 3 courses back. The wine bottle is no longer left on the table prompting regular reminders to the waiter.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I traveled with 3 girlfriends out of Barcelona and we were pleasantly surprised. I was hesitant to book after finding few reviews and quite a bit of negativity here on the boards on all aspects of both the line & ship. I have to say, ... Read More
I traveled with 3 girlfriends out of Barcelona and we were pleasantly surprised. I was hesitant to book after finding few reviews and quite a bit of negativity here on the boards on all aspects of both the line & ship. I have to say, we booked it for the value and tried not to set expectations too high, but were thrilled. We booked two premium balcony cabins that were very spacious and extremely clean. Our room attendants remembered our names from the first meeting (even though we don't go by what's on our passports) and always made sure we had everything we needed, including finding robes for all four of us, and allowing us to pass chairs over the side all to one balcony so we could sit together at night since due to the wind they couldn't open them to adjoin like the booking agent said we could. Embarkation was a breeze, although you don't get your sea passes there and it's not very nice, with no computers or fancy waiting areas. We were on board and in our cabins earlier than promised. We all bought the drink package & had assigned dining, which was great. Both our waiters were very attentive and brought us things to try without asking. The wine selection was great and they kept bottles coming if needed. The food in MDR was as good as I've had on Celebrity, Princess & Holland. I will say that the buffets lacked much variety, but were always clean, with fresh food, and some of the best pizza I've encountered on a ship. We seemed to be some of the only American women on board, but they did seat us at dinner between two parties that spoke English, one from UK and the other Australia. It seemed the crew all enjoyed practicing their English with us, then again, we're from the South, they likely had fun listening to us. I'll post about our excursions on the port of call boards, as we did all of those on our own and not through the ship. My only shocker, especially after the Concordia tragedy, was the lack of enforcement of the safety drill. We were given red cards along with our sea passes in our cabins, and our room attendants mentioned it to us, so we took our life jackets to our assigned station in the main theater. After more than 15 minutes of sales pitches in several different languages, pushing the spa, shops & shore excursions, we left. We did receive a letter on the 3rd day that it was mandatory that we attend the one as we were leaving Italy, our last evening on board, and we had to listen to the entire drill while packed like sardines at our respective muenster stations in all 5 languages. They took our red cards from us at this drill and didn't leave port until we were done. I can see how confusing it could become with so many different sets of instructions if there was a true emergency. Only truly negative thing we found, was the unfriendliness of the concierge desk. We had 3 occasions to need them, along with picking up our passports the last morning. The ladies there acted as if you were a bother to them each time we stopped by. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We travelled for 7 days starting on the 15 October. We chose the ship because of the itinerary, and the ports were all interesting. The ship seemed to be very crowded most of the time even though the weather was fine enough for the ... Read More
We travelled for 7 days starting on the 15 October. We chose the ship because of the itinerary, and the ports were all interesting. The ship seemed to be very crowded most of the time even though the weather was fine enough for the sundecks to be fully utilised. Beacuse the ship is basically Hop on Hop Off type of circular cruise passengers were joining and leaving at each of the 6 ports of call, and by far the majority were Italians. Unless conversant with the language this was somewhat overwhelming. Many of the passengers smoked quite heavily, and to someone from England this seemed a step back into the past. There were also a large number of young children and babies on board, and apart from the number of prams being pushed round the deck, the children were well behaved, although they seemed to go to bed about midnight or fall asleep in their buggies. With such a large Italian contingent | thought the theatre shows should have reflected their hisory and culture. I think the tour director could have made an effort to arrange for the English speakers to meet each other, and brief language courses would be a help. We had our first Italian lesson on the final day. Food and service was excellent, but drinks quite expensive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
A new Ship, beautiful! The rooms are big enough and most facilities needed are available, clean and neat. Definetely buy the Boys and Girls Softdrink package that they have, you save a bit with this. Everything worth doing on the ship is ... Read More
A new Ship, beautiful! The rooms are big enough and most facilities needed are available, clean and neat. Definetely buy the Boys and Girls Softdrink package that they have, you save a bit with this. Everything worth doing on the ship is however charged for...Grand Prix and Golf Simulator, use of Spa Steam rooms, 4D Movies etc. Our waiter and our room attendant was stunning, the chefs/cooks and receptionist could learn somethng from them, they were quite rude when asking for something, like "how dare you ask attitude" (Had to ask for butter to be refilled or teaspoons at the coffee stations) Our safe did not work and when you phone the number they tell you to, no one answers, so we left it after reception just told us to keep on trying. Food was good, but average, their coffee sucks. It is in fact an italian ship, but expected more staff to be able to speak and understand english as they had Guests from all over the world, all their onboard entertainers and shows are also not in english, so not so enjoyable and could not really join in on some of them. Furthermore we enjoyed the trip and ports, their daily program is well organized and planned with lots of info. I would however say, unless you get a Costa cruise at a very good price, choose another cruise company.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
WE are an older couple and have cruised several times before. This was a quick, cheap winter holiday and our expectation were not high. We live near Barcelona, so just needed a quick rail journey to Barcelona Sants and a 20 euro taxi to ... Read More
