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11 Costa Serena Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

we choise the internal cabiin guaranteed gty and with our surprice costa give to us a samsara internal cabin but without the benefits of the samsara mean the access to the spa . the ship was clean but not organizated for all people. ... Read More
we choise the internal cabiin guaranteed gty and with our surprice costa give to us a samsara internal cabin but without the benefits of the samsara mean the access to the spa . the ship was clean but not organizated for all people. inifinite queque for eat. and some point of buffet are closed. the show are ok whit beautifull coreography. no servicer and no securyty on board. children in adult pool and no one that say something.. port are good itinerary with ibiza palma de mallorca and genova and rome. the not accreditate point on costa club, no response by the company. and the costa member on help desk are so unpleasant. the good of the ibiza excurtion are that you can rebnt a scooter and go to all the beaches i do no invite you to choice costa excurtion on ibiza its only lost very very very mnoney Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I booked this about a month before going and instantly regretted it after reading the reviews BUT... We had a great time. Two adults and one child age 9 from Scotland. We spent three days in Barcelona before boarding, we walked down to the ... Read More
I booked this about a month before going and instantly regretted it after reading the reviews BUT... We had a great time. Two adults and one child age 9 from Scotland. We spent three days in Barcelona before boarding, we walked down to the port from our hotel midway up the Ramblas, there's a port bus just at the port gates takes you to the ship for a couple of euros, I didn't do the web check in but they done it at the port for us, booking in was quick and painless, we had to wait until 2pm to board the ship but the waiting area was comfortable and there was a snack bar. We were pleasantly surprised to be given an outside cabin with window as I booked the 'take what's available' option, the room was a good sized, the beds were comfortable, the room was spotless and cleaned twice a day, towels changed, etc. the ship itself is a bit loud but I like bright colours so it didn't bother me, the only thing I didn't like was the statues in the main area, they looked like shop dummies and cheapened the otherwise nice furnishings. The food was a mix of good and bad, the breakfast wasn't great but I didn't see anyone not eating, I'm a fussy eater so I'm happy with cereal, cup of tea, fruit and a croissant, but you had the usual people piling their plate up and not eating it, only had lunch twice and it was good, plenty of choice, dinner was in the restaurant and we couldn't fault it, the service was quick and the waiters remembered what you had to drink and it was there for you every night, there was singing and dancing a few times in the restaurant and I think almost everyone joined in. There was a separate kids menu, ours had spaghetti bolognese every night! Best he'd ever tasted! Our table guests asked for Indian food one night so we all had curry made especially for us. We didn't use the kids club. We went to most of the evening shows and they were all good, better than the ones Royal Caribbean had put on, mix of languages used but didn't detract from it. We didn't hang around the ship we always got off when we docked, there was only one day at sea and that was our last so were were glad of the rest. The port excursions were ok, wish we had done a bit more homework beforehand so we new where to go and what to. Disembarking was fine, you are given a time slot and just have to wait on being called. Pros- price, we paid a quarter of what we paid the Royal Caribbean. Room was excellent Port times were longer No great push for you to buy photos, gifts etc on the ship Downside - Breakfast could be better Soft drinks (squash) should be provided and I didn't see any water dispensers anywhere? We had to buy the all inclusive drinks package even though it was a waste of money as I can't drink alcohol due to medication though it's probably a good deal for most people. Buffet could be better organised so there not so many people wandering around trying to find seats with food in their hands and they should definitely crack down on the kids running around the restaurant before someone is seriously injured. Port information should be updated on their daily newsletter - eg, took us an hour to get to the Trevere Fountain in Rome only to find it had scaffolding around it and had been drained, we could have used this time to visit something else. Ships plumbing could be doing with an overhaul, seen a couple of floods in public toilets and our drain didn't drain very quick and had a slight smell about it. Biggest downside, other holidaymakers don't smile :((   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Background information, family of 4 with children from 1993, and 1998 (This year 20 and 16, first time travelled when they were 13 and 17) All Cruises in Mediterranian first one Venice, Split, Athens, Turkey, Dubrovnik - Venice and two ... Read More
