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Sail Date: March 2015

We have just returned from the worst imaginable cruise possible. We expected to go on a cruise of Dubai and the Jewels of the Emirates. On arrival at the Costa reception desk in Dubai we were handed a letter stating that minor works ... Read More

We have just returned from the worst imaginable cruise possible. We expected to go on a cruise of Dubai and the Jewels of the Emirates. On arrival at the Costa reception desk in Dubai we were handed a letter stating that minor works were in progress on the ship with minimal disruption. What a farce. Much of the atriums on the 4th and 5th deck levels were cordoned off and also a major area at the side of the grand bar on deck 5. Major building works started from about 7.30 am throughout the day and into the early evening. The noise was horrendous with the noise of hammer drills, kango's, angle grinders and arc welders in continuous use. Our cabin was directly above major works on the 5th deck atrium. The continual noise coming up through the floor made it impossible to stay in our room at any time during the day. My wife suffered from headaches and a migraine and I had quite a few coughing bouts due to being asthmatic which made my condition far worse than normal. Also there was constant stenches from solvents and burning of metal caused by angle grinders. The builders and some staff were wearing protective dust masks at various times, but no consideration was given to any of the passengers. It was a relief when the cruise finished and we were heading back to the airport. This ship should have been taken out of service and put in dry dock to carry out the extent of the modification required.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015

Cruised the Dubai Emirates on 13/03/2015 Costa Serena

GOOD POINTS:

Lovely weather

Large clean ship

Entertainment group worked hard and shows were good

Most staff were really friendly.....but there ... Read More

Cruised the Dubai Emirates on 13/03/2015 Costa Serena

GOOD POINTS:

Lovely weather

Large clean ship

Entertainment group worked hard and shows were good

Most staff were really friendly.....but there were a few who were not (as if they could not be bothered to make an effort)

Had an inside cabin for two people which was a really good size (pleasantly surprised).

Went to the port at approx 5.30pm for embarkation and it was pretty straight forward.

Disembarkation was pretty straight forward as well.

If you drink it is advisable to take the drinks package (25 euros per person per day) Please see below for more info.

NOT SO GOOD POINTS:

Could not access cabin till 8pm on the first night of the cruise (I had read previous reviews which had highlighted this, so when booking our cruise we opted to fly out a day earlier and book into a hotel which gave us a late check out till 4pm. We could then make our way to the port at our leisure nice and fresh. Would advise doing this.

Food on the ship was not the best (you wont starve but it is not on comparison with NCL or ROYAL CARRIBEAN). I found that when it was a red meat dish, it was usually as tough as old leather.

Buffet selection was quiet repetitive.

Some drinks that were on the drinks package we purchased were not available (Tia Maria) and on another occasion they ran out of Drambuie and the only beer we could get on this package was Carlsberg on draft.

Free water and orange juice machines at the buffet stations. (orange juice was cheap nasty diluted stuff...glad I had the drinks package to be able to order other drinks)

Big water slide at the pool that never opened for the entire cruise.

No working ice cream machines that were advertised.

Some sort of refurbishment going on in the ship....did not really impact on the holiday.

TOP TIPS:

FOR 2 x people it cost us 470 euros in total for the drinks package and gratuities for the week long cruise which we paid on board.

Dubai currency is dirhams....Khasab and Muscat are omani rials but accept dirhams

Taxi from airport to hotel which was up at the Dubai Marina Jumeriah Beach area was 100 dirhams (approx £20)

Taxi from Port Rashid to Airport was 70 dirhams (approx £14)

If you take the drinks package remember they have some funny rules: ie

If you ask for an irish coffee they say that it is not included in the package and you have to pay extra for it, but if you ask for a coffee with a whiskey on the side and mix it yourself ..well that is ok and included in the package ???? Bit weird. Few things like that.

Majority of the holiday makers were European (Italian, French, German, Spanish...very small percentage were Scottish/Irish/Welsh/English).

On the whole had a good time would go back on this ship if the price was right.....nice bit of winter sunshine.

 

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Sail Date: March 2015

Having read some of the previous comments we went on this cruise expecting the worst, however things turned out much much better than expected & our advice to anybody due to travel is go with an open mind & enjoy yourselves, ... Read More

Having read some of the previous comments we went on this cruise expecting the worst, however things turned out much much better than expected & our advice to anybody due to travel is go with an open mind & enjoy yourselves, also if you enjoy the odd tipple make sure you sign up for the all inclusive drinks package as its got to be one of the best at 25.5 euros p/p p/day of any cruise line.