WE are an older couple and have cruised several times before. This was a quick, cheap winter holiday and our expectation were not high. We live near Barcelona, so just needed a quick rail journey to Barcelona Sants and a 20 euro taxi to the ship. We arrived about 12.30 and had a very quick check in, a short wait and then boarded the ship about 1pm. The ship is not huge but very clean and well maintained. The style is well done although not to my taste and the lifts work quickly with no waiting. Our cabin was at the very front on deck 1 and sold as an interior. However it had 2 portholes and was a good size .As we expected the beds were at right angles, but the cabin was roomy with plenty of storage. Our luggage arrived in good time and we attended a sort of "welcome meeting" before the safety drill. The meeting was just for English speakers and went through everything very thoroughly..maybe in too much detail if you had cruised before. The drill was very good as well without too much standing about outside! We had the inclusive drinks package which was well worth the money! We were allocated first seating for dinner (6.30) and this suited us just fine. We had a couple a drinks in the Welcome atrium and then went straight in to dinner. There were 7 courses each night and you could have as few or many as you wanted. The food was good and tasty and typical Mediterranean. There was always something good on BUT if you expect big slabs of meat, lobster or fish fillets and French fries with everything this is not the cruise for you! The wine was there waiting after the first night and the service was fine and not intrusive. We had a table for 8 with only 2 couples on it. We got on well and had a great time every night! We're not fans of set dinning but it worked out OK. We ate breakfast in the buffet which was the usual scrum and there was always plenty of choice..its served outside until about 11am....so you can sleep in if you want! The orange juice and coffee from the AI bar service are a lot better than the ones on the buffet. We lunched at the buffet or at open seating in the restaurant. The restaurant was quite slow at lunch time which suited us on the 2 occasions we used it. We didn't plan on any time off the ship apart from a trip to Pisa. It rained so hard we were both soaked but had a reasonable morning in the centre of Pisa The 2 pool areas were nice to sit around in the day and it was warm enough for a dip or two. The shows were OK, not fantastic but given the multiple languages used were not to bad. We like the casino and spent most evenings there. The are many bars with live music and dancing and the bar service was quick and good. There was no smoking anywhere other than outside on deck 4 or your balcony. Fine by us! All in all we had a good week at an excellent price! Its not top notch cruising but its very enjoyable if you don't expect an ott American experience. The best recommendation is we'd go again!   Read Less
Sail Date January 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 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
We had never cruised with Costa before and when my husband discovered he had 2 weeks holiday and Costa had some good deals we booked. My initial reservations were regarding the weather ie the Med in February but my husband thought that ... Read More
We had never cruised with Costa before and when my husband discovered he had 2 weeks holiday and Costa had some good deals we booked. My initial reservations were regarding the weather ie the Med in February but my husband thought that after the Concordia incident that Costa would be trying so hard to rebuild their reputation the weather wouldn't matter. How wrong was he! Our previous cruises were with Ocean Village and a Nile River Cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed all 3. Costa Pacifica was basically Butlins on Sea. Where all the children came from I don't know. I have never seen so many children in the one place out with a school playground. Toddlers still running around at midnight means selfish parents to me. The crew were either chatty and friendly or sullen, there was no in between. We pre booked the All Inclusive drinks package which was really worth it, you only needed to have 3 alcoholic drinks a day to make it worthwhile. What I didn't like was that the bottle of water left out in the cabin was not included and was classed as a mini bar purchase. Wine and water could only be by the glass in the package. We were charged over €2 plus 15% service charge for a kit kat from the mini bar because there wasn't one in the fridge and the cabin boy assumed we had taken it so added it to the bill after I had signed for the water. The 15% service charge was mandatory although some people said on other cruises you can have this waived if you say you would prefer to tip those who have given you good service. There was one night when the entertainment staff were dressed like characters from 'Thriller' and one of the ladies we met lost an earring due to one of them jumping on her from behind and, she assumes, getting said earring stuck in his wig. When she reported loss to customer services there was no apology and the member of staff said 'but you've still got one'. These earrings had cost over £100 and it took until the last night of the cruise for someone to give her a form authorising her to claim from Costa. One night after the show in the theatre it was announced that there was a suspected outbreak of measles amongst the crew and it took 48 hours, despite there being a visit from the health authority the next day, to remove these crew members and others they were in contact with from the ship. We were never told how much contact they may have had with the guests and if you weren't at the show at night you wouldn't have known about it. The prices charged for shuttle buses in port were ridiculous, especially in some instances whereby a few yards from where we docked you could get local transport for a fraction of the price if not free. Thank goodness we had nice people at our dinner table and who we ended up spending the evenings with or I don't think there would have been many positives at all. We've had better entertainment at the local bowling club. What were the positives? The cabin was a fine size but I did need the hangers I had taken with me, laundry charge was cheaper than I had worked out from the price list, all inclusive drinks package and although meal portions weren't big you could have 5 courses and were ample for me. We will never cruise with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date February 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 March 2014
This was our first tie taking a cruise aboard Costa, although we're not new to cruising. This was my tenth cruise having sailed with NCL, RCC Princess and Cunard previously. We chose this short 5 night cruise as it fell on the dates ... Read More
This was our first tie taking a cruise aboard Costa, although we're not new to cruising. This was my tenth cruise having sailed with NCL, RCC Princess and Cunard previously. We chose this short 5 night cruise as it fell on the dates we were looking at and was really very good value. It was departing Barcelona and took in Palma, Civitavecchia, La Spezia and disembarking in Savona. We weren't sure what to expect, but for the price thought we'd give it a try. We're a young couple 20s/30s, from the UK. Embarkation was dead and didn't take longer than 25 minutes. The safety drill was long and laborious - perhaps new measures in place after Concordia. English was spoken widely and the changing between languages on PA announcements was no more or less obvious than we'd experienced on other cruises around the Med on other lines. First off, the Pacifica is a good size ship for us - big with plenty of room and space on board. It is however, one ugly ship. From the outside it's fairly typical, but the inside is god-awful. Brash is probably the fairest I could come up with. The design inside is really terrible for such a young ship. It's verging on holiday-camp at times with a giddy mish-mash of style, colours and design that is really quite horrid. Perhaps I'm influenced by my last sailing which was in February this year onboard NCL Breakaway - yes it's brand new, but it's a different world inside. Modern, classy and a world away from the 70s yellow and orange tiled pool decks or the tacky oversized musical crotchets littering the atrium. After adjusting your eyes, you do get used to it and start to value the spaces on offer. Two great pool areas with fully closeable glass roofs - great for off-season Med sailing. One was adults-only and strictly enforced, which was welcome as the main pool area was an absolute zoo on the sea day. You couldn't see the pool water for kids dive-bombing and running wild. The dedicated kids-area was hardly used. Sun-loungers were plentiful on the open decks, although somewhat limited under the closed-in spaces. Our cabin, a standard balcony, was a good size with a good amount of