Background information, family of 4 with children from 1993, and 1998 (This year 20 and 16, first time travelled when they were 13 and 17) All Cruises in Mediterranian first one Venice, Split, Athens, Turkey, Dubrovnik - Venice and two days at see, second time Venice, 4 greek places, Venice and two days at see. Third time with Costa Savona, Rome, Naples, Sea, Palma De Mallorca, Barcelona, Marseille and Savona. We drove all three times, the first two trips was inclusive a week on a campsite in a mobile home. WONDERFUL DEAL that unfortunately do not exist anymore. Ship information.. can be found on Costas home page. Not so many activities that we used except the shows, and they were poor compared to NCL. Service in the restaurant was good. The two waiters were smiling and happy, and I am sure if they could have, and were allowed to, I could have gotten my coffee after dinner. Port and shore excutions - seemed equal to other cruiselines, when I look around. Travel to embarkation, we drive from Denmark, and we had a week this time in Nice first, so this was not bought from Costa. Cabin was OK, but the housekeeper, wasn't that excellent. He was not bad, but he was not good. I think perhaps, he just didn't know better. Dining - The food was OK, but it was not splendid. Childrens Club - we did not use. Entertainment, the shows were poor compared to NCL, but OK, not brilliant, or overwelming, just a little below average. Disembarkation. Was a surpricing experience, we couldn't choose ourselves, when to disembark, FORTUNATELY we were given an early disembarkation time (9 AM), which is good, as the drive to home is long. So we were in the car 9:45 packed and ready, and arrived in DK at 4:30 the next morning. It was OK. Summary: (conclusion is, I will not choose Costa again, I don't dare, Prefer to be sure to have a perfect vacation) Good things with Costa compared to NCL: - fast embarkation in Savona, Both with luggage and personal. We had checked in from home, so it took just a few minutes, once we were called in. - My husband says the shower was bigger. I think it is because at Costa it was a curtain, on Norweigian it is a glass door. So with his shoulders he had some place problems. - Advantage to be able to embark and disembark in many ports. I think (but I don't know) if this is the reason for the fast embarkation. Some might dislike it because the drill excercise then had to be performed more often, which meant that the drilling bell rang the signal several days, instead of only one. - A fixed table, in the restaurant, with the same two waiters all week. Both friendly, smiling and open. - There seemed to be more sun beds (or we are better at understanding the system now). Good things on NCL compared to Costa: - Plenty of clean 'public toilets' all over the ship. None were ever dirty, or broken. - Welcome/Goodbuy by the director and the captain (small thing, but it made it personal) - Can't remember it it was once or twice a day, but a bucket of ice + water in the cabin. - Water, juice, icecubes, tea and coffee available all day all decks any time. - Buffets and several others open all day (meaning if you were late, it wasn't a problem, or if you went ashore, there would still be food for you. - In the all inclusive restaurants : One side in the menu is the same every day. One of the meals was a steak (every day). The other side of the menu changed depending on the port destination. - You could order food from buffet, if you had a picky child, that wanted just that. - Water all the time also during dinner,. - Free movies in all languages during the day/night. - Shows SO much higher quality - Presentation in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. Fast -but presented. - many good lounges - Free popcorn (important for the children) - Free Softice (though we in the family have a rule only to eat one ice or one cake a day) - In the Fitness club it was possible to use the big room for personal excercises when unused. - So much better Fitness facilities. - Strict rules around smoking and the personal was not afraid to make smokers aware of it. - Rules in the pool were not to be negociated! (no babies without diper pants, and no children under 16 in the adult pool) - Many restaurants to pay extra for (not that we do, but we would have if it was possible at Costa) - Food so much better prepared. - Much more vegetables and fruit available - Hygiene much higher - Sprayed hands going in or out on the ship. - When going ashore and coming back there was always a 'tent' with cold water, cold washing cloths, and white dressed waiters serving the cloths. So after a hot day in e.g. Santorini - while waiting to come on board (e.g. on the tender boat) one could drink water, and fresh the face, and hands. - Small thing, but So appreciated. - Possible to order coffee in the restaurant...! (For me a BIG minus on Costa that I couldn't) - Possible to have a bottle of wine, and not drink it all, and have it brought from restaurant to buffet or vice versa (not a problem on NCL) - Getting of the ship was easy, there were ALWAYS personal directing people to the right level, and the right side and end, and the signs were ALWAYS correct.! - Clean bathroom in the cabin.... - The menu on the all inclusive restaurants was known and visible on the day, so one could decide to eat in the buffet, if it wasn't what one wanted, or at an 'extra payment restaurant'. General comments: The biggest problem with Costa was, that despite the fact it was all inclusive. Water was not available all day- only during breakfast, and lunch. That is not all inclusive I think. Personally I will not pick Costa again, unless some things change. We picked it because on a ranking list(which I can't find right now) Costa was higher up than NCL, so it should - on paper - be better. Unfortunately I don't think so, and I do believe the director on Costa Serena did a poor job. Shows were presented in the loud speakers. She wasn't very visible. (Compared to the director on NCL He is a chapter for himself we think) Bad things compared to NCL: In General we experienced smiling and happy personal, Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - ... Read More
