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146 Costa Serena Cruise Reviews

We are regular Costa Cruisers, and have enjoyed many good trips on several ships. Our stay pre cruise was in the fabulous Meydan Hotel on the race course with wonderful food and accommodation. Wish we could say the same for the rest of our ... Read More
We are regular Costa Cruisers, and have enjoyed many good trips on several ships. Our stay pre cruise was in the fabulous Meydan Hotel on the race course with wonderful food and accommodation. Wish we could say the same for the rest of our trip. We were in an inside cabin which was clean apart from a stained carpet. We felt that this was not a happy ship, few smiling faces apart from our cabin steward and restaurant waiters The food at breakfast was usually cold and bacon seemed to be in short supply ,sometimes served from a plate and when it did arrive was either burnt or nearly raw It. was obvious that staff could not keep up with the demand .At lunch pizzas were cold. When ship was at sea it was impossible to find a sunbed or even a chair to sit on, obviously not enough for a full capacity of passengers. People seemed to be out very early in order to place towels on beds. This was against rules but no one in authority takes any notice. The dress code was not adhered to and people were turning up for Gala Nights in shorts and T Shirts. We complained to the Maitre De who was very nice but was unwilling to make any approach to the offenders .He said that if he mentioned this the person would say he was harassing them and would report him to his manager. If this is the case it is a waste of paper giving passengers advice on dress code .We would also like to know who gets the tips as we asked a member of staff and he did not get anything. Costa are receiving about £140,000.That equates to £130 per crew member per full cruise plus service charges on drinks ..We wonder who gets that! We asked a few crew members and they said that they do not receive it. Perhaps Costa could confirm this. Lastly I will mention lack of handwash gel, and no supervision. Lucky not to have health problems as so many people did not use them. On arrival back to the ship no handwash was available. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We had a great time - much better than expected. We had a balcony cabin this time which we loved. Bigger than many other ships. Similar formula to most other cruises except for no casual evening buffet. We had opted for late sitting so ... Read More
We had a great time - much better than expected. We had a balcony cabin this time which we loved. Bigger than many other ships. Similar formula to most other cruises except for no casual evening buffet. We had opted for late sitting so didn't really notice it. We also arrived from an overnight flight and just changed at the airport and got a taxi to port and dropped our bags off then taxi into Dubai. I noticed lots of people sitting in terminal building and some asking to get on at that time!!! They seemed a bit annoyed that they had to wait until 3pm, but no other cruise would let you on at this time so why would Costa?We returned about 6'ish and got straight on with no queues. We sat around for a short time as everyone was told that cabin entry would be 8.30pm. We thought this quite odd that they would all be ready at the same time so went and had a look and ours was ready and I'm sure others would have been too. Food the first night was awful but perfect after that so no complaints. We did take our travel kettle etc with us so that also made a difference. No problem taking water on board from ports. Great time for a great price - would now go with Costa again. Ports were easy but been to all before so Muscat was new for us and we had a fantastic beach day at Shangri-La resort with lunch. Beautiful place and would love to return. The souqs were good if you want souvenirs. Biggest tip for anyone going to Dubai would be to get around using the metro. Its a really cheap way to see the sights. You can download a map of the metro stations and just get a taxi to the nearest stop. You can also get a separate mono rail to Atlantis which has wonderful panoramic views. Dubai is getting a bit more expensive all round but the quality is always there and always so much to see. Our last night was spent at Meydan Racecourse which has the wow factor and only costs a few pounds each for an upgraded seat.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first ever cruise and hence our first review on this site. A couple of earlier reviews of this ship on this website were very helpful for us so thank you for taking the trouble - they really helped us prepare and set ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and hence our first review on this site. A couple of earlier reviews of this ship on this website were very helpful for us so thank you for taking the trouble - they really helped us prepare and set expectations. We chose this particular cruise as a 'floating hotel' to see the fascinating places it stops at (Dubai / Muscat / Khasab / Abu Dhabi) rather than for a cruise experience per se. We booked several excursions through cruisingexcursions.com - I wouldn't use them again. Before we arrived we received conflicting/confusing information about embarkation