storage. The bathroom seemed big, although with a grim shower curtain which didn't stop the bathroom being flooded each time. However, the space was usable and the balcony lovely in the sun, with plenty of room for two chairs and a small table. The decor was less frenetic but equally bad. Like a hospital room with an 80s mix of peach and lime greens for the walls and soft furnishings, coupled with light wood furniture. The strip flourescent lighting was noisy and not very welcoming. There was only one English-language tv channel (BBC World News) although this only lasted for the first 2 days. The other 20 or so were all Italian, Spanish or German. there were no free movies. The bed was comfy, our room steward lazy. In fact the first time I've ever experienced a bad room steward. He seemed to do the bare minimum, shelves were dusty when we moved in, as were the mirrors. Not enough to put you off, but noticeable all the same. Through our stay, the towels were often not replaced despite them being sopping wet from the bad bathroom design. In fact we hardly saw him, there was none of the usual hellos and informal chats and smiles one would normally expect. A bad egg in an otherwise good and enthusiastic Filipino crew. The food was generally good in the main restaurant, which was split between two venues and had set seating times with set table mates. The food was of good quality here and varied. Just as well, as there are no other options for dinner. The small for-fee restaurant 'Blue Moon' was fully booked for the duration of the cruise and is on an a la carte operation rather than cover charge. The buffet does not operate after 3pm! Yep, the only food option after the lunch-time buffet is the choice of a slice of pizza (normally Margherita and one other) and a very small salad bar. This is in operation until 9pm. After this, you can order pizza off a menu (normally a choice of three, depending on the day of the week), but that is it. It's MDR or pizza. Also, for an Italian line, the pizza is fairly disappointing. There is room service with a small menu of sandwiches and salads although you pay $2 delivery regardless off time of day. When we did use it, nothing we ordered came, it was completely different! but edible. The lunch buffet was ok, a reasonable choice, but usually the same thing every day. Breakfast was limited, with only a handful of hot options and the lines were huge every day, with most hot dishes running out within 2 minutes of it being brought out. We ended up sticking to cereal and pastries but the pool. This is a late ship. Everything happens well into the night (the second seating for dinner is 9pm). The majority of the ship still seemed to be up and about at midnight with many bars still buzzing at 2am. There's the usual nightclub, which didn't get going until 1am. We made the mistake of going in at around 11:30pm and the teen club was still on - playing a strip game... Not sure the parents of the 13 year old kids would have necessarily approved. The Ents team were there too, it was an organised event. Perhaps it's an Italian/Spanish thing - the vast majority of guests were from theses two countries. In the other lounges there were a variety of live music acts and dancing. The theatre was big and hosted the usual bland cruise ship shows with average singers and dancers and the obligatory magician. It was great family entertainment, but anyone over the age of 15 seemed fairly nonplussed. We'd been to many of the ports before, so just took the time to get off and stroll around before returning to the ship for a drink and lay by the pool, which takes me on to the best part of the cruise - the all-inclusive drinks package. An absolute bargain at 19euro a day (if you book it pre-departure, online) or you can sign up on the first or second day at 23.5Euro a day at any bar - both inclusive of service charge. This package includes pretty much all the drinks onboard including brand-name spirits, but not the higher-end ones. So, for example, Gordon's gin is included but not Bombay Sapphire. Cocktails, Prosecco, Asti, espresso coffees and house wine and beer were all included and unlimited. However, bottled water incurred a charge which was bizarre. We had a good, relaxing time, but missed some of the features on the American lines we've cruised before. There's very limited day time activities and certainly no climbing wall, mini golf etc which you might expect on a ship this size. We might cruise with Costa again, if the dates and price were right, but we wouldn't go running back.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
There have been mixed reviews for this cruise line so I was cautiously optimistic when we boarded. Staff: Let me first say that the staff was friendly and helpful. They would stop what they were doing and gave us their full attention. ... Read More
There have been mixed reviews for this cruise line so I was cautiously optimistic when we boarded. Staff: Let me first say that the staff was friendly and helpful. They would stop what they were doing and gave us their full attention. Rooms: We had a room with a veranda which was larger than I was expecting (having been on other ships)The room was very clean. Every time we left the room and came back, there were fresh towels. Drinks: We purchased the drink package which was very economical for our group. There was never a wait for the drinks, and they didn't skimp on the alcohol. Food: This was the only disappointment. Cruise lines boast about the dining experience. This was mediocre at best. The dining room was loud and busy and reminded me more of a cafeteria setting than a fine dining experience. I struggled to find items I wanted to eat and was left wanting something better. The gala dinner was also a disappointment compared to my Royal Caribbean experience. The best meal we had was on the upper deck. The buffet breakfast and lunch was so much better than the main dining room. This is now a non-smoking ship with a couple areas allocated for those that have to smoke. I have also read some reviews about how rude the Europeans were on the ship. As an American who lives in Europe, I might have a different perspective but I think there are rude people where ever you go. Do not let it ruin your experience. This is a great way to see some beautiful cities in Europe and soak up the culture. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
That is my biggest bit of advice to anyone considering a Costa Cruise......spend a bit more money on another cruise line and get better value for money. What was wrong with this cruise - I think it is quicker to say what was right with ... Read More
That is my biggest bit of advice to anyone considering a Costa Cruise......spend a bit more money on another cruise line and get better value for money. What was wrong with this cruise - I think it is quicker to say what was right with this cruise!!!! I'll start with the positive...the ship itself was great, the cabin great and the cabin steward great and that is where the greatness stops. From the moment we arrived at the cruise terminal in Venice the chaos started - embarkation took 3 hours!!!!! I would have thought from the number of reviews regarding Costa's embarkation process they would have sorted it by the time we cruised - obviously they do not read these reviews. So after 3 hours of sitting and waiting in the cruise terminal we finally boarded the boat, with no room key or room information - we entered onto Deck 3 and had no idea what to do or where to go. It was up to you to figure out what deck your cabin was on and where to find your cabin. Chaos reigned once again on Deck 3 as people congregated trying to figure out how to find their cabin. From here on in things just got worse - the service was shocking, the food was shocking, the crew were shocking (from the waiters, bartenders, shore excursion desk and information desk - the only person who