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - too good to miss, even though previous reviews of the ship and line have been mixed. Although I booked an outside cabin with no number, I was delighted to find that we had been upgraded to a balcony. Our first experience, but definitely not the last. We set off for Barcelona - an easy well-timed flight down from the UK to arrive there at 1.30 pm, and went straight to the cruise terminal. I was surprised to find very few passengers there, and we walked through to the embarkation desk where all they needed were our tickets and passports, and where we were issued with the usual ship cards. I found out later that on this cruise the ship had passengers boarding and leaving at almost every port, a bit like a ferry, but it meant that we had a long time in each port. Up onto the ship where security zapped our cards and took security photos with a hand held device. Onboard there are numerous terminals where it is possible to register your credit card yourself by swiping your ship`s card, then your credit card - no waiting at customer services. Our cabin 9210 port side, right at the bow of the ship, was gorgeous. Note - the beds were next to the window which meant we could lie in bed at night and watch the coastal lights. Having since looked at other balcony cabins on other ships, I think this is quite unusual - the beds are usually away from the windows. Plenty of storage and a neat little bathroom with a great big mirror. Everything was spotlessly clean. Dining - we always like to use the buffet dining room, and were very pleased with the quantity and quality of food at breakfast and lunchtime. It was always very busy, and the type of food is not the same at each station - for example, pancakes are on one side of the ship, eggs are on the other. When we did have to wait for a table, it was only a few minutes. Great service from all the waiters and chefs who couldn`t do enough to help. We had a problem in the evenings though - I had read that it was just pizzas in the buffet after 6pm, but I didn`t realise it was just 2 types of pizza - margherita and plain cheese. A few salads, and no desserts at all, not even ice cream. I believe that after 9.30 pm, the pizzeria becomes waiter service with a greater choice of pizzas, but we prefer to eat at 7 p.m. I would also like to say that it was the first ship we`ve been on where the girls on the reception desks were so helpful and polite, they really couldn`t do enough to help. Decor - what can I say? It was a bit OTT, but maybe Italians like it that way! There was pattern and colour on everything, which gave me a headache for the first few days ;) The theme of the ship was Roman gods. One of the big bonuses was 10 lifts together at the central area = no waiting. There were 4 swimming pools, 2 of them with sliding glass roofs over the whole of the pool area. The overall age group seemed to be 30s to 40s, with a great many children, but it was Easter. I felt this lent a really young feel to the ship, although it seemed to be very noisy compared to our other cruises. This applied to the evening shows in the Glove theatre - they were just too noisy for us. The glove theatre had a fantastic wrap-round design, with no obscured views. One of the highlights of the ship was the 4D cinema, which showed short 15 min animations, buy one get one free for 8 euros. The first film we saw was haunted house, which was a fab experience with 3D glasses, moving seats, smells, and puffs of wind. Ports and excursions: Marseille, cancelled because it was too windy to get into port, and replaced with Toulon: Savona; La Spezia, where we took the opportunity to walk to the train station and took the train to Monterosso, one of the Cinque Terre villages; Civitavecchia - we`d booked a trip to Cornetto, but it was cancelled; Naples - we booked a trip down the catacombs, but this was again cancelled, so we took the trip to Sorrento and Amalfi. Tip: sit on the right side of the bus to get the views, and don`t go if you suffer from travel sickness! A days cruising back to Barcelona, then an easy flight home. Summary: Pros: Lovely ship, spotlessly clean Great food Great service from the girls on customer services and the excursion desk Really interesting ports, especially Savona and La Spezia The 4D cinema Long time in each port Cons: No selection at the buffet pizzeria between 6 and 9.30 p.m. It also had the atmosphere of a children`s playground. Would we go with Costa again? definitely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
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
We booked this cruise at the last minute (2 days before sailing) as it was only a 5 hour drive to the departure port. We got one of the last outside staterooms available and found ourselves on deck 1 about 5 cabins from the front of the ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute (2 days before sailing) as it was only a 5 hour drive to the departure port. We got one of the last outside staterooms available and found ourselves on deck 1 about 5 cabins from the front of the ship. It was a great cabin (1218) and we'd take it again. There was no through traffic from other passengers so the hall was very quiet. Even though the ship is going on about 7 years, I saw no difference in quality to the very new Favolosa. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth! We were off the ship, had our luggage and retrieved our car in about 30 minutes. This was true at the ports as well - on and off with no trouble. Even when the ship was diverted towards Sardinia for a medical emergency, we still made our next port on time. The food at meal time was excellent....only let down by our rather dour waiter! Housekeeping was superb as were all the staff at the Squouk Club. It was quite a full cruise and my only complaint is that the public areas can be extremely crowded between meal times. However, I think this would be true on any large ship. We will happily go on another Costa cruise in future! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I was meeting my parents and my sister in Barcelona, due to a work conflict I had to join the cruise a little late. The ship sailed from Rome (Civitavecchia), then to Savona, then Barcelona, so I missed just a couple of days of the trip. I ... Read More