procedures, as did others. Many disgruntled folk had been transferred to the port from the airport in the morning but did not know that they were not allowed into their cabin till 8pm. Cabin was clean and pleasant inside (an outside cabin with small balcony) with plenty of storage space. The balcony was a bit grubby and many people used their balcony for smoking which made sitting outside rather unpleasant for a non smoker as the smell of cigarette smoke wafted down the length of the ship. The ship is decidedly Italian and the décor awesome but not in a good way. The interior design team should have been sacked at an early stage in the process but were seemingly allowed to realise their nightmare visions unrestrained. Such extreme design is bound to irritate a good proportion of any audience and that included me. That together with the wretched music in every public area of the ship made our cabin a welcome retreat. Still the holiday was cheap (I kept telling myself). We were told that the average passenger consumes 5.2 meals per day on the ship. The food was certainly plentiful and some of it was really good and much of it healthy also. But looking at many of the passengers, taken together with the statistics, I concluded that dietary self control is a serious problem on cruises like this. The level of food waste, especially in the self service restaurants, was disturbing as some people piled vast quantities on to their plates only to leave much of it. The evening five course dining experience was varied with some excellent dishes and others less so. But not bad overall once we realised that it wasn't compulsory to eat every course. The service from staff varied considerably between wonderful and non existent. At times staff would walk at you as if you weren't there, whilst at other times staff were genuine and really made an effort to be friendly and helpful. Unlike the number of places in the lifeboats, there weren't enough sunbeds to go round. This provided excellent people-watching opportunities. I've never before seen people steal others' clean towels from sunbeds and replace them with their own dirty ones. The Giove Theatre seemed bigger than many UK provincial theatres. The nightly shows were glitzy and clearly had taken significant effort and resources to stage. They just got a bit samey and weren't all that entertaining judging by the efforts needed to get the audience to respond. We had a couple of 'hot stone' massages in the spa centre - a truly excellent service there. Wonderful. A disappointment for me was the complete cultural separation between the ship and the outside world - no attempt was made to educate or inform about the places being visited - no talks, no experts in middle east culture, art, religion etc to help us get more out of the experience. Just bar staff selling drinks packages and shops selling stuff you can get in a duty free shop anywhere. The excursions were a wonderful relief - these were the windows to get out and make the most of the short period in each of the fascinating places we stopped. The Costa excursions seemed much better organised but considerably more expensive than the cruisingexcursions.com trips we had booked. However we experienced various difficulties with ours (one excursion was cancelled without telling us and another left several people behind). The information and process for disembarkation was reminiscent of our experience of the Italian railway system at Pisa last year. None of what we were told actually happened in practice and we ended up carrying our own cases off the ship at 6am on our last day. Overall - would we go on a Costa cruise ever again? Absolutely not. Interestingly everyone we spoke to on the ship said the same. Should we be put off ever going on a cruise again? Most people said there were great cruising experiences to be had so we'll keep looking. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We have just returned from a lovely holiday on the Costa Serena visiting, Dubai, Muscat, Khasab and Abu Dhabi. We have travelled on Costa before so were prepared for the typical Italian style. Checking in could have been an issue if you ... Read More
We have just returned from a lovely holiday on the Costa Serena visiting, Dubai, Muscat, Khasab and Abu Dhabi. We have travelled on Costa before so were prepared for the typical Italian style. Checking in could have been an issue if you just had just flew in early in the morning as access to cabins was not until the evening. We were staying in Dubai before so arrived about 5pm which was perfect and the checking in process efficient. We found everything clean and comfortable but the ship's decor is looking a little tired. The food was very good. We didn't always get what we thought we might but it was never bad but we are adventurous. There was no shortage of sun loungers on deck but that didn't stop the inevitable "reserving with towels". Pool towels were provided and changed in the room. The optional drinks package was worth taking out to make the stay "all inclusive". Sadly Costa no longer include bottles of mineral water and there was a silly situation of people taking several glasses of water to their cabins to drink. The water provided in the cabin was charged separately at a ridiculous price. Also we discovered too late that a