understood what service was and knew how to smile was our cabin steward.) I did not have high expectations for this cruise due to the reviews I had read previously but unfortunately this was the only cruise available in the time frame we had. It didn't bother me that English was the 5th and last language on the boat, or that all entertainment was in Italian what bothered me was the lack of service at the restaurants and bars. Not once did a bartender/waiter approach us to ask if we wanted a drink - every time we were in a bar we had to approach one ourselves and then you felt like you were interfering with their routine. When at the bar itself you quickly learnt to be pushy and forward because if you waited for someone to notice you, you would have waited hours for a drink - the Europeans and the rudest people I have ever met - they don't understand the meaning of waiting for their turn to be served they just push in front and order over the top of you. The food was repetitive with what looked like left over buffet lunch dished up at the buffet dinner - with maybe a bit of leftover breakfast sausage added to it. We had an all inclusive drinks package and couldn't have the drink of our choice in the restaurant at dinner - wine or beer only, which contradicts what their advertising said about the package. After the second night they had no 7up available at dinner so in the end I would preorder 2-3 drinks and take them to dinner with me. When you order your coke or 7up you get 1/2 a can in a small glass - when we asked for a large glass to make use of the full can we were told the large glasses were for beer only.....so half the time you got a coke or 7up it was flat as the can has sat opened for god knows how long. The orange juice at breakfast on the first morning was really nice - everyday after that it was watered down so much it had no taste, the scrambled eggs at breakfast had no taste they were watered down so much and the custard dessert in the restaurant tasted just like the scrambled eggs. There were far too many passengers (3500+) for the size of the ship and not enough crew. The queues at lunch and breakfast were horrendous and when you finally had your food there were no seats available to sit anywhere and eat it. By the time you found somewhere to sit your food was cold. One day we queued for 40 mins to get lunch. We spoke to many people on board this cruise who said it was the worst cruise they had ever experienced and those that were cruising for the first time were put off for life. One more thing that was annoying was the number of children in the adult only pools.....what is the point of having adult only pools if no one is monitoring this rule. I could go on about the lack of service and the rudeness of the crew but even though they choose this kind of life, it is disgusting that they have to work 8mths solid without a day off. I would never ever recommend this cruise line to anyone.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
The ship is very clean, but nothing special decco wise, excellent staff, good stops in the main, artists in the lounges good, shows mixed but not bad. that ends the good points. Bad points are - no port info, at Livorno, no info regarding ... Read More
The ship is very clean, but nothing special decco wise, excellent staff, good stops in the main, artists in the lounges good, shows mixed but not bad. that ends the good points. Bad points are - no port info, at Livorno, no info regarding shuttle to the centre, on disembarking we found there was no shuttle, when enquiring on the dock we were met with a shrug. FOOD this is our worst experience in 19 cruises, indeed poorer than school dinners 50 years ago, evening meal in the dinning room consisted of 4 starters - 1 salad either 2 soups and 1 appetizer or 1 soup and 2 appetizers, 2 pasta's, main courses 1 meat, 1 fish and 1 veg dish, cheese and a choice of sweets, including ice cream which is the only time and place ice cream is available, all other cruises we have been on have also included a selection of dishes available every day !, on day 3 the fish course was sea bream which had the head and tail on, and not filleted which i didn't fancy so i asked if anything else was available, and was told beef, which wasn't recommended, thin and tough, or chicken, i picked chicken which was thin and tough, it was what is served at the hot dog station, came with french fries, no garnish, no tomatoe, no veg of any sort. Next night was Captains night, dress elegant. Evening meal 2 soups 1 of which was meat balls, 1 appetizer, Morrocan meat balls, meat course consisted of a dessert spoon of mashed potatoes 2 pork meat balls and tomatoe jus. Next evening mains consisted of i salmon which i'd had at lunch or lamb on white rice, the lamb was 6 small pieces on top of a mound of white rice, no jus, 1 st piece o k, 2 piece i took out of my mouth just gristle, 3 rd piece i managed to cut the gristle off, 4 th piece unable to cut, 5 th piece o k, 6 piece managed to cute the fat off.After this we decided to eat in the self service, something we had never done in previous cruises, Eat there a couple of times, and then found a menu started to appear outside the dinning room. One evening had rabbit on the menu, decided to try the dining room, expecting saddle of rabbit, or dear i small piece of potatoe, 3 rabbit bones, 1 st bone found approx 1 tea spoon of meat, 2 nd bone some vertebra with skin, no meat, 3 rd bone salvaged about a dessert spoon of meat, i can not ever remember a worst meal. We had a A I package, didn't really have any info what was on it, but on 2 nd night in the theatre i asked for a Gin and tonic ( Bombay ), which i was given, after the show we went into one of the lounges asked for the same, and was told it wasn't available on the all inclusive, i said but iv'e just had it, she said your card will not except it, check your card !, when your receipt arrives you can not see the price, just a place for your signature, your card is returned to you with you copy folded around the card with the price out of site, on checking i found i had been charged 9.8 euro's for the Bombay Gin & tonic. It was suggested i go to reception, which i did they said nothing they could do go to the theatre, i replied will there be anyone their - yes, no one at the theatre, but along comes the cruise director with another guy, explained the position, and was told he was the cruise director and didn't deal with bar issues but the bill was correct, accompanied by his finger waging in my face, i waged my finger back, and was told don't wag your finger at me !, i am the cruise director, at this the other guy asked him to step away while he called the bar manager , bar manager arrived, called the waiter, who said i asked for Bombay Gin ,which i had but i thought i should have been told it was not on the package, i was quite happy to pay the difference, but not the full wack, the whole time this cruise director trying to have his say, whilst waving his arms about, i just had to tell him to keep 2 yards away. Will i go back with Costa NO, Neo ships or any other Costa ships. By the way it is nothing to do with Italian Cruise lines, we already booked our 4th cruise with MSC, sailing in August 2014. hoppy5   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Our holiday was arranged as a rest bite holiday for my mother who is a carer and included my partner and I. The whole holiday was a disappointment from start to finish and it was not only our party that were unhappy about the cruise but ... Read More
