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4 Costa Serena Family Cruise Reviews

Where do I start? After reading many terrible reviews of the Costa Serena after I had booked this cruise I should've learnt my lesson & cancelled it! Several times I tried to contact Costa by email prior to departing with some ... Read More
Where do I start? After reading many terrible reviews of the Costa Serena after I had booked this cruise I should've learnt my lesson & cancelled it! Several times I tried to contact Costa by email prior to departing with some requests but to no avail, they don't seem to acknowledge any sort of email enquiry. So why was I suprised that when I tried to call them they didn't answer the phone either? To my better judgement we decided to go ahead with the cruise, as we particularly wanted to see this side of the world & with only Costa available to this area we had no choice. We spent 3 wonderful days in Dubai staying in a lovely hotel before boarding the Costa Serena. (Wish we had stayed in Dubai now!) we wanted to board the ship during the day but all the information we had told us we could only board after 8pm. What utter rubbish!! We decided to go to the port early & try to get on board. Evidently people had been boarding since about 1pm, we got there about 4pm. My first impression was at the port, there was one girl doing the check in with a face like a fish and no courtesy what so ever. On other ships we had to leave a deposit on either on a card or cash, nothing was requested here? On arrival into the main atrium I found it dowdy and gloomy with not much light. The decor was appalling!! Then I noticed what sounded like drilling and chipping noises, LOUD!! When I looked up on the next deck there were maintenance men working on what would've been the shops? I just assumed that perhaps it was something they done when in port? How wrong was I, the work was continuous the whole duration of our cruise. The noise limits were endless. You couldn't sit to relax with a drink you couldn't hear the music being played for the horrendous sounds coming from the workforce above. We then ventured to other parts of the ship to find some areas divided where some areas were not accessible, workmen were walking around the ship carrying huge boards of plasterboards over guests heads?? What have we come to I asked myself?? As our cabin was not available until 8pm & we couldn't access our bags as all the doors to the cabins on each deck were not only shut but locked?? We had no choice but to arrive in the dining for our evening meal in the clothes we had travelled in.lucky for us we had a table of 6 & we were all English ( not many on board) the waiters were very attentive but we did seem to wait a while between each course. The choice was not very large (compared to other cruise ships) & the food was not very variable and tasteless. We were on the all inclusive drinks package & it was worth every penny as the drinks on board were expensive. Only trouble was you were not allowed a bottle of water it had to be a glass! The dining room was fine for the evening meal we ate in Vesta restaurant, but forget having breakfast or lunch there, it was a nightmare! We went twice to each then forgot it. The service was appalling & so was the food. Once I waited 20 minutes for a coffee?? So we went to the self service restaurant on deck 9. Although it was the same choice every day, breakfast was continental, cereals, fruit, pastries,anything that was suppose to be hot clearly was not & the waiters made no attempt to clear the tables until you walked away & had finished. At lunchtime there was pasta, carvery, salad, bread, soup & desserts of fruit, cakes of some description. It was not horrendous but the only trouble is after getting your food there were no tables available so by the time you found a table your food was cold!! The bar staff that continually parade around the restaurant conveniently chose to ignore the British guests unless you were lucky enough to grab one & ask them to serve you. The entertainment team were very amateurish & the shows were the worst I've ever witnessed. The first was a magician, we walked out half way through it was unbelievable! Most of the staff had a couldn't give a damn attitude & it became very stressful! The noise & dust from the continuous Maintenance going on around the ship really ruined our cruise along with the attitude of the staff, the dim gloomy cabins and dreadful decor on board, together with the awful entertainment and plain unimaginable food made this our worst cruise ever! The jacuzzi turned my new swimsuit brown (far too much chlorine in the water) when I complained to the guests services they were not interested & told me to claim on my insurance?! After a lengthy argument with them I demanded to see the Captain, who obviously doesn't deal with such trivialities!! I was told it will be dealt with & a letter will be with you within a few hours with a decision as to what can be done. After 8 hours I had heard nothing so returning to see them I demanded to see someone of higher authority. When speaking to her I was told nothing can be done on board & it has to be dealt with when I get home. With my previous experience of trying to contact Costa I don't hold out much hope?? There attitude was unbelievable & they really couldn't care less. The queue was so