kettle and tea and coffee facilities are not provided in the cabin either. Another annoyance was that there was only one electrical power point. We were juggling with charging, phones, tablets and camera batteries. A hair dryer was provided separately. Entertainment was excellent and we liked the way that both early diners and late diners are able to watch the shows as there are two every night, except one when it was the Captain's Cocktail party, but the timings were arranged around that. The Samsara spa was lovely, using Elemis products but it is a bit expensive. We counted approx 15 nationalities of guests on the ship and announcements were made in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish. We only took one excursion arranged by the ship and it was very good. Other guests spoke highly of their excursions too and they were well arranged. Costa also had city Big Bus services meet the ship in Dubai and Anu Dhabi. All in all a good trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
A pretty looking ship standing so serenely in Dubai. The cruise ticket stated embarkation would commence at 8pm but I arrived much earlier and check-in and boarding actually started at 3pm. I do have to say one big downside was not being ... Read More
A pretty looking ship standing so serenely in Dubai. The cruise ticket stated embarkation would commence at 8pm but I arrived much earlier and check-in and boarding actually started at 3pm. I do have to say one big downside was not being able to access your cabin until 8pm which was really hard as many passengers had travelled on overnight flights from Europe and all over the ship you could hear mini-meltdowns happening from really tired people. With hindsight I should have just checked in the luggage and taken one of the free shuttle buses from the port to Dubai Mall and kept myself busy instead of killing 5 hours trudging around the ship with my carry-on waiting to get into my cabin. Having this extra "Zombie" time it gave me the chance to sit and study what was on offer. I did the comparing the bar prices with the all inclusive package and the 25 Euro daily charge was a deal for me as this included most of my favourite tipples. Eventually the call came over the PA system at 8.30pm saying the cabins were now ready. This was the first time I've ever experienced a late, late check-in and could only put this down to the previous guests vacating the cabins late. The inside cabin I was given on deck 7 surprised me with its size. The bathroom seemed to be larger than usual and the extra storage space was real treat more than enough room for clothes and luggage storage. The ship stayed overnight in Dubai and feeling as tired as I did it was wasted on me. I wasn't too impressed with the buffet provided but I appreciate when you are tired everything is worse so an earlier than normal night for bed it was for me. At the start of day 2 I approached the a bar manager and offered to buy the all inclusive package but insisted they only charge me for 6 days instead of the usual 7 as day one was just a write off in my opinion and he agreed to do this. On a positive note on disembarkation day back in Dubai the latest you can leave the ship is 3pm and the all inclusive package is still usable on this day also so the Irish coffee's were welcomed as I waited for my transfer. (Tip Number 1. If you decide to get a taxi at the port in Dubai, tell the driver not to start the meter until you leave the port gates. It takes forever to get out of the port and the extra 20/25 UAE Dirham's surcharge for a port pick-up is a joke). The sail-away from Dubai was a wonderful treat. The ship played "Time to say goodbye" over the PA system followed by "Over the rainbow" by the larger than life Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and catching sight of the QE2 as we pasted through the harbour I beamed from ear to ear thinking this is going to be a good one and of course, the sun was shining on the righteous lol... After the 10.30am sail-away on Day 2 this was a great time to start working on a suntan. Of course this same idea was had by 2000 other passengers so next time note to self. Get your beach towel from your wardrobe in your cabin and to save you spending half an hour looking for the towel station. Once you have your towel find a nice sun-bed on the lido deck and then watch then enjoy the sail-away before you continue to look rather snug as you have a sun-bed and now you have a perfect position to watch the hundreds of meltdowns and looting happening right in-front of you. The food in the main dining room was nicely presented and cooked to a very high quality. Being a regular Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruiser I would go as far to say the food on this cruise left Royal Caribbean in the shade and could possibly give Celebrity a run for its money. I just have one gripe about the evening dining set-up. Your choices are to eat in the main dining room or room service, and that's your lot! I found it strange no evening buffet was provided but I had to keep reminding myself "well this is how these do it so stop comparing". Muscat was our first port of call. Just bite the bullet and get a taxi to take you to the Sultan's Palace and old Muscat if you don't fancy being a sheep on one of the excursions. If you