Our holiday was arranged as a rest bite holiday for my mother who is a carer and included my partner and I. The whole holiday was a disappointment from start to finish and it was not only our party that were unhappy about the cruise but many others we spoke to experienced similar problems.My mother, my partner and I have been on numerous cruises. My mother over 37 in total and we have always been pleased with our holidays. My last cruise was on Island Escape and although the ship was old and tired and is not even listed as a proper cruise ship on many websites, the cruise was 100% better than this cruise! The poor experience began when we arrived at the port terminal in Venice to go aboard the ship. We were given a card number 15 and told to sit and wait for our number to be called. At no point did anyone tell us we could leave the terminal and return later so that we could visit Venice before disembarkation. 3 hours later with no refreshments that are normally offered, we were finally called to check in and I expressed my disappointment that we had had to sit and wait so long and had missed the opportunity to see Venice, one of the main reasons we chose this particular cruise. We were abruptly told that we should have gone to Venice and came back later and that if there was a problem we should have spoken to customer services in the terminal. We pointed out that we had no idea there was even such a complaints desk. I was deeply upset. We were sent on our way to embarkation but we avoided the tacky welcome on board photograph that was due next (and was holding up the queue) as we were fed up and grumpy at this point. We entered the ship and were not greeted or helped by any member of staff. We stood waiting until finally we stopped a crew member and asked how we get to our cabin. This was a new experience as normally crew members meet the passengers upon arrival and help them find their way along even offering them a soft drink somewhere along the way. We settled into our cabin. The cabin was clean and plenty big enough for 3 of us. Unfortunately, during our stay we noticed that the hairdryer had exposed wires on it that looked dangerous and there were light bulbs not working in the room. There was no hand soap in the bathroom and we had to ask for it as an extra. Shower gel was minimal and kept running out. We were often given 2 towels instead of 3. Often the cabin boy made lovely shapes and animals from the towels and placed them on the bed- unfortunately however, the towels used were dirty, wet towels and made the bedding damp. We could rarely get BBC news on our cabin TV which is usually available on other ships. I do not blame the cabin boy, I blame Costa as their staff seem to be overworked do not seem to be adequately trained. The cabin boy was always polite and helpful. We then made our way to the bar as we were very thirsty and needed a drink. The bar was very busy and did not have enough staff serving. Instantly, we noticed how unhappy and overworked the bar staff were. There were no smiles and we waited ages to be served. No please or thank you from the staff. We instantly felt unwelcome. The drinks were very expensive and had tax added on so we decided to buy an all inclusive package. From this point onwards, things got worse and worse. The queues at bars and in the buffet restaurant were always huge. There was not enough staff at the bars and not enough bar waiters. We could rarely get waiter service unless you wanted to buy Sangria or drinks that were at an additional cost, either in the bar areas or in the restaurants. Most of the staff were miserable and snappy, often rude! Hardly any of the staff smiled. We would repeatedly request coffee and juice at breakfast and never get served. Some staff would just tell us that they were working for other tables and walk off, others just slam their eyes at us. There was a complete lack of job satisfaction anywhere on the ship. The seating in the buffet restaurant was terrible, with no-where to sit. The buffet restaurant food was poor. We had to clear used plates and cutlery ourselves from dirty tables as there was not enough staff to cope. Food was cold and tasteless. We pointed out to the Maitre D at the buffet that the panacotta was like rubber and inedible- a speciality of Italy that I can personally make a better job of creating. The sausages, bacon and potatoes were cold and awash with oil. One day we chose hamburgers and we were astonished that the meat was raw and red in the middle! Only 2 choices of pizza at the buffet, on an Italian ship this is shocking! Food was always running out so there was limited choice. The buffet restaurant closing before 5pm each day until 7pm was outrageous as passengers who were returning from Costa excursions hungry and thirsty could not get food from anywhere. We were on the late dinner sitting at 9.15pm and to go from lunch until 7pm to get any food on a cruise is disgraceful! We could not even help ourselves to a cup of tea or coffee during the day as the dispensers were always closed up. In the waiter service restaurant, the food was equally awful. Salty, tasteless and over cooked or under cooked. The fish and meat was dry and chewy. The soup was like stew. Vegetables that were diced to an inch of their lives were cold and undercooked. Cheeses looked stale and the biscuits were non descript. The vegetarian lady on our table nearly cried with the lack of thought for her food and was horrified to taste her food had been cooked in fish tainted fat. We found it very, very difficult to get wine refills in this restaurant and I cannot believe that there was no coffee or tea offered at the end of the meal. This just would not happen on another cruise. Every night, all the guests on our table left nearly all the food from every course as it tasted so bad! The waiters looked embarrassed. Over the week it got worse and worse. We came back less heavy than before we left....a rare event on a cruise holiday unless you have had illness. During the week, I approached the Maitre D after a breakfast in the Smerelda restaurant. I politely explained that I would like to point out the problems we were experiencing in order that he can try and repair them. Instantly, he abruptly told me to see customer services if I had a problem. It felt like he was not interested. I reminded him that he was the Maitre D and that he was the person in charge of the restaurant to which he rolled his eyes, folded his arms and looked the other way. I told him he did not seem to be interested and at that point somebody must have dropped something as there was a crash in the kitchen. At the sound of the crash, he abruptly walked off without word or warning. I was amazed and shocked as there was plenty of other staff standing nearby who could have attended to the kitchen incident. It was obvious to me that he used the crash scenario to take himself away from our conversation. I immediately went to customer service and reported the Maitre D to them. I also said that we were not happy about paying the compulsory Hotel Service Charge at the end of the cruise as the service had been so poor. They sent the English representative to our table that evening to find out what had happened and to listen to our issues. I told her about the Maitre D incident and the problems we were experiencing and she said that Costa had reduced the staff to cut costs on the ship. She said that she was overwhelmed with other complaints from English speaking guests about similar issues. I told her we did not want to pay the service charge as the service was terrible. She agreed it was poor. The rep visited us a couple of times over the week and the Maitre D did give us a half hearted excuse with an apology about the kitchen incident. We continued to tell Louise how bad the service and food was. She listened to us but offered nothing. We complained to customer services at least twice but they seemed disinterested in the whole thing. On a more positive note, I would like to point out that that the show dancers and singers were excellent. They worked very hard and produced fantastic shows each time. Also, the excursions and were excellent and well organised. To add insult to injury, at the end of the holiday we were summoned to the theatre to sit through a disembarkation talk from the rep. There, she gave us information about luggage etc. During her speech, she told passengers that there was only one box to tick on the satisfaction questionnaire, namely ‘excellent’! She reinforced this many, many times suggesting there was no other choice. This was to the obvious disgust of the passengers seated in the theatre. We were now being told what to write on our comments form........priceless!!!! If you decide to go on this cruise ship do so at your own peril!!! I warn you it is absolutely terrible!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having booked our tour and cruise last year on the spur of the moment and only reading the reviews on this site a month or so before departing, I was not really looking forward to it. The complaints made by some people regards the food, ... Read More
