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46 Costa Serena Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

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
This was our first cruise so we didn't have anything to compare other than we have stayed in good class hotels all over the world and Costa Serena certainly exceeded my expectations, she is a beautiful ship. Our embarkation was in ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we didn't have anything to compare other than we have stayed in good class hotels all over the world and Costa Serena certainly exceeded my expectations, she is a beautiful ship. Our embarkation was in Barcelona and this was very good, when we arrived at our beautiful balcony cabin at the aft of the ship on 8 deck our cases where already waiting for us. Our cabin attendant was excellent and nothing was a trouble for him. The bars and restaurants were fabulously decorated and all had lovely furniture. Costa Serena is a blingy but tastefull ship and being a blingy sort of girl, I just loved it. The bar and restaurant staff were courteous and friendly and nothing was a trouble for them The food was very good with a wide choice of menus for all meals served in either the main dining room our the buffett restaurant. Room service was also available and this we did use for breakfast on the days we had excursions and because we had a Premium Balcony cabin there was no added service charge. We purchased the drinks package which proved excellent value for money and there was always a choice of wine at dinner. We were a bit sceptical about the wine at dinner only being served by the glass and envisaged we would have to re-order and produce our card each time we needed a top up, but this certainly was not the caseand our glasses were regularly topped up by our waiter Mario who was very attentive, friendly and did an excellent job of looking after us. We only booked one excursion through the ship and this was from the port of Savona to Monaco, which was a big disappointment. The travelling time to Manaco was almost 2 hrs and when we arrived around 11am we were told by our guide that we would be leaving at 2pm to return to the ship, so 4hrs travelling time for 3hrs sightseeing was not good. La Spezia was the next port where took the local train and visited Cinque Tere. Our next port was Civitaveccia where we took a train to Rome and cost less than 10 euros return, in Naples there were plenty of taxis in the port, so we took a taxi to Pompei at a cost of €15 per person return. We had a wonderful time on Costa Serena and were sad when it was time to leave, hopefully we will have the opportunity to sail on her again in the very near future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I 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
This was our first ever cruise so it would be fair to say that any review we give must reflect the fact that we have nothing to compare it to. However we have been on enough holidays to know what we are talking about to some extent. We ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise so it would be fair to say that any review we give must reflect the fact that we have nothing to compare it to. However we have been on enough holidays to know what we are talking about to some extent. We joined to Costa Serena in Barcelona and the embarkation process was relatively painless if a little long. They started the boarding at 2pm but it was nearly 3 by the time our batch of numbered passes was called. When we got to our cabin, our bags were waiting for us as was the Costa Cards and the necessary itineraries and information sheets. As we were dog tired from 24 hours travelling we decided to grab some lunch and get our bearings. We found a hot dog/burger hatch serving near the mid-ships pool and this was fine to start with. Dinner was at 7pm and our restaurant was at the other end of the ship. It didn't take us long to find our table and we were seated with another two British couples. The food in the restaurant all week was good, especially considering the volume of meals that must be served each evening, and there was a reasonable choice which varied daily. The service was excellent, friendly and charming. Lunch was in the self service which was a but scrum-like but no more than some of the all-inclusive package hotels in Spain and Turkey we've stayed in. Breakfast was the same, though if you preferred you could have a sit-down partly-waiter service in the restaurant areas. We checked out the theatre where each night there was a show of some sort. It was a little hit and miss but that comes from trying to please everyone. One night there was the winner of "Italy's Got Talent". A ventriloquist, which given the number of languages on the ship was an interesting choice. He carried it off well though, doing routines using smatterings of Italian, French, German, English, Spanish and even Portuguese. Given that many of the jokes were visual it worked pretty well and rarely got annoying. There were a number of other bars that we used over the week, each with a different musical