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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My family had a great time, we really did, but we probably won't do this ship again. My kids are 8 and 6 and they loved it. This particular trip was organized by a local tourist company based out of Nanjing. Originally it was to go to ... Read More
My family had a great time, we really did, but we probably won't do this ship again. My kids are 8 and 6 and they loved it. This particular trip was organized by a local tourist company based out of Nanjing. Originally it was to go to Korea, but after MERS and the river cruise boat flipping, they've had to change courses. It's our first time with Costa, previously we have done Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Disney. Just trying to board the ship was a different experience. Very crowded. I've never experienced this before. Lines yes, but crowded lines, not really. Seems like they could have done a better job managing the flow of people. In the past we have always gotten our stateroom keys and paired our credit cards before heading on board. This was the first time where we had to go to our rooms first to get our stateroom keys. Our luggages were already there. Then we had to go to one of the few portals and pair our credit cards to our cards. There was something wrong with the machines. You have to leave a digital signature and we tried multiple times and it wouldn't go through. Finally we signed in Chinese instead of English and it was fine. Forgive me if my memory is wrong, but I believe in the past all drinks on cruises except for alcoholic drinks are basically free. Like your basic milk, juices, and cokes. Well not on Costa. They sell multiple drink packages. There's a drink package where you can have a limit of 10 drinks per day. Or unlimited beer per day. Then they sell this "unlimited" package, or that's how it's labeled. The kicker is everybody in the same room has to pay for the same package (it's a little cheaper for the kiddos). Which is fine, my husband and I don't like feeling restricted so we opted for that. Except apparently the staff didn't really know how to get it done. First one staff member tried really hard to convince us we didn't want this package and tried selling us another package. Then we were told we can do this at any bar, which we went to a bar on the 5th floor and the guy was obviously confused. Taking his time, calling for help. Once it worked and we tested it, we still ran into problems. At dinner for example, our waiter said he could not get it to work. Finally my husband went to guest services and were told we need new cards, and they would print our stateroom cards with the word "extra" on the back. This was also fine, except guest services was so incredibly rude. The lady at first refused to be helpful at all. My husband had to ask for the manager to come. And even the manager had to do some convincing for the lady to print four cards. So it's finally working and we find out, really it's not an "all-inclusive" or "un-limited" drink package at all. For example I can only have original margarita, can't have the blue or pink margarita. And they have this drink of the day deal, also not included. I remember all the other cruises had soft-serve ice-cream at the buffet. This one has a vending machine for ice-cream. The staterooms are decent. I don't remember which cruise I was on that provided on-board mobile phones, easy for staying in contact with other family members. This cruise does not have this. My kids had a bunk bed. We slept well in general. The TV was a nice flat screen. The bathrooms - they do not stock shampoo or conditioner like the other cruises. I had to go to the spa to buy some (but it was not expensive). The shower floods. Basically if more than one person needs to shower in a row, your bathroom well flood and it takes a while to drain. They use shower curtains. In general the staff members were great. Some spoke Chinese, most spoke English. We had a few more run-ins with guest services and always really really rude. Literally my husband got to the guest services desk and the guy at the counter just said "what?". There was no "how can I help you" kind of attitude at all. At the end of the trip they ask for everyone to fill out a survey, and they had it in Chinese only. Another thing that made us feel nickled and dimed was when we found our room service costed money. All the other cruise ships - it is definitely included. My kids tried out the children club and didn't like it. Said the staff was really cold and not nice at all. They wouldn't go back. Okay to the positives. Dining service was beyond compare. Of all the cruises this was the best dining service in terms of family fun. The servers put on a small show every night and it was always very funny. The food was excellent as well. The shows were fun. The casino is a good decent size, but the lowest bet is 25USD. The arcade is well done. Very well done. It was easy to play games by swiping your stateroom card. And the card keeps the points. Then there's a machine where you can pick our toys based on your points. This is my first time on a cruise where almost everyone is Chinese. It was fun. The dance floors were always full. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Where do I start? After reading many terrible reviews of the Costa Serena after I had booked this cruise I should've learnt my lesson & cancelled it! Several times I tried to contact Costa by email prior to departing with some ... Read More