I was meeting my parents and my sister in Barcelona, due to a work conflict I had to join the cruise a little late. The ship sailed from Rome (Civitavecchia), then to Savona, then Barcelona, so I missed just a couple of days of the trip. I met the ship in Barcelona without much of a problem. The crew was extremely friendly, but a little scatterbrained at times trying to figure the logistics out for my late boarding. A few of them remembered me from that and yelled my name every time they saw me. It was hilarious. I know that my family had to wait about 3 hours during embarkation when they boarded in Rome. They weren't thrilled about that, so I'm glad I missed it. This cruise was immediately (a week or so) after the unfortunate Costa accident, so I anticipated the crew and travelers to be a little on edge, but that was not the case. The crew were amazing and lighthearted, extremely pleasant and accommodating. The negative reviews I had read were focused on the food, the fellow travelers and the ship's appearance. The reviewers who say that this is a different type of cruise that Americans may not be used to are absolutely correct. The ship was opulent, but in a very Italian way. This isn't a mini-Vegas, but it is a beautiful ship. Our interior room was bigger than I had expected. The bathroom was pretty and spacious. My parents' interior room was laid out differently, larger sleeping area but smaller bathroom. Both rooms were larger than I had anticipated. The food was delicious, but in a European way. No burgers or huge portions, but the quality was excellent. Again, this is a European cruise, not an American cruise. The late night pizza was fantastic. The breakfast buffet was enormous and delicious. The nightly dining room was so good that we never considered dining anywhere else. Our server Jerry was amazing! The passengers were....well, Italian. Having lived in Italy myself, I understand that social customs are slightly different than what people in the US might be used to. There is a bit of pushiness or less defined personal space rules and they speak a little louder, which may come across as rude if you aren't used to it. It's nothing extreme, just subtle differences that might confuse someone who is sensitive to that sort of thing. The most glaring issue was the lack of English. I speak Italian, but my family does not, so I had to do a fair bit of translating during the trip. The staff does speak English, but most of the passengers don't speak it very well, so it's a little isolating if you are English-speaking and are expecting to meet people. The ports were awesome. We had so much fun in each one of them. It was very easy to find transportation (like free buses) between the port and the downtown area. I missed the Savona port stop, so Barcelona was my first one. Barcelona is a great city. I have been several times (though never through a cruise) and have enjoyed it immensely. The port is located pretty far away from the city, you definitely need a bus/cab from where the ship docks. I tried walking from the city to the port and was defeated. As I was embarking from Barcelona, I have no idea what shore excursions were offered. The cruise initially embarked from Rome (Civitavecchia), so I'm sure there were some excursions that I was not privy to. I have but one complaint about the Barcelona stop - it was too short. About 4 hours. Barcelona is a HUGE city, and it would be very tough to get a feel for it in such little time. Casablanca was next, it was the stop I was most looking forward to, but most hesitant about. The reviews made it sound like a dump, but that was not the case. It was a bit of a hike from the port to the city, but worth it. There is a very authentic feel to this city, which I adore. I personally do not like very touristy areas, I'd prefer to go off the beaten path a bit. Casablanca allowed us to do so. There is a main market that you should stay away from, however. It did not feel safe and we were pushed around a bit. We mostly stayed to main roads and sites, and we had a great time. There is an excursion to Marrakech for the day, which we opted out of. The people who went seemed to have a nice time, though it was a lot of traveling for a short stay. I think that if you are comfortable finding your own things to do and see in Casablanca and aren't afraid of haggling in stores or dining in local eateries, you'll be fine staying in the city. If not, maybe the Marrakech excursion is a better option. Next up were the Canary Islands, Arrecife and Tenerife. Holy crap, Arrecife/Lanzarote is awesome! I HIGHLY recommend the Timanfaya park/camel ride excursion. It was unbelievable. I have about 500 photos from that excursion alone. It was the best port on the trip, hands down. The volcanos are stunning. Most of the island is volcanic, it's really fascinating. The camels are so much fun to ride. We learned a lot about the islands and it was so much fun! The tour ended with a wine tasting at the island's winery. Go on this excursion, you will not regret it! We did not go on any excursions on Tenerife, we just did some shopping and enjoyed the scenery. It was a little bit of a snooze town, but nice to be in. A little expensive. The last stop was Malaga, Spain. It was a nice town, again very pretty. We had a great time wandering, shopping, eating and just enjoying our last couple of days on the cruise together. Not sure I'd go back to Malaga, but they definitely had great shopping. Overall, I would recommend this cruise. It was a lot of fun, and the port stops were pretty great. I would absolutely cruise with Costa again, I'm looking into a Nordic cruise for next year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I can't understand why there should be a daily service charge €7 per day over and above your initial payments when it's a compulsory expense !!! and to then be charged 15% on all extra's seems a little underhand to me. ... Read More