emphasis. The atrium had a pianist (who clearly was reading the lyrics in English as Delilah "stood there 'logging', I felt the knife in my hand and she 'logged' no more!"). There was a band in the rear bars, a singer in another, a couple playing dancing songs for the ballroom dancing (hats off to some terrific dancers among the passengers) and a couple of Spanish guitarists in the Chocolate bar. We bought the all-inclusive which we would recommend highly as it meant we could order whatever we wanted without having to think about it. It included cocktails, and we tried plenty. (the Mojitos are lovely) All in all we would recommend cruising and Costa. Sure the clientèle were mostly Italian and the entertainment was a bit cheesy sometimes but we were never bored, often delighted and highly satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We have just returned from a very good costa serena cruise..our embarkation in Barcelona was a little confusing..our taxi was excellent both ways..on arrival the members of costa were waiting for us..we gave them our details ..they took ... Read More
We have just returned from a very good costa serena cruise..our embarkation in Barcelona was a little confusing..our taxi was excellent both ways..on arrival the members of costa were waiting for us..we gave them our details ..they took our luggage and we waited in the bright clean lounge..at 2 pm we started to board..we went to the desk unaware that we should have registered on our arrival! after 10 mins filling in forms etc..we were on board..very easy..we had paid for all inclusive but had no cards..we went for late lunch and just showed the waitress our paperwork and had our drinks along with the first of many superb meals.. Our room aft cabin 8450 was lovely..yes a little tired in places but a huge balcony..big bed fruit bowl and clean sheets and towels..this carried throughout the cruise..Marc was excellent..swift..very efficient.. everything clean daily towels if required..yes the balcony did have slight soot on it..the worse was the fag ends from the inconsiderate people above! we slept well..the food was excellent from the buffet to the restaurants on deck 9..these did get busy especially on the day at sea..you can eat in the ceres restaurant for breakfast and lunch...we had a table for 2 as requested early sitting ...with good service..there was an extreme odour near our table we did complain and were give asti supermante for all of our tables.. this was rectified with new carpet..the menu was varied with average all inclusive wine..the usual captains dinner and fun times with the crew..the all inc package was exceptional..well worth every penny..with soft drinks.. wines..beers.. cocktails..liquers and coffees..we had as many as we wanted..served by excellent happy bar staff..the trips were good..Rome and Capri..(with costa)we ventured out ourselves to the other destinations..walking getting taxis or mini trains..this was a fabulous trip with attentive staff..good all round service.. yes.. English speakers are a miniority around 100 people but the ship is full of various nationalities having a great time..and the smoking was very little..they have a separate room inside with no smoke anywhere..there were very few children on board . the overall experience was one of a chilling time..with everyone enjoying there holiday..try costa serena it was fabulous!! Read Less
Sail Date September 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
We just returned from a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Costa Serena. As some other contributors have mentioned, we were very apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of the ship on this site. We really wonder what ... Read More
We just returned from a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Costa Serena. As some other contributors have mentioned, we were very apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of the ship on this site. We really wonder what ship these other passengers were on, as we saw none of the activities mentioned by those negative reviewers. First of all, it is true that only about 10% of the passengers speak English, but every member of the crew speaks English well enough to converse with you satisfactorily. Also, there are very few Americans on the ship, but it is an Italian ship - that is to be expected. We knew we were not sailing on an American ship! The ship looks like a floating Las Vegas. Yes, it is brightly decorated, and it could be considered a bit "over the top". But, every place on the ship is perfectly clean and excellently maintained. There were some children on the ship, and they were very well-behaved or quickly disciplined by their parents. Also, we saw some smokers, but only when we happened to venture outside to the decks where smoking was permitted. There were many French, Italians, and Spaniards having a wonderful holiday and making merry on the ship, but they were never anywhere near our cabin. We only experienced peace and quiet when we went to our cabin for the evening. We had a balcony, which we loved. Our cabin was very nice, the