Food on on board is a bit limited & chaotic during the buffet feeding times but the evening dining was excellent & made all the better by the waiting staff & our fellow diners ( Roy,Lorraine, Stewart & Lorraine). The ship is kept spotless as the staff are always busy cleaning though the Greek decor is a bit gaudy & dark. George our cabin steward done a great job & nothing was too much trouble for him. Entertainment was a bit hit & miss as we never got to see some of the shows however the the team do a great job in the Luna bar later on & on a couple of nights we had a great laugh watching the Italian compare playing games with some of the guests. Ports & Tours, we made our own way in each port & found a free shuttle bus in each though this wasn't always made known, the shops & tower blocks are a bit too much at times & our fav bit was hiring a couple of bikes in Abu Dhabi and riding the full length (8k) along the Corniche next to the deserted beaches. Disembarking was easy with taxi's on the key side that cost about 60 dirham = £12 to the airport but beware the drivers think they are all F1 racers. In summary we had a great time for what we paid & wouldn't hesitate to travel on Costa again.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015

We arrived early hours into Dubai in the early hours of the morning, and got a taxi to the ship – approx. £12. So Easy.

Check in for the ship was really smooth and quick. A representative at the terminal greeted us, ... Read More

We arrived early hours into Dubai in the early hours of the morning, and got a taxi to the ship – approx. £12. So Easy.

Check in for the ship was really smooth and quick. A representative at the terminal greeted us, asked us to take a seat and helped us fill in our embarkation forms. He took our labels and put them on the cases, these were then taking from us and appeared outside our cabin shortly after. After a quick embarkation photograph we boarded. They kept our passports and advised these would be available for collection in Abu Dhabi. Our Key cards were in our cabin waiting for us.

We were advised that they had kept the buffet open until 5am for guests arriving through the night. Check in at been open from approx. 3pm the previous day – and closed at 8am for a 10.30am sailing. We had chosen to arrive later due to our holiday restrictions. The food was just snacks, burgers/sandwichs/pizza which was fine, we had eaten all day anyway this was possibly just a combination of curiosity and greed.

I am a massive Celebrity Cruises fan so I was apprehensive about my soon to be Costa Experience. When we went to the restaurant, I noticed the décor was very ‘bold’ and ‘Italian’. Being tired, I withheld any judgement until the following morning. I never feel like you make a correct assumption about a place when you arrive in the early hours…. Tired and ready for bed.

We opted for the Inside Premium Cabin on Deck 7 – more so because I like to choose our dining times, we prefer late sitting. Also, this was an extra holiday that we squeezed in so we were budgeting. I haven’t done an Inside cabin before – again apprehensive. Although, we were tired first impressions exceeded my expectations. The cabin was spacious, the bed was huge and comfortable and superclean. I would say dated, but I am spoiled by the likes of Celebrity. I was more than happy with our selection and my husband felt the same. We climbed into bed and drifted off. Wondering what the Costa Serena held for us… We didn’t know it at the time… we were in for a treat.

Despite our assumptions of the Inside cabin (we like an oceanview normally) being dark and claustrophobic, with no natural light, we found we woke up easily after a great nights sleep in such a comfortable bed and it was completely the opposite of what we thought it would be. Now time to explore. We grabbed our towels and headed out.

Personally, I find the first day of the cruise, when everyone is doing the same rather tedious. We went for breakfast and it was so busy. I did the usual ‘have we done the right thing?’ quietly to myself. Breakfast was great, no complaints, other than it was so busy with other guests. As I have cruised before I know that the first day is so busy – everyone is on ship so it’s expected. I was already starting to see the excellent levels of service from the staff.

We headed outside to find a sunbed, again when everyone is on-board doing the same thing it can prove to be difficult – however, we did find two in a nice spot. We always got a bed no problem for the rest of the cruise. There were towels provided for pool use, these are in your cabin. They try to deter sunbed reserving by charging if towels are mot returned to the cabin.

We were approached (almost immediately) by a lovely member of the bar service team who took our order. In no time at all we were relaxed, drink in hand and got out our ‘whats on today’ (or whatever you like to call it) and were scanning through the delights on offer. There was so much, it soon came apparent that we were NEVER going to be bored.

We aren’t ones for joining in with the entertainment but we love people watching. I tend to find us Brits are quite reserved, but with our fellow international passengers on-board – there is ever a dull moment. The entertainment team work so hard to keep everyone happy. The ship had a buzz, and by the end of our first drink… we did too.