Having booked our tour and cruise last year on the spur of the moment and only reading the reviews on this site a month or so before departing, I was not really looking forward to it. The complaints made by some people regards the food, the Italians, the staff. the ship. the disorganisation at embarkation etc. etc. had me dreading the whole thing! Well, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our weeks cruise and I realise a holiday is what you make it and of course it always helps when you meet like minded people and enjoy your fellow travellers company, which we did. Starting with the embarkation, it took us just over an hour from start to finish and our suitcases arrived at our cabin a couple of hours later just in time to dress for dinner. We were on a table of 10, with 4 other couples from our coach tour and it made dinner very pleasant, we all had tales to tell and it was lovely sharing our days experience. The dinner menu was so varied, you would have to be a very fussy eater indeed not to find something you liked from at least 4 courses! My husband is a bit of a traditionalist with food and he managed to put quite a bit away! The Italians at other meals, well yes they are very loud, grab everything, push in and waste a lot of food but we found we breakfasted early, had lunch late (after they had gorged themselves) and we avoided all the mayhem, so there are ways. Other reviews have stated that salad, pizza and burgers were the only thing on offer for lunch and tea but we had some lovely lunch meals, risotto, calzone, chicken, pork to name just a few and there were always rolls, bread and plenty of fillings if that is your preference. We paid for the drinks package and were very glad we did, it means you don't have to think about your bill at the end and although we are not big drinkers, I had my fill of all the cocktails on offer and enjoyed a latte instead of the coffee on tap, much nicer. Our cabin was just standard, adequate for us and Robin our steward was exceptional, each time we left he came in and tidied up (I could have brought him home with me!!) We always found a lounger on deck (even on the day at sea) and if you avoid the pool area you can find a relatively quiet spot. We found all the staff extremely friendly and helpful, plan to keep in touch with Mery from Peru the best drinks waiter on board! The shows were quite good, costumes and sets very professional, they last about 45 mins so ideal to fit into the evening. I wanted to post this and cover as many points as I could, just to reassure other people who may be about to cruise on Magica and perhaps be put off by other reviews. If you enjoy it half as much as us then you will have a good time. I wouldn't hesitate to go on another Costa cruise if the itinerary suited. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
FAMILY BAKGROUND This was a very special cruise for us. We went with our disabled daughter and her disabled husband and two grandchildren as a special treat for the whole family. We chose a cruise as we had three members of the party with ... Read More
FAMILY BAKGROUND This was a very special cruise for us. We went with our disabled daughter and her disabled husband and two grandchildren as a special treat for the whole family. We chose a cruise as we had three members of the party with dietary intolerances and with the limited mobility of two members it was an opportunity to see several interesting cities and countries in a short time and give our grandsons aged nine and thirteen a chance to sample other cultures. CHOICE OF CRUISE We chose Costa mainly on the ports of call and the low cost and the fact the cruise covered the spring bank holiday week. We read all the criticisms but were happy to be on a more relaxed ship with many different nationalities TRAVEL TO VENICE Organising the travelling ourselves was important to cater for the limited energy levels of our disabled passengers. We travelled to Gatwick airport on the first day from Dorset taking five hours and several stops to arrive. We then flew on a BA flight to Venice. Travelling with 2 disabled mobility scooters was fine and we got priority on boarding. The only down side was there was no gluten free food on short flight but we had bought our own snacks with us. We had a free shuttle transfer to the Best Western 'AirVenice' hotel (near Venice) and spent a restful night there with a great breakfast which had gluten free options. We can highly recommend this hotel for cruise stop-over. EMBARKATION The day of the cruise we took a taxi to Venice cruise terminal and had a very smooth embarkation, given priority because of our disabled passengers. The taxi was arranged by the hotel at a much lower rate than had been offered by other taxi companies we tried to book on-line from the UK.. CABINS We were on the 10th deck in two disabled and one inside cabin.There was a welcome pack for our gluten free passenger. All were spacious and well appointed. . The disabled cabins had special status so you could have breakfast or room service without extra charge. The only slight criticism was that the wardrobe space was quite small in the disabled cabins DINING Many aspects of the cruise very really good. The ships staff were friendly and helpful and catered for food intolerances very well. The food was fine. There was some repetition of spaghetti Bolognese and fried chicken fillets but that suited our lactose intolerant nine year old. The octopus stew was divine and all though we ate several courses the portions were small so we did not put on loads of weight. WATER INTO GOLD The one problem we found which we had not anticipated was the policy on non alcoholic drinks. I had read on various blogs that food and water were not allowed to brought onto the ship and that bottle water was costly. But reviewers had written that water coffee and tea were always available at the self service restaurant on deck nine and that tap water could be asked for in the restaurants. In fact there is a new policy this season and tap water is no longer offered in the restaurants so you are forced to purchase bottled water or go without a drink with meals. We sent £100 on bottled water on our 7 day cruise, a cost we had not budgeted for. Unlike other cruise lines there was no free coffee or tea at the end of the meal in the restaurant either. We were not able to eat in the self service buffet because of our food intolerances, so this policy discriminated against people with food allergy. When we complained to the English speaking Costa rep (despite her sympathetic response) she was unable to get this policy eased with the Hotel Manager and Catering Manager on the ship. The self service restaurant also closed the drinks stations down at various times so you had to hunt around to find one open. This is a very strange policy as we had free wine on Gala night and Italian night ( 5 out of 6 on our party were non drinkers) but were denied a glass of free water. We were on a limited budget so the cost of water meant we were not able to buy other soft drinks so the cruise company