Where do I start? After reading many terrible reviews of the Costa Serena after I had booked this cruise I should've learnt my lesson & cancelled it! Several times I tried to contact Costa by email prior to departing with some requests but to no avail, they don't seem to acknowledge any sort of email enquiry. So why was I suprised that when I tried to call them they didn't answer the phone either? To my better judgement we decided to go ahead with the cruise, as we particularly wanted to see this side of the world & with only Costa available to this area we had no choice. We spent 3 wonderful days in Dubai staying in a lovely hotel before boarding the Costa Serena. (Wish we had stayed in Dubai now!) we wanted to board the ship during the day but all the information we had told us we could only board after 8pm. What utter rubbish!! We decided to go to the port early & try to get on board. Evidently people had been boarding since about 1pm, we got there about 4pm. My first impression was at the port, there was one girl doing the check in with a face like a fish and no courtesy what so ever. On other ships we had to leave a deposit on either on a card or cash, nothing was requested here? On arrival into the main atrium I found it dowdy and gloomy with not much light. The decor was appalling!! Then I noticed what sounded like drilling and chipping noises, LOUD!! When I looked up on the next deck there were maintenance men working on what would've been the shops? I just assumed that perhaps it was something they done when in port? How wrong was I, the work was continuous the whole duration of our cruise. The noise limits were endless. You couldn't sit to relax with a drink you couldn't hear the music being played for the horrendous sounds coming from the workforce above. We then ventured to other parts of the ship to find some areas divided where some areas were not accessible, workmen were walking around the ship carrying huge boards of plasterboards over guests heads?? What have we come to I asked myself?? As our cabin was not available until 8pm & we couldn't access our bags as all the doors to the cabins on each deck were not only shut but locked?? We had no choice but to arrive in the dining for our evening meal in the clothes we had travelled in.lucky for us we had a table of 6 & we were all English ( not many on board) the waiters were very attentive but we did seem to wait a while between each course. The choice was not very large (compared to other cruise ships) & the food was not very variable and tasteless. We were on the all inclusive drinks package & it was worth every penny as the drinks on board were expensive. Only trouble was you were not allowed a bottle of water it had to be a glass! The dining room was fine for the evening meal we ate in Vesta restaurant, but forget having breakfast or lunch there, it was a nightmare! We went twice to each then forgot it. The service was appalling & so was the food. Once I waited 20 minutes for a coffee?? So we went to the self service restaurant on deck 9. Although it was the same choice every day, breakfast was continental, cereals, fruit, pastries,anything that was suppose to be hot clearly was not & the waiters made no attempt to clear the tables until you walked away & had finished. At lunchtime there was pasta, carvery, salad, bread, soup & desserts of fruit, cakes of some description. It was not horrendous but the only trouble is after getting your food there were no tables available so by the time you found a table your food was cold!! The bar staff that continually parade around the restaurant conveniently chose to ignore the British guests unless you were lucky enough to grab one & ask them to serve you. The entertainment team were very amateurish & the shows were the worst I've ever witnessed. The first was a magician, we walked out half way through it was unbelievable! Most of the staff had a couldn't give a damn attitude & it became very stressful! The noise & dust from the continuous Maintenance going on around the ship really ruined our cruise along with the attitude of the staff, the dim gloomy cabins and dreadful decor on board, together with the awful entertainment and plain unimaginable food made this our worst cruise ever! The jacuzzi turned my new swimsuit brown (far too much chlorine in the water) when I complained to the guests services they were not interested & told me to claim on my insurance?! After a lengthy argument with them I demanded to see the Captain, who obviously doesn't deal with such trivialities!! I was told it will be dealt with & a letter will be with you within a few hours with a decision as to what can be done. After 8 hours I had heard nothing so returning to see them I demanded to see someone of higher authority. When speaking to her I was told nothing can be done on board & it has to be dealt with when I get home. With my previous experience of trying to contact Costa I don't hold out much hope?? There attitude was unbelievable & they really couldn't care less. The queue was so long when we had finished our meeting with her & everyone was complaining about one thing or another. There were several pools on board, we decided to use the "Adult Pool" at the Aft of the ship on deck 9. Unfortunately though this was not adhered to as plenty of European kids decided they would use it "bomb" every guest using it! The pool attendant asked them to use but as in the case of many situations they decided to ignore it!! The pool slide was out of action the whole duration due to maintenance but actually no work was seen to be done? The 4D Cinema was not in English & had no sound!!! Unfortunately for everyone on board on Thursday we experienced a sandstorm which meant that we couldn't really get off the ship back in Dubai. This meant it was another day we had to endure the ship! There was no additional entertainment to enjoy and soon the ship became very full with lots of disgruntled guests hanging around. im not convinced that the ports of call in Oman were of any interest, in particular Khasab! We thought as many guests did that they should forget Khasab and have 2 days in Abu Dhabi where there was so much more to see & do & not enough time for only having 1 day. Probably though knowing all the savings Costa was trying to make this was just another? So to sum it all up, would I do another Costa cruise? NO WAY NOT IF THEY PAID ME!!! Someone recently wrote saying this was the Ryanair of cruise ships, this is an understatement!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Let's start with a basic, fly for 8 hours and are met by nice air conditioned car to Dubia port where told would not be allowed to board for 5 hours, 3pm and waited in cramped uncomfortable lounge ...when asked why the delay told nothing ... Read More