I can't understand why there should be a daily service charge €7 per day over and above your initial payments when it's a compulsory expense !!! and to then be charged 15% on all extra's seems a little underhand to me. Other services on the boat such as sauna and massage are alo expensively wrapped up in packages and day rates (€33 I think) when you may only want an hour or a brief escape. Internet access was also expensive at €26 for 3 hours.....even McDonalds give this free. You should also be aware of port to city transfer cost particularly in Marseille I can't fault the restaurants and bar staff, they were all very poite and efficient....not their fault that they are forced to serve the food (which was good)at such a fast rate. The customer service desk is almost always too busy and when you do speak to them they were not empowered to actually make a decison (classic cost avoidance ploy) if it was anything more than advice. The decor was not to my liking a bit too dark and just totally over done but each to his own here. The general atmosphere was bit claustophobic but better weather and more outdoor access would have helped, and perhaps less naff piped music. The description of the swimming pools is overstated....4 stokes end to end. This boat is dominated by Italians...great people but you may feel a little overpowered.....although Volare is always fun. This is the first critique I've ever written....sorry that I was not motivated to be more positive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
After booking the cruise on Costa Serena i read the reviews and wished i had not booked.I have worked as a holiday rep for the most famous British holiday company for the over 50s and also worked front of house in some great restaurants ... Read More
After booking the cruise on Costa Serena i read the reviews and wished i had not booked.I have worked as a holiday rep for the most famous British holiday company for the over 50s and also worked front of house in some great restaurants serving the likes of Michael Caine,Bob Hoskins and Mel Gibson. Once our holiday started,i looked for faults but there were none except for our flights and Naples.My daughter and i flew with KLM from Bristol to Barcelona via Amsterdam.The flights were booked through Costa as were our transfers in Barcelona.A direct flight would have been better but we accepted it.Finally arriving in Barcelona,we were met by a taxi driver in a brand new black Mercedes and driven to the port.Our luggage was then taken to the ship and we went and checked in and had a drink.30 minutes later at 2pm, boarding was announced and we had card number 2.We boarded straight away and went to our cabin.We were in 6201 outside window at the front of the ship with amazing views.Large cabin,lots of space and very clean.After unpacking we explored the ship and were amazed.It is clean,modern and not over the top as many people have said.On returning to our cabin to get ready for dinner we were met by Neri the chambermaid who greeted me and knew my name even though we had not reached our cabin yet.She did an excellent job throughout our stay as did P.Kumar and Dexter in the Lido Sole bar and Raquel in the Vesta restaurant. We then had a great week meeting lots of lovely people ,especially the people on our table.There were probably only 150 English speakers on board but we all felt happy and mixed well with all the other nationalities.The announcements in 5 languages were short and sweet and only occurred 3 or 4 times a day and there was no pushing and shoving in the lifts or buffet by anyone as i had been led to expect by other reviewers.The ship was full with over 3800 people on board. The food was excellent,the staff were excellent and the ports of call were excellent except for Naples(very dirty and dangerous when crossing roads).The ship never felt crowded as it is so big and with 13 bars to choose from there was always great entertainment.The theatre was a bit of a let down as it is beautiful and large but the acts were average.This did not matter as there was a lot going on elsewhere. After a fantastic week we were sad to say goodbye to all our new friends and the ship.Once again a lovely transfer to the airport only to find that our flight to Amsterdam was delayed and we missed our connection to Bristol.No problem,we were put on a flight 5 hours later and given phone vouchers,food vouchers and 100 euros off future flights with KLM.Hopefully direct flights when we book our next holiday with Costa which we will do and soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Embarkation This was a breeze as we missed our flight and with it the original embarkation point at Savona. We eventually joined the ship at 2nd port of call at Barcelona. 10 mins after we produced our tickets at the security desk at the ... Read More