want a beach like I did after my bout of cultural intake head for the Crowne Plaza. Cost me 10 Euros each way from the Port and well worth it. The beach is stunning and I was lucky to pick-up free wifi. In all of my travels the sunset I saw that evening will stay with me forever. The second Port in Oman is to a place I'm still trying to work out some two weeks later. The small enclave of Khasab is in my opinion a one horse town and the day I visited the horse had bolted. If you want a beach walk out of the port, turn right and walk ten minutes and once around the corner the beach will be in-front of you. Don't go expecting something stunning because you'll be disappointed but if you need to be by the coast and escape the "European Razzmatazz" of the ship then it will do. Take food and drink with you because you'll not get any at this beach. Now for the brave. If you don't do a ships excursion catch the free shuttle into the town. On the way ask the driver to STOP at the castle and go and check it out. Te entrance cost me 3 Euros and I got some stunning photos. After I had finished at the castle I just waited for another minibus to pass and then continued the journey to the town centre. This town must and should be twinned with a small village in India or Mars... The Mosque looked pretty but a day trip to a slum just doesn't float my boat. Don't let me colour your judgement on this place but when you do get it and the light goes on please let know lol.... Beautiful Abu Dhabi was will be the last port of call before you head back to Dubai. You will find the first free shuttle bus to the World Trade Centre Mall does not come until 10am so don't break your neck to get off this ship is this is your idea of a day out. You will see the horror in the taxi drivers eyes when you ask him to take you to the Mall. These boys are after the ones with the cash who want to booked them for a few hour city tour. Do it yourself and save a fortune doing what I did. I jumped into the taxi, closed the door and instructed the driver to take me to the Port gates. You could see the relief coming from him as he is obliged to take you as the Port officials are watching. Once you are at the Port Gates catch bus number 9 or 11. Pay the 2 Dirham's for the 30 minute journey to the Marina Mall. The photos you'll take along the way will be fanatic and for less than 0.50c you are now at the place of the rich and famous. Once you've hit the Mall walk across the bridge towards the beautiful Cornish and within 15/20 minutes on your right you will be left spell bounded with the Emirate Palace which is an absolute must do. Once you have finished at the Emirate Palace head back to the Mall and look for bus numbers 54, 34, 32, 32 & 52. For the 2 Dirham's all of the buses will take you to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is a GOT TO DO. The beautiful mosque will blow your mind and all I could think about when visiting was the 1001 Arabian Nights. Aim to be at the Mosque at 10am, 11am or 5pm for the free tour. Just remember to respect local traditions and customs and cover-up I was appealed at the number of people being ignorant of this but I guess sadly that is just one of the issues I have with this "we know it all and don't give a toss generation" Now you've a couple of choices get back on the bus or like I did I watched the sun-set and jumped into a taxi back to the ship (Remember you need terminal 2 should you be taking the bus back). Please don't think I'm frugal but when I'm travelling I like to do it on a shoestring and see it as local would because to me that is a big part of the attraction for me. All in all a nice cruise. The international ship staff i.e.. Filipino and Indonesian are just wonderful as usual nothing is too much trouble and a smile is to be had all the time. Now on the other hand I personally found the European Staff at the Guest Relations Desk all attended the "Vlad the Impaler" finishing school and most of them graduated with a major in "I don't give a hoot and it's OK for me to belittle you" I did actually find myself having a drink on deck 3 and sitting near the Guest Relations Desk just for the entertainment. Lookout for the larger than life Italian lady she is just delicious and the young girl from Russian get my nomination for frightening the life out of people talking to them like they are soon to be shot lol... Hope I've not driven you the bottle or a premature death with my writing and should you do this cruise I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did and don't be taken in with stereotypes or others ignorance I found the locals I met around the Gulf to be genuine, hospitable, friendly and most of all kind and more than happy to help. Wishing you all, many, many miles of smiles...   