bathroom very clean, the bed was very comfortable, and our cabin steward was outstanding. The dining room is very nice, as are the buffets and the burger and pizza bars. The food is not up to 5-start restaurant quality, but it is very good, and the waiters are very attentive. At the buffets or burger and pizza bars, we had to stand in line a few minutes, but there are so many lines, that there were never more than 5 or so people ahead of us. Also, we saw absolutely no one pushing and shoving. We saw mostly smiles and "hellos" from our fellow passengers. We enjoyed the excursions immensely, and all the trips and tour leaders were very organized and quite efficient (with the exception of our Tunisian guide). Also, Madeline, the English speaking hostess is excellent. We understand that the Costa Serena is not the most luxurious cruise ship in the world, but we very much enjoyed it and feel strongly that we needed to comment about what a delightful experience we had in light of all the negativity others have published about this ship. Please sail on the Costa Serena with confidence. You will have a wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the ... Read More
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the cruise took on most of it's passengers in Marseille and Savona -The drinks package was very reasonable What's bad - The lack of choice , There's very little choice for eating on costa, - The queues- Particularly in the buffet for breakfast or lunch on sea days, On our sea day the queue for the buffet was 40 minutes long. At this particular time (Between 11 and 12) this was the only food available. I would not like to be on this ship with kid's who may end up crying for food. The queue was inexcusable the buffet is huge but 90% of it was closed. It wouldn't take many staff to open more of it - Some of the staff- Some of the bar waiters would walk past your table full of empty drinks 10 times, Or ignore you if you called them discreetly. Maybe they are used to dealing with Europeans who are more assertive. - Some of the public bathrooms were a bit smelly and there was often no towels or tissues to dry your hands. Never seen anything close to this on another cruise ship.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I have just returned yesterday 18th November 2013 from a very disappointing seven night cruise on the Costa Serena. We were picked up from our hotel at 1100 and taken to Civitavecchia to board the ship. When we got there we were herded ... Read More
I have just returned yesterday 18th November 2013 from a very disappointing seven night cruise on the Costa Serena. We were picked up from our hotel at 1100 and taken to Civitavecchia to board the ship. When we got there we were herded into a large shed and found out ship couldn't dock and had gone to Naples. No Costa staff told us anything, a woman got on our bus spoke only in Italian which resulted in a slanging match with the Italians on board, nobody either from Costa or the other passengers told the number of English on board anything, not a good start. When we reached Naples it was raining, there were no porters to take our cases, it was like a rugby scum not very good after over five hour trip. Cannot blame Costa for weather but their lack of communication to the English was very poor. Check in, again a shambles two desks open for over a hundred passengers. We got on board and what we found was cigarette smoke everywhere. It was awful the smokers just ignored the few no smoking signs and puffed away. Costa do not cater for English speaking, all the announcements were often enough not in English. We had BBC World on the tv for two days and even that was taken off. You had to pay to watch films in either the cinema or in your cabin I was on the Costa Serena two years ago and comparing the two there is no comparison. Even the Captain couldn't be bothered to come to the Costa Club cocktail ! Every port we came too passengers got off to be replaced by more mostly Italians and French. The Costa Serena is the biggest ferry the Med. The only good thing about my cruise was the staff. The numbers have clearly been cut so they are working harder. Most of the Britsh passengers I spoke to swore they wouldn't go on a Costa cruise again, I certainly wont they just does not cater for us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We cruised with Costa Serena to Civitaveccia,Olbia,Palma de Mallorca,Ibiza and Toulon.The last port should have been Marseille,but was changed because of the weather. That was a disappointment. Anyway,this was our first cruise,and I'm ... Read More