long when we had finished our meeting with her & everyone was complaining about one thing or another. There were several pools on board, we decided to use the "Adult Pool" at the Aft of the ship on deck 9. Unfortunately though this was not adhered to as plenty of European kids decided they would use it "bomb" every guest using it! The pool attendant asked them to use but as in the case of many situations they decided to ignore it!! The pool slide was out of action the whole duration due to maintenance but actually no work was seen to be done? The 4D Cinema was not in English & had no sound!!! Unfortunately for everyone on board on Thursday we experienced a sandstorm which meant that we couldn't really get off the ship back in Dubai. This meant it was another day we had to endure the ship! There was no additional entertainment to enjoy and soon the ship became very full with lots of disgruntled guests hanging around. im not convinced that the ports of call in Oman were of any interest, in particular Khasab! We thought as many guests did that they should forget Khasab and have 2 days in Abu Dhabi where there was so much more to see & do & not enough time for only having 1 day. Probably though knowing all the savings Costa was trying to make this was just another? So to sum it all up, would I do another Costa cruise? NO WAY NOT IF THEY PAID ME!!! Someone recently wrote saying this was the Ryanair of cruise ships, this is an understatement!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Now where do I start.  Having done dozens of cruises with the likes of Princess,  P&O, NCL, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean I have learnt that apart from small differences in presentation,  the typical fair of different ships and ... Read More
Now where do I start.  Having done dozens of cruises with the likes of Princess,  P&O, NCL, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean I have learnt that apart from small differences in presentation,  the typical fair of different ships and lines is pretty much the same.  Happy friendly crew,  excellent food from the buffet from breakfast to last thing at night,  pool side burger bars,  elegant dining rooms with silver service with the best food available,  specialty restaurants, lots of great bars,  to show and entertainment everywhere. This is NOT what you get on COSTA!!! Having just returned from a weeks cruise on the Costa Serena I can honestly say it has been the worst cruise I have ever been on (after completing 15). Ok the ship is clean and much to the best efforts of the staff (who look shattered due to the long long shirfts Costa make them work), things just don't flow like a good cruise should.  I'll go through the points that will show how poor Costa now is:  *Grumpy shattered staff - Talk to staff on any ship you understand how they work for lengthy contracts without any days off, but at least they get decent down time and breaks, the odd half day and rewarded for service by tips and staff competitions. On Costa staff have two shifts and one being 11 hours long and they even get diddled out of their automatic tips by the company. Even with their best efforts you can understand why they are how they are.  *Closed, closed, closed - If you like taking your watch off when on holiday and eating/drinking at your leisure forget Costa.  During the day the buffet is your main option,  but only for short time slots for the serving of hot food. Open for breakfast, 1030 closed. Then open at lunchtime, but be quick as two hours later is closed again,  and the Dessert will always be fruit salad! They do rolls around 4ish, but again they are not great. Other than that, the buffet is closed. No evening meal option. The poolside burger bar, only open for an hour or so at lunchtime,  but don't worry, as you wouldn't eat from here anyway with its grey meat.  The beef and chicken burgers look and taste the same. The best description being cheap meat.  *Food - The food on board is limited, after the cheap bland delights of the day time buffet,  you have the option of your evening meal in the main restaurant.  Poor service,  no banter with the waiters as they have too many tables to serve, and the food.... Bland bland bland.Specialty restaurants (where you have to pay extra) consist of pizza, the same that was free during the day,  or an Italian. No snack bar,  no cafe in the atrium, but there is room service,  if you pay.  *Drinks packages - The all inclusive package should be called the 'some included' drinks package. It costs the same as other lines but virtually everything is excluded from the deal.  *Water - Costa will serve you alcohol all day and all night,  but you can only get a glass of water if you pay.  Even with your dinner no iced water.  And just to make sure they can get some more money out of you, they turn the water fountains off in the buffet when it closes after lunch. Captains drink reception - Nope there wasn't one. Bridge updates - No announcements from the captain giving you an update on your voyage.  *"Just for Crew" "Just for Crew" - Crew safety drills being piped in full volume lasting for hours into passenger cabins. *TV - Cabin TV film channels not operating,  instead showing safety drills on loop. *The ship - It is clean,  very clean.  But good is it ghastly.  