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, wondered ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, wondered around in the cold and had a good meal before catching the SAS overnight to Dubai. SAS, even in economy provide much more leg room than Airbaltic, the only other option from here. Add to that the free meal, drinks and entertainment, well worth the little extra it costs for SAS. We arrived 06.30 hours in Dubai, fairly quick immigration although my wife's Lithuanian passport (despite Visa) meant an eye scan and a lot of tutting. We had booked a car through Alma to take us to Metropolitan Deira hotel for breakfast and a quick sleep. That hotel was not the best, breakfast very simple, hotel room smelt of cigarette smoke and it was noisey. Having said that we ere so tired we slept well. At 14.00 caught a taxi to the Cruise Terminal. As it was our first cruise we did not know the format and got in the wrong queue, probably as a result of still being a little tired and not seeing signs. They were there for Owner suites, we just did not see them until too late. The Andromeda suite was just fantastic..much larger than we thought it would be, extremely comfortable and tastefully decorated. We couldnt stop smiling.The Went to the Wind Jammer for late lunch..buffet style but of surprisingly good quality for mass feeding. First dinner was a mess..a lot of confusion on tables, ours had other people sitting at it and it took the head waiter half an hour to sort it out, depsite his assurances that it would take only a couple of minutes. One man was getting really angry with the mess and was escorted away by security, but frankly he deserved it, he was pushing staff around.Once we sat, our waiter Ivan and his assistant gave us wonderful service and again a surprisingly good quality meal with lots of choice. I really was surprised, feeding 1000+ people in a sitting is a tough job to do well. Second day in Fujeirah, as with many we did not get off, not a lot to see there according to all reports. Spent the day sunning ourselves, relaxing and finding our way around this wonderful piece of engineering. Brilliance really is a phenominal ship. This evening we found out that our gold cards entitled us to free drinks in the concierge club..given the price of wine in the bars, that was a real bonus! And everyone in the club so friendly and relaxed..in fact same applied to whole ship. 3rd/4th Day in Muscat Oman..a wonderful town with friendly people. We took shuttle bus to Port gates and had decided to walk into town as lots of taxi drivers being quite pushy for their services..however once we got past that a very pleasant and friendly, not pushy at all young man approached us and in very reasonable terms offered us the two hour drive around to all the sites. We agreed USD60 for this service. His name is Hamed zizo105h@live.com and would recommend him thoroughly. He took us everywhere in town and out, to the palaces, Mosques, out to the magnificent 5 star hotel along the beach and then out to the hotels where beaches were. He stopped everywhere for photo opportunities and worked hard to tell us all details..but he applied no pressure to do anything, just what ever we wantd to do..we were impressed. Once Hamed took us back we walked down the Corniche near the port. That was not so impressive, but the souk was interesting. The cafes were a little grubby but staff and the fresh juices were pleasant enough. 5th Day Abu Dhabi--a mini Dubai, with lots of impressive things to be seen and obviously it will become bigger as lots of construction going on. We went to the USD3bn hotel where all the Sultans/Sheiks of UAE stay, very impressive, the Marina mall, and a few other places in downtown area...really enjoyed it and would go back for closer exploration. 6/7th Days..Back to Dubai..a city we love. Lots has been written here on Dubai and I dont need to add a lot. After the cruise we had an extra 2 nights at Atlantis the Palm, and what a real treat that was too! Highly recommend it, so much to see and do there that you wont want to go into town. SLightly spolied by a sand storm but not so bad that we could venture onto the beach. As for Brilliance of the Seas..following summary Accomodation-Fantastic Service-very good, from the lads who did the room (and amused us greatly with their towel sculptures) to our waiters in the restaurant, to The Concierge club staff, to the bar staff and entertainment staff. All very service orientated, except for the head waiter (of entire restaurant) who ran around a lot making lots of noise but didnt seem to achieve much. Thankfully Ivan and his assistant more than made up for that. Route-very interesting, but maybe another day in Abu Dhabi rather than Fujeirah would be more interesting. Entertainment-Generally very good, we enjoyed it.We did try a murder mystery dinner in Portofino restaurant one night..that cost more and was not very good, the only disappointing meal. Food- excellent considering the numbers they have to cook for Overall experience..fantastic Drawback-the only thing that really irritated me was the tipping system. Not only is 15% added to every bar bill for service (including the mini-bar) but then you are expected to tip the waiters, room staff and all others at the end of the week..double tipping and at not small percentages! I had no qualms about tipping the staff who looked after us well at the end of the week, but 15% on each bar bill is way over the top and unecessary. And beware, prices shown on the menu are before the service charge, so a USD40 bottle of wine actually costs USD46. If Royal Carribean could get that right, they would have a real winner, but for us, it was excellent and much better than we had dreamed. We will definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