We cruised with Costa Serena to Civitaveccia,Olbia,Palma de Mallorca,Ibiza and Toulon.The last port should have been Marseille,but was changed because of the weather. That was a disappointment. Anyway,this was our first cruise,and I'm glad we choose this one.Many places to visit, cabin with balcony, all inclusive :) For one of us,the meal service wasn't what he expected, he waited more variety for the meals. I was satisfied though,even I look very closely what I put in to my mouth. You don't get starved in your trip,you could eat almost at any time you wanted. When the ship arrives to the land,there's no horry. All day long the transfer goes on,and you have plenty of time to explore everything. That's why we choose not to take any excursions,we didn't want to ''relax with a clock'' . The crew on Costa Serena was awesome! They are always ready to serve and help,even they're English wasn't 10+,and that was something I noticed every place we visited. That is why I wouldn't recommend this cruise (or any other cruise on Mediterian sea) to someone who doesn't speak English. Most of the people were Italian. They know how to enjoy and have fun! You can't see many children on board,and my opinion is,that this cruise wasn't made for them. Lots of partying and lots of alcohol,which didn't mind me,even I don't drink. I loved the ship! So beautiful and luxurious,clean and big,many things to do! Staff was cleaning and serving all the time,with a smile :) despite few ''angry birds'' I liked the staff. All together, I would go back if I had a chance! The only thing I didn't like,was the buss transfer from/to Milano-Savona-Milano. It was so long way,and we didn't stop to have a break when we traveled from Milano to Savona. It was a scary road and driver drived so fast. But otherwise this cruise was awesome experience!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We went on a 3 night cruise to Barcelona and Marseilles, France on Costa. Overall the experience was not a bad one, but certainly one that if you are not Italian or even European can be a bit of an adjustment. The ship was well cared for ... Read More
We went on a 3 night cruise to Barcelona and Marseilles, France on Costa. Overall the experience was not a bad one, but certainly one that if you are not Italian or even European can be a bit of an adjustment. The ship was well cared for and was in the Greek God/Goddess theme. What this means is that I spent several times answering questions from my little one about "what is that" when she pointed to the naked men and women (Greek figures) throughout the ship. The decor was nice, the main area was nice and the cabins were extremely spacious and well maintained. Bingo again was the highlight activity on the ship! We played each night. The shows were pretty good. We pretty much did our own thing for the most part. The cruise ship boasted about the kids activities and we took the youngest to the kids area and many times she was the only one. Many people on the cruise opted to have their children with them. My teenager didn't find anything interesting in the teen zone as again it appeared no one really hung out. The main reason we chose this cruise is to go to Barcelona. However, the Barcelona stop was a true disappointment. We were only in port for 5 hours and that is not enough time to spend in Barcelona. We spent an entire day in Marseilles and it was a waste. I would rather have more time in Barcelona and less time in Marseilles. The food was typical European fare and the buffet is a free for all! There is no such thing as queing for lines so its pretty much get in where you fit in. The evening dining was nice and there was a nice selection of food each night. We had set seating so we dined with the same family each night. They had kids and so it was a nice time to catch up to hear about each others adventures during the day. We bought the drink package because it was worth the money. It averaged out to 3 drinks a day per person and we consumed more than that (non-alcoholic). We bought water from the ports and were able to carry it on with us. The price was right for this quick 3 night cruise and it was a good introduction to Costa to decide if I wanted to cruise with them in the future. As an American on an Italian cruise ship, the hardest adjustment was the smoking throughout the ship. There were not designated areas so people pretty much smoked where they wanted. There were enough people on the ship that spoke English so we didn't fell alienated, but we were certainly the minority on this particular cruise. The people did not appear to be as friendly and sociable as other cruises but the crew was nice. All in all, if there was more time in Barcelona this would be a definite recommend. For the cruising experience, it was not a bad experience and if asked would I use Costa again, I would say yes. At least next time I will know what to expect and can prepare accordingly! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My wife and I recently cruised on Costa Serena departing Savona on October 7th 2012, returning to Savona on October 14th and calling at Civitavecchia, Palermo, La Palma, Valentia and Marseilles. We flew from Gatwick to Malpensa, Milan and ... Read More