did not gain any extra income from us. This policy means we are unlikely to travel with Costa cruise line again. The difference in policy for the sit down restaurants and the self service restaurant appears difficult to justify and discriminates against people with serious dietary needs. Due to the medications taken by the disabled members of our party, their drinking water needs were higher than normal with one person needing two large bottles just during the night. We did not feel that Costa Cruises management were in any way empathetic to the problems faced by some disabled passengers in this regard. ACTIVITES There was less activities than other cruise lines. We did take part in a few quizzes but there were no lectures or film shows- I guess catering for so many languages on board made this difficult. However the ports of call took up most of the day and we were always busy. We particularly likes the free sauna and steam room on deck 11. They both had huge picture windows so you could watch the islands passing by as you had a good soak. The pools were very good and the children in particular enjoyed them and the giant slide. CHILDRENS CLUB Our 9 year old enjoyed the children's club and coped with the mixture of different nationalities taking part. They put a blue streak of face paint on his cheek to show he was an English speaker. The activities were varied and interesting for a 9 year old and he soon made friends with other children. ENTERTAINMENT Most of us were too tired to go to the shows but the children enjoyed the Shanghai acrobats and my husband and I saw a couple of the shows which were a very high standard. There was music in several of the bars but most of us were tucked up in bed by 10.30. We loved the Italian night when the waiters sang and danced and waltzed with the passengers. PORTSOF CALL/EXCURSIONS We chose this cruise because of the ports of call and we were not disappointed. With our special needs we did not use the costa excursions. In Athens we hired a stretch limo for 4 hours who took us right up to the entrance of the acropolis and was one third cheaper than the ship's tour. We got in the site for free and used the scary disabled lift up to the top of the acropolis. In Bari we used the ships shuttle nearly 9 euros each to go less than a kilometre, nearly £50 for six passengers!. We took the mini train tour around Bari for ten euros (Children 5 Euros), a big contrast to the Costa shuttle cost for just a few minutes ride. The mini-train tour lasted about 2 hours with an excellent guide. You do not stay on the train but get off at various locations to visit the individual sites like St Nicholas church, cathedral and Castle. In Katakolon we did not go to Olympia but spend a pleasant couple of hours in the local fishing village. Athens was one of the highlights followed by Izmir where we again took a taxi and visited the bazaar. The taxi driver acted as tour guide for no extra fee. It is quite different to have people with varied interests in the party and try to cater for everyone, but we all had a good time. In Dubrovnik there was another expensive Costa shuttle bus - no reduction for children. We loved walking round the town and saw some ladies and men in ethnic costumes singing and dancing in the main square. Our plane home was not until 11 pm so we had all day in Venice which was wonderful and exhausting, but far from easy with two disabled adults in wheelchairs. Public toilets were very difficult to find and not disabled friendly, not to mention the 1.5 Euro cost of a pee!. On holiday on our own, my husband and I usually rush round all the museums archaeological sites and palaces so it was quite refreshing to take things a bit slower and concentrate on one activity in each port. We learnt that everything takes a lot longer with disabled mobility scooters! STAFF AND SERVICE All the staff were very friendly and helpful and the service in the restaurant and elsewhere was very good. INFORMATION On the whole the information on the boat was less clear than on other cruise lines. The public toilets were not marked on the boat plan we received. We were not always sure what dress code we needed for any particular night. DISEMBARKATION This was very smooth. We got off the boat before the appointed time and found our cases easily. We had booked a large taxi to take us to the airport (the same company that the Best Western AirVenice hotel had arranged, and at the same lower cost) where we left our cases and then came back into Venice for the day. Taxis in general on the day were much cheaper than booking on line in advance from the UK and large taxis were available in most towns which could take our group and the mobility scooters. We had a Luggie scooter and a Mobie - both fold down quite small but were very useful on the holiday. HIDDEN COSTS Often the information on the cruise web sites is limited. When comparing companies the hidden costs need to be known and made clear. Costs like non alcoholic drinks, shuttle buses need to be known in advance. Our view is that the hidden costs on Costa Cruises are greater than we have experienced on other cruise lines we have used, including Cunard, P&O and Thompson. This especially applied when paying for six people on short Costa shuttle bus services (no children's discounts) and obtaining on-board drinking water. All in all a good holiday experience only marred by the higher than expected hidden costs and intractable on-board senior management that would not accommodate special needs. 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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
Reading previous reviews confirms that our terrible experience was not an isolated occur acne. Firstly, the English speaking hostess was totally useless and did not care about the passengers, just about promoting tours and what she thought ... Read More
Reading previous reviews confirms that our terrible experience was not an isolated occur acne. Firstly, the English speaking hostess was totally useless and did not care about the passengers, just about promoting tours and what she thought was her wonderful self. We boarded from Malta, knowing that it is one of the most beautiful harbours in the med. She chose the exact time of our leaving the port to have us in the muster stations doing a safety drill. When we suggested that next time she ought to organise it a little later so passengers could enjoy the harbour experience, she blamed legalities, which state these drills should be made within half an hour of leaving port, exactly Natalie, not whilst leaving port! Reception staff were always very abrupt and annoyed that you dared to bother them.i agree with previous reviews, food was not appetising, fish previously frozen and bland and fruit tasteless. Ship to overcrowded, staff too pushy to sell you tours and next cruise. I went for a message & reflexology session and came out more stressed having to repeatedly decline from buying products forced onto me by therapist. They even have therapists near the bar in the evening, accosting you and not letting you move on until you listen to beauty treatments they have on offer. Loud speakers going on in the corridors incessantly announcing excusions. If they put as much effort into ensuring that passengers were having a good time, it would have been a great cruise for all. The lift situation is ridiculous. My mother is unable to walk up stairs and when we had to go anywhere an extra 15 minutes had to be added on most occasions. The gym was overcrowded, never any clean towels in changing room, only 2 showers so a long wait or just give up and go to cabin. Pools overcrowded and noisy, never managed to get in. They have a wellness spa which looked more relaxed but all extortionately priced.   Read Less
Sail Date May 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 June 2014
A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a ... Read More