Embarkation This was a breeze as we missed our flight and with it the original embarkation point at Savona. We eventually joined the ship at 2nd port of call at Barcelona. 10 mins after we produced our tickets at the security desk at the port we were in our stateroom. The bags arrived 10 mins later. Only thing to add to this that is relevent to the review is that after we missed our flight we contacted Costa who were very helpful and understanding, and arranged for us to join the ship at Barcelona where they were expecting us when we arrived. First impression WOW! Ship is absolutely beautiful and spotlessly clean. The dEcor may be a bit over the top for some but we thought it was fantastic. Stateroom Again WOW! About what you would expect from a 5* hotel but a little more compact making very good use of the available space. Spotlessly clean and enough room for our party of 2 adults and 2 children. Good size flat screen TV with 1 English station plus BBC news. AV input but I could not get this to work. Small mini bar, large comfortable double bed and bunks for the kids. Small but welcome balcony. Room made up at least twice a day but sometimes 3 or 4. Food Breakfast Sit down at the Ceres restaurant, help yourself at the Prometeo buffet, late breakfast at Lido Urano pool area (all times very but the late breakfast in the Urano pool area started and finished around an hour or so later). We always used the buffet which was the same every day but plenty of choice for us to have something different every day. Hot selection included bacon, peperoni style sausages, hash browns, type of beans with added peperoni style sausage, grilled tomato, scrambled & boiled eggs although you could have freshly fried egg or an excellent omelet from the omelet station. Also there were pancakes and waffles with maple syrup, and also what I would call bolognese! Cold selection was typical continental stuff such as 3 or 4 different cheeses, ham, salami etc, yoghurt, jams, fruit, cakes, croissants and 5 or 6 different serial etc. Selection of different teas, coffee, hot choc, fresh squeezed orange or pineapple juice plus machine grapefruit and orange juice. I really likeed the breakfast. Lunch Ceres or Vesta restaurant (open sitting for around 1 and a half hours, times vary), Samsara restaurant (times vary and reserved for Samsara guests only), Prometeo buffet restaurant (self service for around 2 and a half hours and times vary). There were also the grill buffets in the Lido Sole and Lido Urano pool areas with the latter opening and closing around an hour or so later than the other (times vary). We did not use the sit down in the Ceres or Vesta restaurant as the buffet was fine for us. The grill had what you would expect and there was always a very good choice on the main buffet. Also available were specials of the day that had a different theme each day. A lot of nice deserts on offer too. Again, we really liked the buffet lunch. Tea Time We did not use this so don't know what was available (times vary around 16:00 - 17:00) Dinner We chose the 1st sitting at 18:15 with the 2nd at 20:45. We were allocated a more private 4 seat cubical table in the Ceres Restaurant which was perfect for us. The other restaurant being the Vesta. We did not use the Samsara (open sitting 18:30 - 21:00) or the Club Bacco (open sitting 19:00 - 21:30). At first we were very impressed but as the cruise went on were getting a bit fed up of the itallian and seafood dishes and the quality (which was for the most part very good) seemed to drop towards the end of the cruise. If you like Italian food and seafood you will love it but it got a bit much for our personal tastes. We would have liked a wider choice of international food and/or food based on the port of call. If you could not make your chosen sitting you could inform the Maitre D' who would try and get you in the alternative sitting. Our waitress Ria was simply excellent in the Ceres restaurant. And everything we ate was properly cooked and served at the correct temperature. I have a sample menu for a Gala dinner and if anyone would like to see you can send my a message. Midnight Snack We did not use this so don't know what was available (From 23:30). Snacking Pizza, pasta in sauce, and lovely deserts always seemed to be available when the buffet was closed. I used this once and found all to be very good. Drinking We purchased the X1 package before departure and it's a good job we did. A small glass of Carlsberg beer came in at 5.18 euro inc tax for a 40cl glass. The X1 worked very well for us as we don't go for spirits or cocktails and as a result we don't know the price of them. With the X1 you can have unlimited beer, wine, soda, and bottled mineral water at meal times. The beer was fine and the house wine was just about OK but not great. The X1 could be used in the Ceres and Vesta restaurants for the duration of the sitting, and at either Lido Sole or Lido Urano pool areas as long as the buffet was open. There was a two for one happy hour which at first was 20:30 - 21:30 but then half way through the cruise changed without warning to 16:00 - 17:00! Smoking Smoking was allowed only in designated areas and this was totally respected. We did not have a problem with this. There was also a pipe/cigar room. Staff All the staff that we came across just fantastic, extremely hard working and always had a smile. This included the front desk staff. Special mention goes to our dinner waitress Ria and our stateroom attendant Ive who were both outstanding. Entertainment There was as you would expect a whole day if different activities and entertainment planned but we didn't use any of it apart from the evening shows in the theatre. We were very impressed with the theatre. Very grand affair on two floors with stalls and baloney and had very professional sound and lighting. The only down side were the shows themselves. We enjoyed them and went to every one