easy going,slick and fun. check in and check out easiest every been on any cruise. Mix of clientele from all different countries ( so no british sunbed wars like on P and O or drunks ) all inclusive was the better option as was ... Read More
easy going,slick and fun. check in and check out easiest every been on any cruise. Mix of clientele from all different countries ( so no british sunbed wars like on P and O or drunks ) all inclusive was the better option as was expensive. First day on ship let them down as buffet tea on deck hot dogs and beefburgers not great but redeemed themselves post this. You can stay on ship till your flight is ready for to leave never had this before always kicked of in the morning. emirates' are not what expected and are really lovely negative - mandatory gratuities Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Check in was a nightmare, first check in and drop luggage at Dubai cruise terminal 10am, 2.30pm start queueing for second check in before heading for ship, 3.30pm (and I was near beginning of queue) queue again to have photo taken before ... Read More
Check in was a nightmare, first check in and drop luggage at Dubai cruise terminal 10am, 2.30pm start queueing for second check in before heading for ship, 3.30pm (and I was near beginning of queue) queue again to have photo taken before boarding, then queue again to collect key card, if you've travelled in Europe you will be aware they do not queue but push in wherever they can. I am a female pensioner travelling alone and felt like the whole day had been spent in a scrumage and to top it off you are not allowed in your cabin until 8.30pm. Had to go into dinner in clothes had travelled in, no head waiter to show you to a table just find one yourself and sit down. Received restaurant seating the next day but again no-one to assist you find the table and they were not set out in numerical order, but all on it were British and friendly. The signage on board was very poor and no plan to show where things are eventually found out that wherever you want you need to go either up or down to deck 5 and walk full length of ship through casino and then either up or down to where you need to be as you cannot go up or down in centre of ship, the casino is in the way! Italian staff were only interested in serving Italians but the rest of staff, particularly bar and waiters were very nice and helpful. The restaurant food and service was very good but buffet was very mediocre. Plenty of entertainment which was mostly very good. The ships decoration is very tacky and cheap looking but everything was very clean and my cabin was great, on my own but had a double bed and bathroom was roomy. Go up to deck 11 for a bit of peace and a sunbed, less popular but suited me. I had bought the drinks package which was a good move as the cost of soft drinks, water and coffee all mount up before you hit the alcohol and aren't cheap. The buffet is only open between certain times and the drinks machines are switched off. Coffee is not served in the restaurants you have to go to a bar and buy it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I cannot believe all the negative reviews for this cruise. Ok its not on a par with the likes of Celebrity and Norwegian, both of whom I have sailed previously on 3 occasions, but neither is the price!! For what I paid I thought it was ... Read More
I cannot believe all the negative reviews for this cruise. Ok its not on a par with the likes of Celebrity and Norwegian, both of whom I have sailed previously on 3 occasions, but neither is the price!! For what I paid I thought it was excellent value for money. We had an Oceanview cabin which was spotlessly clean and had more storage than I have had on the two aforementioned cruise lines. The food was good with plenty choice and the buffet always had plenty choice and in my opinion was good quality. People are complaining about having to wait till everyone at the table is finished each course before the next is served. Is this not just common courtesy and table etiquette!! The drinks package was half the price charged by other cruise lines and the choice available was more than adequate. The service round the pool and in the bars was in my opinion better than Norwegian and Celebrity. We were having to refuse drinks the servers were round so often. The entertainment maybe could have been better but due to the mix of different nationalities there was a nice friendly vibe on board and a sense of fun. We made an effort to speak to others of all nationalities not just fellow brits and didn't encounter any rude or obnoxious people. We chose to walk of with our own luggage and were off the ship in no time and heading to the airport. To reiterate for what we paid we thought it was excellent value for money and would have no qualms about sailing Costa again if the price was right. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We have just been on the Costa Serena from Dubai to Oman ect. We arrived at the port at 8/30 am to be told we cannot board the ship till 8/o'clock in the evening great after an over night flight. Later they done us all a big favour ... Read More