My wife and I recently cruised on Costa Serena departing Savona on October 7th 2012, returning to Savona on October 14th and calling at Civitavecchia, Palermo, La Palma, Valentia and Marseilles. We flew from Gatwick to Malpensa, Milan and were disappointed that we were not met at arrivals but had to make our own way from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. The meeting point we were given at Terminal 1 was also lacking Costa staff and we had to enquire where we could find the Costa coach. Eventually we met a Costa rep and duly set off for the ship. Embarkation at Savona was also not without incident because by the time we got off the coach (having filled in the obligatory health questionaire) the baggage handlers had already spirited away all our cases including our hand luggage which contained our tickets and all our other documents apart from our passports. The moral of this story is don't label your hand luggage unless you want it to be delivered directly to your cabin. However the customer service staff in the embarkation lounge could not have been more helpful and, in fact, they fast tracked our embarkation. We had an inside cabin on deck 10 which also contained the Lido Pool and the buffet restaurant - a perfect location. The cabin itself was quite spacious and reasonably well appointed. Our cabin staff member was pleasant and helpful. The ship itself is on the large size even by cruise ship standards and the decor was rather garish by northern European standards with its spectacular six storey atrium and its mythological figures at the height of poor taste. We chose second sitting dining and despite our request to be seated at a 6 or 8 person table we were given a table for two. Upon querying this later we were told that because of our age and language our request could not be accommodated. I found the age restriction odd as at least three quarters of the passengers were OAPs like us but I can understand the language problem as there were no more than a few dozen English speakers among the over 3000 passengers. In the end we really enjoyed our dining experience because our table was sited beside an 8 person table occupied by a very lively extended Spanish family and an equally lively table of young Italian friends both of which tables included us in their revelries. The food was fair to medium and though the service was pleasant it was often slow. The first course took longest to serve and subsequent courses came in a rush. Food in the self service buffet was rather basic and lacking in choice except for the pasta which was freshly cooked on the spot. Another disappointing area was the library which had very few books and was open for very short periods of time. The evening entertainment was surprisingly good despite the multi-lingual audience. The crew's own show was enjoyable, the highlight of which was the singing of our English language rep, Holly, who incidentally was excellent throughout the cruise. The ports of call were fine, the only gripe being the 9 euro per person charge for the "courtesy" coaches in the non-Italian ports. Deck space was good with plenty of loungers to relax on. The spa facilities were good but my wife felt that the pressure to avail of further treatments and to purchase expensive lotions bordered on unacceptable hard-sell techniques. All in all we found the cruise very relaxing and enjoyable and despite the miner gripes mentioned above we would certainly recommend Costa cruises and we will certainly be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
What a pleasant surprise this cruise was after reading the poor reviews!! The ship was very clean and the staff was very friendly and made my husband & I feel very welcome. The food was very good and the the service was ... Read More
What a pleasant surprise this cruise was after reading the poor reviews!! The ship was very clean and the staff was very friendly and made my husband & I feel very welcome. The food was very good and the the service was excellent. We were ated with other English speaking couples at dinner who were also enjoying the cruise. The tips are billed at the end of the cruise but we felt the service was so good that we gave an additional tip to the cabin steward and the waiters. We had a balconey cabin on deck 7 & our cabin steward Reina made sure that our cabin was always and & inviting to come back to. If you can afford it the balconey is the way to go! A couple at our dinner table were on deck two and they said they were awakened at 4AM every morning for the staff wake up call. We are not smokers even though smoking is allowed in the cabins for those that do, there was no odor from any previous smokers. There is no smoking in the eating areas or the lounges and it is enforced. We were a little disappointed that a few excursions were cancelled due to low sign up. Most of the excursions we went on were pleasant, but unfortunately we did not go on the one that everyone said was fantastic-the excursion to Monaco. There are mostly Europeans on this cruise so the announcements are in several languages, English being the last. Some staff spoke much better English than others, but all the staff we met spoke enough English to be helpful. Holly is the hostess for the English speaking and is very helpful and readily available if needed (She also has a great singing voice!). There were 2 formal nights; most men wore suits & not a tux, most women wore evening dresses and a few wore gowns. The shows wee not Broadway