Let's start with a basic, fly for 8 hours and are met by nice air conditioned car to Dubia port where told would not be allowed to board for 5 hours, 3pm and waited in cramped uncomfortable lounge ...when asked why the delay told nothing to do with Costa, just wait. At 3 they started to call numbers based on cards given when booking in, but we were not given one because I complained at poor attitude of booking in clerk. I realised this was now to be treated as a laugh and not ruin our trip. 5 hours later we were allowed in our room which was OK but to late to change for dinner. Good job really as the scrum for food was a joke and that was followed by average food, chuched on the table. The dinner places for rest of trip OK and a table of 8 acceptable even with the argumentative Russian, but overall our table was fine....rest of food for week was average. The ship looks like something from Hi Di Hi and the entertainment staff could have improved from watching it ....they may have raised their standard. All the shops were closed for refurbishment so they blocked the isles with their clearance tat. We found the bar staff attentive and quick to advise us which drinks on the cocktail list they could not have as they did not have it in stock. Also which drinks our all inclusive drinks package we could not have not based on price but on how busy was. Overall a good laugh but do not call it luxury cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Arrived at the port at 3pm after a late check out from our hotel. Embarkation was a breeze. Purchased drinks package prior to sailing and was able to use it immediately. Ok, our cabin wasn't ready till 8pm, but we knew that prior to ... Read More
Arrived at the port at 3pm after a late check out from our hotel. Embarkation was a breeze. Purchased drinks package prior to sailing and was able to use it immediately. Ok, our cabin wasn't ready till 8pm, but we knew that prior to sailing so we were prepared. Food was surprisingly good, pasta dishes were great. We had lovely fillet mignon, delicious king prawns and tasty fish. Our waiters were great and our glasses never empty of wine. Entertainment in all the bars was good. Never had a problem with grumpy staff. All the staff we encountered were lovely and very accommodating, even the reception staff. For what we paid, it was great value. Ship was spotlessly clean and cabin was very comfortable. Would we cruise with Costa again? In a heartbeat if the price was right! Great winter sun vacation! Go with an open mind and you won't be disappointed. We did meet people who moaned about everything but we honestly had a lovely cruise. We have cruised RCI,NCL, Celebrity, P&O, Princess, and our favourite, Azamara. For what we paid it was great value. The only complaint I would have is that the buffet was only open 2 nights out of 7, but again, I knew this from cruise critic. Room service was sufficient and tasty and available until 11pm. Go with an open mind and relaxed attitude and you won't be disappointed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Whilst not a major cruiser we have completed enough to know this was the worst of our experiences and total rubbish. We will never cruise with Costa again. As part of a package advertised on cruise critic we spent 4 days in Dubai then 7 ... Read More
Whilst not a major cruiser we have completed enough to know this was the worst of our experiences and total rubbish. We will never cruise with Costa again. As part of a package advertised on cruise critic we spent 4 days in Dubai then 7 days aboard the Costa Serena. Our first dissapiontment was being transferred from hotel to port embarkation arriving just after midday to be told we could not gain access to cabins untill 8pm. Whilst annoyed and frustrated we did notice some passengers sleeping on the more comfortable seats who had arrived around 9am following overnight flights from the uk. Imagine how they felt. We couldn't understand this as the ship had docked the previous day early morning. At app 5pm we were allowed to board to gain access to the buffet restaurant to at least get something to eat. Getting to our cabin at app 7.50pm we found it to be a reasonable size and comfortable. At breakfast we chose the Al la carte restaurant preferring not to get involved in the rush at the buffet counters. Orange SQUASH was available but when I asked for orange juice I was told there is a charge of normally €4.50 (but was on offer of €3.50). At the end of breakfast, filter coffee was served but a choice of say, cappuccino or latte etc incurred a charge of €4.50. It was interesting to note that following breakfast orange SQUASH machines were switched off and not available at any other time although orange juice could still be purchased. Again at dinner, coffee was only available if purchased. A drinks package was available to purchase at (alcoholic) €25 pppd or (non alcoholic) €15 pppd. I did experience many passengers complaining that having purchased the alcoholic package, were disappointed to find that when selecting wine it was house red or white. If you wanted a particular wine, say a Chardonnay or Cabernet, you would have to pay for a bottle (not even a glass was available). There was a staff service charge of €8 pppd, and whilst I did not have a problem with this I objected to a 15% surcharge on all and every other purchase. Why not just add it to the price. Even to request a bottle of water cost €4.50 plus 15%. Water was available in the cabin but again only from the mini bar at the usual cost. There was a cinema available but again a charge was made. A small pizza restaurant was available but again, at a charge. There was a large amount of maintenance work going on and many passengers made complaints although we were not personally affected. Talking to fellow passengers it became apparent that almost everyone was dissatisfied with the whole experience. Talking at breakfast to an elderly retired Italian lady professor and a seasoned Costa cruiser, she was most disappointed. She had made numerous complaints and vowed never to sail with Costa again. The evening dinner was excellent and could not be faulted and we were fortunate to have a table of 4 other very pleasant passengers. We were very puzzled as to why the farewell dinner was held on the Tuesday when the cruise didn't end untill the Friday . The entertainment provided by our waiter/catering staff was most amusing and enjoyable. The evening entertainment in the theatre was ok, not great but not bad. Shore excursions were expensive and as usual, could be purchased at dockside considerably cheaper, particularly the "Big Bus" tours. I elected to complete a customer survey/questionnaire online via an email to be sent to me by costa, interesting to note, no survey/questionnaire has been sent to me. Maybe they don't want to get my opinions. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015