It's decor looks like the inside odd a sea-side amusement arcade with dark blue walls and ceilings broken up by red or blue lightsvand neon coloured tin metal strips. In the atrium they have these strange mannequins bolted to the ceiling. Apart from that,  it's not too bad.  So much potential just poorly run.  *Other customers - It would be rude of me to count this against Costa, but the majority of customers are rude,  they just push in everywhere.  The only people queuing will be the brits. *Entertainment - there was certainly plenty of singers and bands on board,  but after a day or two you got this de ja vu feeling as the next repeated the same sets night after night.  It wasn't all bad, but so much was it did takeaway from the glamour of cruising.  The best advice I would give to anyone thinking of going on a Costa cruise would be to go onto another cruise line.  Read Less
Sail Date March 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
Worst cruise ever!!! I have been on over 20 cruises, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival and Premier (got to be old to remember that one). I booked the Costa Serena for 8 of us, 2 families with adult children, mostly due to the ... Read More
Worst cruise ever!!! I have been on over 20 cruises, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival and Premier (got to be old to remember that one). I booked the Costa Serena for 8 of us, 2 families with adult children, mostly due to the itinerary. We embarked in Civitavecchia, Italy (Rome). Most people had embarked in Savona, so embarkation was very quick. Strange thing, they insisted on taking our passports stating that Italian Customs required they keep them in a safe. The passports would be reviewed by authorities prior to disembarkation and returned to us. What if we had an issue in port?? Also in the past 2 years I was on a cruise from Venice and another from Stockholm and was able to keep my passport. Muster drill was done in English for the few of us English speaking guests onboard. We met in a lounge then up to life boats. Paul, the English speaking host was very informative and stated that the ship would sail at only 50% capacity for this week. Wow, things don't look good for Costa. Considering the low occupancy rate, I thought it was funny that we were not given any upgrades. I paid full price for 3 cabins back in November and watched the price go down to $299 pp prior to sailing, after final payment. I called my travel agent and Costa to try to get an upgrade or any other type of compensation but they would not budge. You would think that an upgrade that costs them nothing would be good customer service, especially after all the bad press! Then negatives... -5 Euro charge for breakfast in your cabin -2 Euro charge for room service -10.50 Euro for a vodka and OJ, charge separately for each -no lido deck buffet for dinner, dining room ONLY for dinner -dinner menu with very few choices, 2 soups, 2 appetizers, 2 pasta, 4 main -no steak, fillet or lobster -breakfast in the dining room was a buffet? Same as lido deck. - midnight buffet with all the carvings, but no food. Waiters walked around with trays of cookies?? -setting up onboard charges with a machine that didn't work, purser's desk would not help, yes I did it online prior to boarding -very poor service from onboard staff, purser's desk The only excursion I booked with Costa was from Savona to Monoco which I paid for in March. Three days into the cruise I noticed a very small note in the "Today", daily paper that the excursion had been cancelled. I went down to the shore excursion desk and was told that it was cancelled because it was too close to the grand prix. They stated that I would not be reimbursed with my original form of payment but they would give me an onboard credit to cover all my expenses and tips!! Since I had to pay for tips and onboard charges I figured it would all work out. I was wrong, the last day when the final bill arrived I was not given the credit and had multiple charges?? After talking to the shore excursion desk and the purser's desk no one was willing to help. I was told to dispute the charge with my credit company. When I came home I emailed Costa and a Costa representative called me. She said that in the fine print of the cruise contract it states that shore excursions cancelled after sailing will be reimbursed as an onboard credit. She went on to say that onboard credits do not include reimbursements for tips and that no cash refund is given. After much discussion Costa agreed to send me a check. Just Crazy!! Upon disembarkation, the ship cleared customs and passengers were getting off but we had to wait for our passports. The passports sat behind the desk but we had to wait almost an hour because the desk didn't open until 8am!!! In over 20 cruises I have never had a bad cruise. This is actually my first cruise review, but I felt it necessary to let others know just how bad it was. I think the only positive reviews are from first timers. While I realize cruising has changed in 30 years I still find it a wonderful way to travel! Just not with Costa, never again!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Costa Serena Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 2.0 3.1
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 3.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.6

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