quality but were enjoyable, especially the ventriloquist. There are no washcloths for the shower, I brought a bath sponge which worked out very well. A must to pack is Downey wrinkle releaser-it works fantastic on wrinkled clothes-no need for pressing! There is an outlet in the room that does not need a converter. The hair drier works well enough. Don't forget to pack an umbrella and light raincoat-you never know if you need it. Our weather was beautiful but we did get one day of rain. Happily, overall it was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We knew we would not be alone on this last minute decided vacations (8/11 to 8/18) on the Costa Serena and knew what to expect on a boat of this size when full of sheep's (sorry passengers). For Costa we are not customers. Service is ... Read More
We knew we would not be alone on this last minute decided vacations (8/11 to 8/18) on the Costa Serena and knew what to expect on a boat of this size when full of sheep's (sorry passengers). For Costa we are not customers. Service is low average and you often have the impression when making a request that you're just a piece of annoyance for them. I had a very hot discussion with the tour manager who called security (what a joke) just because i was disagreeing with her publicly on the transfer rates to join the port of Ibiza to the down town area. 9 EUR per person for 4,2 kms (i checked the bus meter). A 60 usd charge for our family of six ... No free wifi when in ports, still charged at horrendous rates and a very lousy service. Breakfast main rooms close for instance at 830 am... yes no kidding. Then you have the 9th floor where probably a good thousand people are trying to get some black juice at the same time, Bread is not fresh .... Another disagreement is the constant noisy atmosphere. They repeat announcements in five or six languages for three or four times. Impossible to concentrate when you want to read something. To the point we disconnected the speaker in our room ... yeah I shall have no pride having done that but gosh they really broke my nerves. At last if you guys are non smokers, avoid this ship. IT STINKS. People are allowed to smoke everywhere in full contradiction with the local laws of the crossed countries waters. All in all.... AVOID Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The cabins and cabin service was excellent except that my veranda had no lounge chair, two dirty patio chairs and was showered daily by coal soot from the chimney. The Food in formal restaurant was pretty mediocre, overcooked fish, ... Read More
The cabins and cabin service was excellent except that my veranda had no lounge chair, two dirty patio chairs and was showered daily by coal soot from the chimney. The Food in formal restaurant was pretty mediocre, overcooked fish, undercooked pasta, blend chewy poultry, tastless tomatoes (For June in Italy) and horrible lettuce, although they tried for grandiose 6 course dinners. Wines are expensive. The informal restaurant was like a school cafeteria at best , all plastic plates, glasses, cups. Food very poor, choices very very repetitive. Menus rather unhealthy, big lines. Breakfast was the worst. Never went hungry but never enjoyed the food either. The shows were of low quality, one was just a video where there were less than 20 people in attendance, that says it all on a ship with thousands to entertain. The pools are totally overcrowded and taken over by children, they get murky quickly and they are so small that 3 strokes and you are at the other end. The free sport classes are only 25 min long and so beginner level. They are given in a place where smokers are allowed and kids scream. On the ship in general, smoking is on all decks and lots of lounges. You cant sunbathe without a smoker nearby, except my own cabin where I got sprayed with Chimney soot!!! nice alternative. Spa staff was rude, contrary to others that were extremely nice and attentive. The clientele is rather low end Europeans, mostly Germans that push and shove to get to the top of the line. The free seminars were a in fact a sales pitch to get you to buy a fitness assessment. The excursion are run in-house with inexperienced guides and buses crammed with 4 languages. Cost for a return 2 km ride to downtown by bus without guide was 9 euros in Ibiza. Internet was slow, and a rip-off, they make you pay for time to do the mandatory registration, so checking email 5 minutes came to 11 euros... This week was a big mistake that did not come cheap at about $1600 + mandatory gratuity of 49 Euros for one week. Could have book a week for a delightful stay at Club Med instead with great food. Stay away from Costa, I have way more bad stuff to report but you probably get the drift by now.But the funniest was the closing session host telling us that in the satisfaction survey we must fill everything with excellent because it we thought it was fair, the Americans from Carnival who own Costa expected a "excellent" rating. Something's lost in translation, Fair is Excellent on Costa! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