We had purchased the drinks package for £144pp, the drinks were around 5 euros for a beer and little bit more for cocktails so I would highly recommend the packages even if you don’t drink alcohol. Water was by the glass on the package, but you could buy bottled water for a very small charge. I was happy with the quality of the drinks and the service was impeccable. We rarely waited for the service to our beds or at the bar areas.

The décor is quite unusual. Costa Serena ‘Land of the Gods’ is how it sounds – lots of pictures of gods and goddesses everywhere. The atrium has these ‘gods’ looking down on you, we had a bit of a laugh about it initially but actually it’s not as offensive on the eyes as it sounds. It is very clean and there is lots going on. It actually reminded us of a themed hotel in Las Vegas, and we loved Vegas.

We had a great first day relaxing into our first Costa Experience and met some lovely people.

Evening Meal

We had requested the late sitting for evening meal. We were allocated 9pm in the Vesta restaurant Aft of the ship. We were on the upper tier and had a table for two.. surprisingly. I am not sure if this is due to the different languages on-board and mixing the tables up may have been a problem with conversing, but we were really happy. Our waiter introduced himself and his ‘second in command’ and we felt spoiled rotten with the service. My wine and water were constantly topped up. They do only serve beer and wine in the restaurant so if you prefer something from the bar, then you would need to take this in with you.

I must say the wine wasn’t the best, My husband said he would never of guessed as I still had three glasses topped up – his point being it can’t have been that bad. We had to laugh again when I asked for a wine list and our waiter said in the friendliest way ever ‘I tell you the wine list… white, red or rose!!!!!’ and giggled his head off. Unless you have purchased a wine package this seems to be the only options, I actually didn’t mind it too much, it certainly didn’t ruin the dining experience.

The menu was six courses each evening, on the first night we ordered just three however, spent the rest of the holiday taking five. The portions were small but really tasty. If you have holidayed in Italy then the food standards were very similar. I didn’t have a bad meal once on the cruise. Typically the menu offered a selection of each course, For example I chose:

FISH BROTH

SEAFOOD RAVILOI

SALAD SELECTION

CRUSTED HAKE WIH VEGETABLES

CHEESE SELECTION (don’t get over excited about this, it was bruschetta with 3 pieces of cheese and a chutney of some kind)

TIRAMASU

They tended to have fish/meat/vegetarian options each evening and they also offered 2 simple choices which were the same every evening ‘chicken and veg’ or ‘spaghetti bolognese’.

We met a lady on the cruise who was in the Ceres restaurant and she was lactose intolerant, she told us that every evening they highlight the menu what she could have or made her special alternatives. As with all cruises if you have any requests, you just have to ask. Nothing is too much trouble I have found.

The service was fantastic in the restaurant and when we talked to people they said the same.

Gala Evening - The main differences from other evenings were the menu was a scroll which the waiters opened for you, and you got a complimentary glass of fizz after your meal.

Now something I have never experienced on a cruise, but had been told about by one of my colleagues before we travelled, was the little surprises which Costa likes to deliver when you don’t expect it. I don’t want to spoil it but let’s just say our waiters served us up more than just great food and attention in the restaurant.

Dress Code

Dress code is suggested on this cruise but not enforced. I personally like to dress for my evening meal. I tend to wear a dress most evening and cocktail dress for gala nights, my husband wore a dark suit for gala nights and trousers/chinos with a nice polo shirt or shirt on normal nights. If you don’t like to dress up then smart casual was fine. I sometimes thought the attire was too casual, one lady had hotpants, heels and a vest top – whilst she looked stunning, I think this has more to do with the difference in fashion from the different nationalities but I always felt comfortable in my choice.

Bars/Lounges/Entertainment

There are an abundance of meetings places and ongoing entertainment on-board Costa. Most nights we had a pre dinner drink in Apollo and watched the live music and guests dancing. After dinner we looked at what was going on and made our way to the bar which most appealed.

Shows – we were dining at 9pm so the shows were on for us at 7pm. Part of our holiday tends to be coming in after our excursions/day in Port reflecting on what we had done and having a cocktail to unwind and get ready at leisure. We missed the main show every night but made the effort to attend the ‘non-professional’ show one night as it was on slightly later. For a non professional show, of which Costa had handpicked some hidden talent from them service team, I have to say that I was moved to tears a couple of times due to the quality of the singers that Costa had produced, which took me by surprise. The show was fantastic – I have never seen such a high level of talent on any cruise and I have to say it rivalled some professional artists I have seen. Just ‘WOW’. The times of the shows just didn’t suit us but it didn’t ruin our overall holiday enjoyment, there were so many alternatives that fitted in with the way we holiday, that we didn’t know what we were missing… we were having too much of a good time.