We have just been on the Costa Serena from Dubai to Oman ect. We arrived at the port at 8/30 am to be told we cannot board the ship till 8/o'clock in the evening great after an over night flight. Later they done us all a big favour and let us on board at 3oclock in the afternoon but still could not get a shower or change of cloths until 8 o/clock that night. Bad start but did not improve that much, the following night was there first Gala dinner we sat at the table at 9 0/clock and by 9/45 still had not had a drink or menu. We gave up and went to bed, but the service did improve after that. They do have ice cream machine but none of them was working, often the Orange drink machine also wasn't working and all the tea and coffee machines were closed by 90/clock in the evening. Luckily this was not our first cruise so it has not put us off, as we have experienced fantastic meals on all the other ones,we were surprised to find they could not cook fish tried three times all well over cooked and gave up. Just to say I do not enjoy having to write this but feel that people should be aware of this cruise line, and just in case you think we will try them again you are wrong. Costa do not cut your service to cut your prices David and Brenda   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
the embarkation was the nightmare we were warned about but when we finally got our cabin we really enjoyed the cruise.the ship was great,the cabin was great the itinerary was great and the crew were great.....for the most part.the only ... Read More
the embarkation was the nightmare we were warned about but when we finally got our cabin we really enjoyed the cruise.the ship was great,the cabin was great the itinerary was great and the crew were great.....for the most part.the only issue we had with the whole cruise was that the breakfast service was shocking.it was so bad that after 2 days we started eating breakfast in the buffet restaurant which had almost the same choices as the ceres.the all in drinks package was a bargain.the food was really good too. Entertainment was a mixed bag but luca in the in the piano bar next to the casino was really good. If this company has made the cutbacks that previous reviewers have stated then all i can say is that this must have been an amazing deal before hand. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
First cruise I’d ever been on and found it positively delightful. This was a dream, as it’s Italian so enjoyed the relaxing feel. Had the best time. Beautiful ship with stunning Venusian designs on lifts. Impressive throughout. The ... Read More
First cruise I’d ever been on and found it positively delightful. This was a dream, as it’s Italian so enjoyed the relaxing feel. Had the best time. Beautiful ship with stunning Venusian designs on lifts. Impressive throughout. The best pina~colada ever. I had them every single night and nobody has been able to get them right since off the ship!They put some ice cream in them and they are irresistible. I love Italian food and there were plenty of pasta, pizzas and lots of healthy salads so I enjoyed the food as plenty of variety. I also love cappuccinos and my cigarettes so was able to feel at home. Had the best highlighting for my hair too so a bonus and plenty of beauty treatments onboard at good prices and I took home lots of products. Highly recommend the facials as well as hairdressers. Fabulous cabins,we had a twin room which was fully stocked with everything we needed so you don’t really need to take much with you .Exceptional cleaning and very hard working, friendly staff. I love gambling and plenty of slot machines to choose from in casino. This company really know how to look after they're customers and I met some great people. At Christmas we all had a gift in our rooms and there was a beautiful chocolate fountain in one of the many stunning bars.I just didn’t want to get off the ship at the end of it and would love to go on the other costas . Cofu and Rome were lovely and they have coaches to take you there and pick you up and plenty of day trips that are simply exceptional. Everything and I mean everything about it made it the most wonderful experience of my life and we even met four people onboard who we are still friends with and meet up and send Christmas cards too. This cruise ship is luxurious and everything,all details are catered for, so you can just enjoy the best cruising experience of your life. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Boarding was an apocalyptic chaos, despite the fact there was to be priority embarkation. Took us an hour to get to the gangway only to be told that we had to back to check-in because they had forgotten to give us health declaration forms. ... Read More
Boarding was an apocalyptic chaos, despite the fact there was to be priority embarkation. Took us an hour to get to the gangway only to be told that we had to back to check-in because they had forgotten to give us health declaration forms. An hour later we were on board. Somebody else's bag turned up at our door with our bag tag 24 hours after boarding. We returned it and liberated our own bag from the ship's office. The cabin was superb. These guys know how to drive a 114 thousand ton ship! Service attitude was superb. Food was mediocre at best. I thought this is an Italian boat? They should know something about food. The bars were great. Our balcony was superb. Disembarkation was an apocalyptic mess again. Finally found our suitasuitcases about a kilometer from the place we were directed to. Still - will do it again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