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
The ship is new and big, but the design is no grand as other mainstreem cruise ships that we have been too. Common areas are very small and crowded. Pools and hot tubs looked small & crowded so we never used them. The foods were ... Read More
The ship is new and big, but the design is no grand as other mainstreem cruise ships that we have been too. Common areas are very small and crowded. Pools and hot tubs looked small & crowded so we never used them. The foods were bad on the first day but after that foods were very good. A variety of choices for buffet breakfast, luchn or tea. There were pizza throughout the day. Coffee was bad and there were no juice for lunch, only water and coffee. Dinners in dinning room were very good. There were special nights such as Italian, Gala nights with special performances by dinning room staff. The atmostphere was very lively and fun. the shows in general were very nice and entertaining, especially the show where regular staff (such as waiters or stewards) performed. It was execellent. A variety of entertainment at the lounges/bars with dancing (ballroom, rock & roll or Italian style of dancing) Most cruisers are Italian or non English speaking. So we were assigned at dinner table where people did not speak English. We had to request the change to luckily English speaking people. From then on, dinners were enjoyable. Overall, Costa provided excellent values for your money. THe ports were very good and easy to explore. I would recommend Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We flew from Manchester to Savona via Amsterdam then had a 2+ hour drive by coach to join the Costa Serena and although the journey was tiring, the flights were good and luggage was booked straight through so no hassles. As soon as we ... Read More
We flew from Manchester to Savona via Amsterdam then had a 2+ hour drive by coach to join the Costa Serena and although the journey was tiring, the flights were good and luggage was booked straight through so no hassles. As soon as we stepped on board we thought it was all worthwhile. The ship is about four years old and very smart. We found our cabin quickly and our luggage arrived not many minutes later. No tea/coffee making facilities but free room service for breakfast. Cabin kept immaculate and very comfortable and equipped with safe/hairdryer. Bathroom as you would expect. Only one bar of soap and shampoo in dispenser on the wall but not a problem. We had expected to be in the minority as English speakers on an Italian ship and that was certainly the case but we had no problems with the French, Italians, Germans and Spanish on board. Staff all spoke fluently in loads of languages - felt rather ashamed of my lack of language skills. Ate in the Vesta restaurant and serving staff were all pleasant and helpful. Food was on the whole excellent - yes it was Italian but what do you expect on an Italian ship. The buffet for breakfast and lunch had fresh pasta, pizza, a grill with chicken, burgers, fish etc plus the general buffet with salads, cold meats, casseroles, more fish etc etc. The problem was knowing which to choose and when to stop! We had purchased the drinks package before sailing that gave us free glasses of beer, wine or soft drinks in the buffet at lunch or main dining room at night and cost about £160 but we had no problem getting as many drinks as we wanted and without the additional 15% tax on everything so felt this worked out well for us. There are loads of decks on which to catch the sun as well as by the main pool or the quiet pool (not always as quiet as I would have liked!) Other comments have been made about children being allowed in the jacuzzis and this was the case for us also. However, we usually just hid away on one of the upper decks with our books and enjoyed the November sunshine. We will certainly look out for Costa cruises in the future as we enjoyed the mix of nationalities rather than being totally British. I would recommend that you look for one of the newer ships as we saw the Costa Allegra in one port and it looked a bit old and weary but don't be put off Costa by the adverse reviews - go with an open mind and enjoy meeting new friends of all nationalities! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We were excited with this departure and the ports that were offered as well as an opportunity to practice our language skills with the various European guests. The ship is lovely and our stateroom verandah was wonderful. It was well ... Read More