and the kids loved it but it was a bit too cheesy for it's surroundings. English was the predominant language after Italian and we had no problem knowing what was going on. Resident singers and dancers and a good variety of acts and lasted for about an hour. 1st show 19:15 & 2nd show 21:15. The bars and the music in them were very good and very popular, and there was a late night disco but we were never around late enough to see it in action! For the kids There looked to be a well run kids club but our two didn't want to try it prefering to stay with us. There was plenty for us all to see and do but we liked to be in and around the pools when at sea. Dress code and etiquette Casual throughout the ship with I would say 10% in tux, 10% smart casual, 5% casual and the rest in smart shirt and tie for the gala dinners. It was during school term time but there were still a good number of children on board. There was no sign of kids rampaging around the ship, in fact they were more courteous than some of their parents! The only problem we saw (although it didn't affect us) was children being allowed and even escorted into the juccuzzi by their parents even though there were signs at the entrance steps clearly stating in 4 languages that children were not permited. When ever a member of staff saw this they delt with it and got the children out but they could not police it all the time. I say the guests were made up mostly of Italian, German and French and perhaps 15% British. We found there to be some very rude and ignorant Italian, German, and French but we are used to this and we were prepared for it having seen it many times at land based resorts where british are a minority. Queuing is unheard of and at the buffet etc it's everyone for themselves! We accept that this is their way and it wasn't a major problem for us. Tours We found the price of the ships excursions to be extremely expensive for the four of us to the extent that if we had taken one at every port it would have spent almost as much as what the cruise cost. We therefore did everything independently and so can't comment on the tours. Barcelona As we missed our embarkation point at Savona we joined the ship here so didn't have much time. We had a walk up and down Las Ramblas and around the sea front. Total cost £0 Casablanca Having read bad reports about Casablanca our aim was to visit the mosque and then go to Rabat. At the port exit there was a mob of 30 or so taxi drivers waiting to pounce. As we required a taxi we had to talk to some of them. They were very pushy and would not take no for an answer. We eventually got the price down from £30 to £10 for a taxi to the mosque and back to Casa Port train station including an hour wait at the mosque. We were also offered tours of the city for around £30 and a tour to Rabat for £80. At the train station we got two adult and one child return tickets to Rabat Ville and with the under 5 travelling free this came to £19 for the four of us. The ticket seller spoke English and directed us to the train. Trains run every half hour and take an hour each way. Outside the station there was a large gang of taxi drivers and everyone else but inside everyone was courteous and friendly. The train was efficient, clean, and modern apart from the toilet. On arrival at Rabat Ville station we got a taxi to the Kasbah (£5) walked around here and had a mint tea and fantastic cake in the cafe. We then walked across the road and through the medina. Out of the other side we at first got a little lost but then found our way along Avenue Hassan 2 and then along the shops of the new town on Avenue Mohamed V which lead back to the station. Back in Casa it was a 10 - 20 minute walk back to the ship. The only time we felt uneasy was when we first encountered the mob of taxi drivers at the port exit. We felt very safe on the trains and around Rabat and we were never hassled once in the amazing medina or anywhere else. Oh, and (because of the kids!) we had a McDonald's just opposite Rabat station! Total travel cost £34. Arrecife Approx 100m from the ship on the dock side we hired a car from the kiosk (£35 for the day, inc). 10 minutes from leaving the ship we were driving out of the port. From here we drove to Timanfaya National Park, had a look around the visitor centre and went on the camel ride (can't remember price but around £20 for two camels!). On our way back to the port we called in at Puerto del Carmen and spent an hour or so on the beach. Just before the port we had to fill the car with petrol (£6). Total travel cost £41. Santa Cruz Here we caught the free shuttle to the port entrance. From here we walked along the main shopping St and around the old town and down to the "Africa Market". A further walk then to the auditorio and back along the seafront to the ship. Total travel cost £0 Funchal We walked from the ship to the port entrance and turned right along the seafront and through the beautiful park/gardens on the hill opposite. Continued then along the seafront to the cable cars (£25 single for the four of us). We had a look around Mont before descending back down via the basket toboggans (£37 for large family one!). We then walked the last 1K down to the lovely old town for lunch and a bit of shopping. Total travel cost £62 although the modes of transport were attractions themselves. Malaga Caught the shuttle bus from the ship to the port entrance (£6 per adult) and then walked up to and around the fort and then back into the old town for shopping and some churos. Total travel cost £0 as the bus drivers let us on for free, fort entrance around £7 if I remember right. Overall This was our 1st ever cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. For us the Costa Serena is a