Every evening we walked through the Chocolate Bar which was always busy – it had live music and a chocolate fountain/chocolate shop and bar. We didn’t sample it because we always seemed to go through it on the way to dinner, but it looked so fun and people seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We did go to the nightclub a couple of times for a bit of a dance, as we had met some people. The main difference I found with Costa compared with other Cruise Lines was it kept going into the early hours, without imposing on other guests who don’t want the noise or want an early night. I tend to find that other cruises seem to slow down to stop around midnight.

White Party – They converted the main pool areas into an open air party over 3 levels. This was absolutely bouncing. White attire is optional but many people took part and it looked great. They fired off white confetti cannon’s and I felt it could rival a party in Ibiza. Infact a couple of people we met did actually say ‘ I feel like I am in Ibiza’, I was really impressed. There were all ages enjoying it. Again, I feel the international clientele we shared our cruise with played a big party in the fun atmosphere on board. They had a large screen which showed the guests dancing and also the ice sculpted reruns which we had missed. It certainly was a party atmosphere. Everyone seemed to be having so much fun. The entertainment team mingled with the crowds and professional dancers strutted their stuff. There were other things going on elsewhere on the ship, but we soaked up the party atmosphere.

Would I choose Costa Again?

Overall, knowing what we paid for this cruise - the quality of holiday we got for our money was fantastic. Everything was as advertised, and mostly exceeded our expectations. This was a fun and value for money cruise, with service we could not fault.

I find the negative reviews I read on Cruise Critic unfair, I think my husband took them almost personally.

I would without doubt choose Costa again.

 