We were excited with this departure and the ports that were offered as well as an opportunity to practice our language skills with the various European guests. The ship is lovely and our stateroom verandah was wonderful. It was well designed and our exceptional steward kept it immaculate. We met a French couple our first evening and were surprised to learn that they were departing the next day in Marseille. We eventually learned that guests embark and disembark at each port. We never were able to gain a ship synergy as when all the guests embark simultaneously, however, it was quite interesting seeing the different European groups coming and going. The food was very well prepared, fresh and offered a decent variety. The restaurant staff did an admirable job given the numerous languages they are required to work in. We normally avoid buffets but the breakfast buffet was expansive and we had the opportunity to have personalized omelets made as we watched...a very short wait. Our only complaint was the tour excursions. We had pre-confirmed tours and our first tour was cancelled. It took a lot of energy on our part to secure a substitute that was adquate. Our tour in Catania (Sicilty)combined French and English speaking guests. The guide had to translate back and forth and we often missed some of the sites during the translation. More time spent having coffee and shopping than touring...a waste of money. However, the tour to Pompeii was exceptional with Professor Romano guiding us back in time...AMAZING! We had a pre-paid transfer as we had to catch an international flight. We were booked on the latest departure in error and were treated rudely by the excursion staff. Their resolution: take a taxi (at our own expense). They have refused to refund the price of the transfer. Taxis are plentiful and significantly less money and the most direct way to get to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if ... Read More
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if we were to take advantage of the vouchers, use them immediately or forget it. Although we had till October 2012 to use them, when looking at the prices for next year, would have cost us double then what the vouchers were worth. We so glad we took the cruse when we did... Why wait an extra year & pay $800 more, to get disappointed. Do not get us wrong, when looking to purchase the cruise, We did look for the most inexpensive one Costa was offering. With our discounts on the cruise with the vouchers and the fact we had enough points to receive an addition savings from our booking agent and to receive a room with a balcony on the 8th deck..Plus we wanted to stay in Barcelona(the port we embarked on) so we payed for all 5 nights at our hotel through air miles, in all made for an inexpensive trip.. The passengers you get on an inexpensive cruise, will reflect on the type of clientele. Being NorthAmerican of Italian background, made it easier to understand the European mentality... No wonder the people at customer service & tour organizers smiled at us when we needed assistance.... Guess what we are saying is, between the rudeness of the Italians and the arrogance of the French, everyone else that was left on the trip were pleasant...Over all we look at this outing as time off.. The ports were nice, the weather could have been better(That is not Costa's fault) and our stay in Barcelona, was a great experience... All in all, the reason we took advantage of the offer was because we really enjoyed the first cruise on the Costa Pacifica.... Although the staff on board, by the time the week was over, were very good to us....But.....You Get What You Pay For Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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
Just got back from our first cruise on the Costa Serena . There was eight of us in our party and we travelled on the first week in October. Some things were excellent and some were poor . Fist the good bits . The ship was excellent very ... Read More
Just got back from our first cruise on the Costa Serena . There was eight of us in our party and we travelled on the first week in October. Some things were excellent and some were poor . Fist the good bits . The ship was excellent very big and very clean . The staff which were mostly from the Pillopeans were again excellent ,and so was the food . THE disappointing bits . There was only 12 English passengers on board and we only spoke to one English crew member . So out of a ship full about 3000 passengers you felt a bit out of it . There was only one draft beer which was Carlsberg Lager at 5.18 Euros for a 400ml glass . The entertainment was very low key and nothing for the English . Out of the ports of call . Barcelona was very good ,and we enjoyed Palma (mainly because it was pretty English).The other places we visited were average to poor .Our main grumble was the 15% service charge that was on everything you purchased on board plus the 49 euros you each had to pay at the end of your trip . So out of a total spend of 500 euros between the two of us . 200 euros of that was service charges . As we never dream of tipping some one 200 euros we thought it was a bit much . Overall we all enjoyed the cruise and thought it was not bad value for the 539 each that we had payed for it . But having said that , if we did another one , we would only go on an English Ship Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Costa Serena Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 2.0 3.1
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 3.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.6

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