magical ship and Costa as a company were great. The staff were fantastic and we liked most of the food even though I'm not a big fan of Itallian or seafood. It was OK but we wouldn't say it was great. We liked the pool areas and the buzz around them. We didn't have a problem with English being a minority but we like being part of a multinational hotel and we can speak a enough German, French, & Spanish for us to at least exchange a few words in passing. We did come across some very rude and ignorant Europeans but we have found this at most hotels and this is not the fault of Costa. We found the price of drinks and anything else that we had to pay for to be extremely expensive when compared with the price of the cruise. All in all we had a terrific time and we are already looking for our next cruise. Costa will definitely be included in our search but we will look at the whole price including on board spending for the next one. I have prices for tours and for treaments at the Samsara Spa, and also a menu from a gala dinner that I can forward to anyone who wants to see them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Just finished my first cruise with Costa. Have a lot of impressions to share. First, the best thing about Costa is the price. Because my wife and I have 3 kids, we have to book two rooms. This seems to be standard across the industry (no ... Read More
Just finished my first cruise with Costa. Have a lot of impressions to share. First, the best thing about Costa is the price. Because my wife and I have 3 kids, we have to book two rooms. This seems to be standard across the industry (no more than 4 to a room). So with Costa, we could afford to book two rooms for the family. We were 5 of the 48 Americans on Board (out of 3500 total on board) and we never met another one during the 8 days. So if you're going with the expectation of meeting people or socializing, get cozy with the cabin stewards (who speak English well), or learn Italian. No attempt was made to introduce us to any of the other English speakers. If you've traveled around Spain, France, and Italy, you know that people don't "queue" like they do in the UK and the US. Generally, people crowd around a counter and let "survival of the fittest" rule. Not a complaint, just the way it is. You have to decide for yourself if you want to be on a ship with 2000 passengers who don't like to wait in line. Also, leave your sense of personal space behind. I move through a buffet line pretty quickly, but I still had people close enough to be sharing my clothes and breathing down my neck. My advice is to get to the buffet at least 30 minutes before the crowd hits, and everyone seems to behave themselves. I wouldn't wish noon at the buffet on anyone. Dinner is more relaxing, with decent food served lukewarm. I'm not sure how long in advance the food was prepared. Main courses were generally competent, but the appetizers were hit or miss generally miss. Pasta courses are excellent. Desserts were definitely phoned-in. Their idea of a "sundae" is a scoop of ice cream with a cracker in it. I give them full marks for being able to recycle the same ingredients night after night with different descriptions. Which is the real problem with the food You just get sick of eating the same things after a few days. Smoke is everywhere, but you get used to it. Then again if smoke is a problem, don't vacation in Europe. Costa tries to make back their money on beverages. They are constantly selling booklets of tickets for (a) water (b) coffee (c) non-alcoholic beverages (d) wine. Those are all separate booklets. The plan seems to be to get you to buy these booklets and hope that you (1) don't use them all, or (2) forget to have them on your person at all times. More than once, I had to run back to the room to get the tickets so my kids could get juice at dinner. Once, they gave out free soft drinks for 30 minutes, and listed it as an "event" on the daily calendar. You will also get your picture taken a lot on the cruise. They are hoping you will spend 15 euro to buy it after it is posted on the wall in the main lounge. For example, you will get your picture taken every time you leave the boat, during the lifeboat drill, just about every night at dinner, etc. Cabins are huge and comfortable. Great shower. Lots of room for clothes. Ugly, ugly, ugly decor. It amazes me that they built the ship in 2007 and chose the "Miami Vice" color scheme. Cabin Service is outstanding. Even when my kids trashed a room, they cleaned it up perfectly. Costa hires a lot of non-Europeans for the service work, and they are the stars of the show. The American and European staff is mediocre, and I generally had the feeling they'd rather be somewhere else. Embarkation took forever. Disembarking was a disorganized mess (but exciting: Will I get my passport back?). As for kids on the cruise, they loved it. This is an inexpensive family cruise line, and you should expect to see a lot of families and kids. If seeing kids bothers you (as it apparently does from reading the reviews), go on an expensive cruise somewhere else. My expectations were low going into this vacation, and they were met. The saving grace of the cruise is that my kids loved it. Basically, there are parts of a cruise even Costa can't mess up the excitement of being on a big ship, visiting exotic locations, and spending a lot of time with family. All in all, this is a *perfect* cruise for kids, and it is something you would do *for* your kids. In fact, the whole experience was like spending 8 days at Disneyland take that as you will. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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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