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Sail Date: February 2015
1. We had an over night flight to Dubai and arrived to the Port Rashid at 12.00, the reception asked us to whait another 3 hours till 15.00 to let us in to the ship, so we forst to sleap at ports metal bench as homless!!! Is this is how ... Read More
1. We had an over night flight to Dubai and arrived to the Port Rashid at 12.00, the reception asked us to whait another 3 hours till 15.00 to let us in to the ship, so we forst to sleap at ports metal bench as homless!!! Is this is how you treat you costumers??? After 3 hours, they let us in to the ship and informed that now we can have food at the buffet and wait till 20.00 for our rooms to be ready!!!!! I have been working in Hospitality industry for 15 years and I have never seen so poor service!!! You have wasted all our day! Insted of few our of sleep at the cabin and going to explore Dubai we have been trapped in the all day waiting! I have told that Im not happy to reception but they say that We need to wait and nothing they can do!! Just ignored us. 2. The food at he buffet was cold and disgusting..I have reported to the reception,but they said that is only today because they are very busy and promised that they will improve.. and guess what it didn't ! all the cruise the food level was not like hotel standart but school canteen! For example: Breakfast- bacon every morning was burned down and swim in the oil (restaurant and buffet) at the restaurant they put small plates of meat, after 5 sec, nothing left and when you need to wait another 15min to be replaced and after 5sec gone..Im wasting my time of waiting. Lunch- long queues, most of the food is cold and swim in oil, the desserts are all warm as should be cold. Dinner is the same story...cold main courses, zero presentation,the bread rolls was hard as stone (probably from the morning) warm dessert and should be cold..I have tommato soup wich was probably from the tin and warmed up...The level of food below zero! I have told to the restaurant supervisor about that and he said that he know that problem and he said that they receive a lot of complaints about food. I have few compaints from the crew that they work long hours and for the overtime nobody pays! Italian crew members got longer breaks then the other countries crew got much less!! The time managment it's realy bad as well, for example: when we come for brekfast to the restaurant 10 membars of crew showing to us where to sit (most of the crew I have seen last night working) do you really need them??? Why you using fabrick napkins for breakfast and lunch?? I guess that you want to show 5* hotel standarts, but with school canteen food it looks terible..You waisting laundry and waiters time!! Free tip for you. I would really think about your Head chef's abilitty to work this job. 3. Entertainment was really poor, the dancers looked tired and wasn't sure that they dancing, the singers didn't have great voices. I love entertainment, but this one was like 12 years old school performance. 4. I come to complain to reception on Wed about all that and I said I dont wanna be charged for the service and the guy said that is inposble because it's part of contract, he wasn't helpfull so I have asked to speak with manager, but manager wasn't where. So I come back next day and spoke with supervisor, she took litle paper peace wrighted few word and said that she will get back to me. So at the evening we received the bill with charge of service. On friday finaly I have spoke with reception manager and I told her once again that how can I pay that charge when I haven't receive service that is suppost to be!!!?? She said that sorry to hear that and said to contact you!!! Do you pay tips for bad service? Your company represents Arab Emirates and Oman countries, Do you think they would be happy to hear how your company representing they country? Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into ... Read More
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into pieces on the stage by the Italian magician ! Portrait photos were very good quality and prices have been reduced from our last cruise with Costa 3 years ago. My daughter enjoyed kinds club, I used spa, which was a bit overpriced and the state of the art gym. I wish we purchased cruise and stay as 1,5 days were not enough to explore Dubai. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into ... Read More
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into pieces on the stage by the Italian magician ! Portrait photos were very good quality and prices have been reduced from our last cruise with Costa 3 years ago. My daughter enjoyed kinds club, I used spa, which was a bit overpriced and the state of the art gym. I wish we purchased cruise and stay as 1,5 days were not enough to explore Dubai. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
The worst Cruise Ship I have ever experienced and will never trust this Company again. My Cabin was 2412. Fine in itself but nobody should have to endure the level of noise that I experienced coming from Deck 3 above which was obviously ... Read More
The worst Cruise Ship I have ever experienced and will never trust this Company again. My Cabin was 2412. Fine in itself but nobody should have to endure the level of noise that I experienced coming from Deck 3 above which was obviously the Restaurant/Galley clearing up after the 2nd dining sitting. The noise I had to endure was those responsible for clearing up seemed to be dragging containers/bins across a steel floor from 11pm until 2pm and then starting again at 5am for the breakfast sitting. When complaining to Reception nothing was done. No complaint forms available on board and the Reception Staff need retraining in Customer Relations. We pay your wages!!! The Air conditioning in this Cabin somehow contained cigarette smoke. Costa cruises have been given ample time to address these issues but they have not bothered or are simply not interested. They say the matter was logged which is unacceptable. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
You have to expect to get a discounted ship if you pay a discounted price - we except that.... but does that really mean that you should expect poor customer service and worse of all dirty pillows and bedding. We paid £850 each for ... Read More
You have to expect to get a discounted ship if you pay a discounted price - we except that.... but does that really mean that you should expect poor customer service and worse of all dirty pillows and bedding. We paid £850 each for our cruise around the UAE's (including flights)... The embarkation process, on land, was OK - aboard ship was caotic. No body new what to do where to go... and the que at the Customer Service/information desk was insane... then, when you got to the front you were met with a grumpy faces of 4 women who didn't care how they spoke to you and didn't think it was their job to help you... The ports of call were all great - no complaints there. The entertainment on the ship was OK.. nothing spectacular but it wasn't awful. The sunbeds were awful... so dirty with an smell that wasn't pleasent, and I'm not talking about one or two of them.... but most of them.. but the worse thing for me was the bedding. Check it when you go into your cabin - which again is basic but OK. We had badly stained pillows with huge brown marks, blood (or what we assumed was blood). they were disgusting - and the mattress was the same. Unfortunately we didn't do this until disembarking.... when we were leaving the cabin I thought I'd help by stripping the bed.... shocked at what we saw. We're written and complained to Costa who have basically said 'oh well, never mind' and when I said that this wasn't acceptable they have just ignorned my emails. Shocking service - really is. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015

I don't often review holidays but to be honest this WAS AN ABSOLUTE DISASTER. Do not use Costa if you want a relaxing time. The food is POOR. The breakfast was a 'Fight' to get food and even then there was NO Orange Juice! Only One of ... Read More

I don't often review holidays but to be honest this WAS AN ABSOLUTE DISASTER. Do not use Costa if you want a relaxing time. The food is POOR. The breakfast was a 'Fight' to get food and even then there was NO Orange Juice! Only One of the FOUR Orange Juice Machines was filled and ready for use. When you are All Inclusive and you are a family, everytime you want a drink for the family you have to hand in your ALL Inclusive card, to explain you CANNOT get three drinks for three people on the ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGE, you will need ALL three cards! The service is VERY POOR! I put this down to the staff NOT receiving any of the tips that you MUST leave. To explain you are 'Forced' to pay EUROS 35, in our case which DOES not go to the staff but to Costa, no wonder the service is very poor! If you go for a la carte lunch menu and you just want a starter and a main course you will have to wait for everyone else at your table to finish because they ONLY serve the time in order of the menu. It took us 50 mins to have a starter and a main course because we were made to wait for the other guests finishing there other courses!! We as a family made the staff aware of these 'issues' and yet NOTHING was done. No-one Cared! They just want your Money! It was so bad we left the ship EARLY! Good Luck you have been warned!

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