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

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

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015

I really don't know where to start! A disaster from day 1. This was my 13th cruise and without any shadow of a doubt the worst ship and company I've ever sailed with.

There were however 2 good points......1. The few nice ... Read More

I really don't know where to start! A disaster from day 1. This was my 13th cruise and without any shadow of a doubt the worst ship and company I've ever sailed with.

There were however 2 good points......1. The few nice passengers we met 2. Getting off the ship

Never have I encountered such, rude, ignorant, miserable, unhelpful crew. EVERYTHING was a chore! If you want a drink fetch it yourself. We asked to be seated on a table just for 2 people at the lunch service, which I wish I'd never bothered for the trouble it caused. The waiters were mocking us for even asking, the reply was literally 'no, full'

Don't expect to have a choice of beverages, every wine I picked on the wine list was out of stock until they eventually TOLD me which wine I could have. Same with the beers, again I didn't have a choice. The ship was full and yet no stock.

Only 1 shop was open on board, the rest were screened over and a sign on every window closed for maintenance. As was the smoking room (closed after 2 days of sailing) and which will apparently never open again so wherever you may be on the ship you have to head to deck 10 outside.

3 days we went without air con EVERYWHERE on the ship. When I enquired the reply was simply 'later'. 1 morning we awoke to our toilet not flushing, again when enquiring all I got told was 'later' one and a half hour later still the same reply, I said I really need the toilet what am I supposed to do? 'Use a toilet on any deck at the front of the ship' why this couldn't have been explained the first time we asked I will never know. Rude rude rude!

Food......rubbish! Bland and some items inedible, wouldn't have fed them my dog. The veal shank was a mass of jelly and fat. The buffet.....good luck! We paid every morning to get breakfast in the cabin for the safe option as trying to even get near the food stations is a fight.....and believe me the food ain't worth fighting for.

We nearly got off the cruise early in 2 ports as we were so fed up. LUCKILY for us we were disembarking a day early anyway due to flights and even though we'd still paid for a full 7 nights cruise, our cruise cards got cut off on our last night even though we were in credit with the ship! They owed us and we couldn't get a drink!

It's not worth your time even complaining onboard because nobody could care less. There's no apologies, you get a grunt, a huff or a 'later'.

The cabin was ok, we had a suite but no robes, slippers or fruit bowl, other suites did. I mentioned this but apparently to have those amenities you have to pay for butler service?

All the fellow passengers we spoke to (English) said the same as us.....never again!

The best part was getting off the ship which we didn't get any help with our cases. Conveniently that day we were told 'today no porter service' so 2 women travelling alone struggled with 3 cases weighing 27kg each down the gangway. To be fair at this point I couldn't have cared less, I would have carried them on my head just to be off that pathetic excuse of a ship.

We had a fantastic 16 day holiday before embarking on the cruise and this just spoilt the holiday. Like I say this was my 13th cruise and have never had to make a complaint before.

Please think twice before booking on this cruise. You will save yourself a lot of hassle and money. Far better companies out there than costa and we will be taking this further in hope of being compensated.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evening Meal

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

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

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

FISH BROTH

SEAFOOD RAVILOI

SALAD SELECTION

CRUSTED HAKE WIH VEGETABLES

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

TIRAMASU

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

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

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

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

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

Dress Code

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

Bars/Lounges/Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

Would I choose Costa Again?

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

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

I would without doubt choose Costa again.

 

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015

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

GOOD POINTS:

Lovely weather

Large clean ship

Entertainment group worked hard and shows were good

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

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

GOOD POINTS:

Lovely weather

Large clean ship

Entertainment group worked hard and shows were good

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

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

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

Disembarkation was pretty straight forward as well.

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

NOT SO GOOD POINTS:

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

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

Buffet selection was quiet repetitive.

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

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

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

No working ice cream machines that were advertised.

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

TOP TIPS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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