A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a "bonus" cruise (as we have a lot of travel plans this year) so we did this on a budget which for us, meant no suite, but instead a premium balcony. Being Costa Pearl members - we had no problem - We were very pleasantly surprised to have our table for two, late dining, aft Ceres Restaurant - ALL fulfilled! Great 5* start! Embarkation was the easiest ever. No big port - No queue - no lines, just sign here, photo and "on". We had a premium balcony which is just a regular "Carnival" style balcony. The cabin is showing its age - few cigarette burns on the carpet, and it really is obviously in need of an overhaul. The balcony - sorry to say, was filthy - the gutter in the balcony had long strands of black human hair - I didnt mention it first day, but after the next clean, when it was still there, I did call. The cabin steward was prob the biggest disappointment. he finally did clean the balcony - but it was "an effort". I requested face flannels a few times - he always told me "yes" - but they never ever did appear. He also missed the blue pool towels a few times - just little things which we had to call about - which when one happens after another - starts to grate on you - as I said, not the best steward we have had. It is the first time ever we have not given extra tips(above the standard gratuity) to our cabin steward. I am afraid to say he did nothing to warrant it. The toilet OMG - blocked daily - that did become a pain in the butt (literally) - to a point where one morning we were given a key to a spare cabin three decks below us - not nice - These cabins honestly are in need of dry dock... time for a full overhaul. The ship itself - actually, although gawdy, loud and totally OTT - I liked it! Its all Bling and has aged better than the cabins. It is a bit "1990s" - BUT - it does somehow have a much nicer feel to it than say the Magica. The staff - excellent - For a big ship - one can tell from embarkation that the staff are happy. Thats coming from the top down. Every area has its team, and each team seems to gel well and in general - lots of happy staff. THAT makes the Serena special - and to us, warrants its high rating. We met many staff on board whom we knew from previous cruises, one in particular, Peter, is lke our lucky mascot at Sea, For some weird reason, on every single of our last four cruises, different ships, embarkation day, Peter has always been the first waiter we have seen - bizarre - and wonderful!! FOOD: Buffett - dont even go there - its madness - just a battle of hands and feet and rude rude rude guests - seriously - I am appalled at the manners of these people - animals have more decorum. We settled for continental breakfast in our cabin (Gluten free pastries provided) - Lunch we chose to have in the Ceres Restaurant - I am Gluten Free and anyone with special diets will find the Ceres restaurant IS open daily for lunch - there is a section specifically for special diets. Gluten free choices are a HUGE plus for Costa - I just adore all the choices available for Gluten Free - 11/10 Costa! Dinner at night could run just a tad too late - even for we, who are late diners. However, first class service, table for two aft, what more could we ask for We chose to dine in the Club Bacco Restaurant twice this cruise and loved every moment. For a truly civilised dining experience away from the maddening crowd - at only 25 euro per person - this is well spent. The Club on Serena is magnificent - awesome views over the sea, and a live pianist entertaining throughout The Lobster Caesar was fantastic - The shrimps - just amazing - so fresh - succulent - and what is a simple meal is made into a feast. Favourite mains - the Veal and the Lamb - the lamb especially - perfection on the plate. Special thanks to Chef Lara - what a wonderful young lady who is passionate about her food. She is happy to stop by your table if you wish, and happy to have a gourmet chat. As food producers ourselves - we appreciated this gesture. Shows we dont do. Musicians - as ever Costa excel. I think our only regret on this cruise was the timing. It was already into Italian vacation time, and honestly - the only fault in the ship lay in the guests, some seriously rude and appallingly bad mannered guests. Oh and we were a bit pd off at the Ecig rule. We both stopped smoking two years ago, and use a zero nicotine shisha pen - It is the rule that these are used only in smoking areas - how awful to be made to be back in "lepers corne" once more - We did use our ecig - very discretely - and low key. We did however see smokers smoking in the NON SMOKING areas, and also some idiots throwing a LIT cigarette butt over the side in port waaaargghhhhhhhhhh Other appalling guests included babies in the jacuzzis in nappies (diapers) - We stayed out of the pools - lot of suspect cloudy "water" going on if you get my drift. We would sail the Serena again - but woulc choose a quieter off peak season - Surprisingly great though - BIG ship with staff with BIG HEARTS! Well done Costa! - You treated our loyalty beautifully, granted our wishes, and threw in some nice perks -incuding a lovely gift at the end of our cruise See you soon!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My husband I are 59 and 57 years old. We have been on 23 other cruises including a transatlantic on Costa Fortuna. This was by far the worst cruise we have ever been on. The buffet area was so crowded and understaffed that we had to bus ... Read More
My husband I are 59 and 57 years old. We have been on 23 other cruises including a transatlantic on Costa Fortuna. This was by far the worst cruise we have ever been on. The buffet area was so crowded and understaffed that we had to bus our own tables (when we were finally able to get one). The food was average on the best day and much worse usually. One of us had to sit at the table while the other went for food. One time my husband went for a cheeseburger (yes, it came to that). I waited for him so long that I was turning in my seat to look for him. Bad mistake, I was whacked in the head by a passing waiter's tray because the tables were so close together. When he finally came back after waiting 20 minutes or more, the cheeseburger was raw inside. We started eating all our meals in the dining room and things did not improve much. The maitre'de was not just unfriendly but rude. I can see the lack of space and insufficient service people made his job difficult but I have never seen anything like it. Because so many languages were spoken on board, at breakfast and lunch we were often left waiting until an English menu and English speaking server were found. Our waiter at night was friendly but the service was poor. I have never been on a cruise where we had to chase a server down for a salt shaker, butter, parmesan cheese and to correct a problem with a dish (this was one dinner).The dinner menu included five selections of appetizers and main courses. Three of those five were the same every night. Thanks goodness, my husband liked the repeats but I had some problem finding things I liked. Twice the hours in port were shortened from the advertised times. The carpeting a few cabins down from ours was wet and smelly for two days. The one English channel on TV went out for 4 days. There was an issue with the wine and water package (you won't get free water at dinner so you might want to buy one too). I did complain about the service, the maitre'de, and the bill issue with one very nice customer service rep and one not so nice one. We have always found so much more good than bad on all our other sailings. I have booked lots of other cruises on ships with bad reviews and been happy. This is one time I should have paid attention to the reviews and I hope you do too.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
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