As a 70 year old grandfather, I flew Emirates alone from Birmingham on the overnight flight to Dubai. Emirates have great food and a generous baggage allowance and I was well within the 30kg limit, even including all of the Christmas ... Read More
As a 70 year old grandfather, I flew Emirates alone from Birmingham on the overnight flight to Dubai. Emirates have great food and a generous baggage allowance and I was well within the 30kg limit, even including all of the Christmas presents which I was taking. Flying overnight and the 4 hour time difference meant I wouldn't require a hotel. The flight route, which you can reassuringly monitor on your own screen,carefully avoids the troubled areas (Ukraine,Syria and Iraq) with the final leg over increasingly friendly Iran. The early morning arrival at Dubai was delayed by a half hour whilst we circled over the Arabian Gulf, waiting for the airport to re-open, after being closed due to the morning fog. On the landing approach, the magnificent sight of the Costa Serena could be seen at berth in the port. Dubai is a massive hub airport. After an internal train ride, I joined the immigration queue. Allow a good half hour for this if you need the 30 day visitor visa stamp. I was to meet up with the rest of the family party arriving at midday so there was no rush. Our party totaled 6, 3 adults and 3 children. After lunch, we looked for transport to the ship. We made the initial error of dealing with a taxi tout at the exit. It became clear that we were going to cover a very large distance on foot to his vehicles. We then retraced our steps back to the white taxis in the official taxi rank. We realized that with 6 of us and all of the luggage, we would need 2 taxis. To our surprise, both our taxi drivers were ladies. They are not allowed to drive all male passengers, but because we had two females in our party, the convoy could depart, after negotiating a very reasonable fee for the trip. At the port, an army of porters unloaded our luggage and took it into the embarkation hall for us. With hindsight, arriving at 3.30pm was a bit early. I would think 4.30 would be better but there is significant traffic at rush hour in Dubai. There were many people there already and the check in process was very slow to gather pace. Basic refreshments were on sale in the embarkation hall. Toilets are available but you had to re-enter via security again. Security was good; equal to airport standards. The labels which Costa pre-supplied were attached to the luggage which duly appeared later outside our cabins at 8.00pm. You may prefer to keep your carry-on bag with you as cabins are not available until 8.00pm. Access to the ship using the Costa Card initially required a photograph to be taken at the gang-plank. This is then stored and associated with your bar-code each time you leave and enter. Your carry-on baggage is then X-rayed and you are metal detected. This is a very reassuring level of security, although one cynic suggested they were looking for smuggled-on booze. Once aboard you are relieved of your passport. This is duly labelled and stored until the eve of dis-embarkation when they are returned. A receipt was issued for each passport. On board your Costa card serves many purposes. It is used as a payment cash card, cabin key, and identity card. You need to back it up with either cash or a bank card within 48 hours otherwise you get a reminder letter delivered to your cabin. Once on board, you are free to explore. Buffet food was available for free in the buffet areas. We used the deck 9 Ristorante Buffet Prometeo with lovely views from the window tables and subsequently we always breakfasted there and had lunch when aboard. Bar staff will approach you to sell the many drinks packages. We settled for a wine and water package which gave us 6 bottles of wine and 7 bottles of water. This worked out well for 3 adults with the 6 restaurant meals we would have during the week. We couldn't justify the all-in drinks package costs because we are only moderate drinkers. When you use your drinks package, you sign a receipt and retain a copy. On this receipt is printed exactly what you have remaining of your package. It is a good system, and you know exactly where you stand. The crew consisted of mainly Philipinos and some Italians. The Engineers and navigational and administrative crew were mainly Italian with a handful of other nationals The catering and cleaning crew were mainly Phlipino. The level of English spoken was very good. Although Italian was officially the first language, English was widely understood. There were many nationalities amongst the passengers Italian, French,Spanish Dutch, British,Philipino, South African, German,,Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and we got to know some of them. A good chance to try out my restricted foreign languages.All very friendly and lots of smiles The amount of traffic on the tannoy system was reasonable. English was usually 4th in line. The accommodation areas were quiet after about 10pm so the children could get to sleep. The level of service was very good. All of the crew were very pleasant and polite. The dining staff in particular were brilliant with the children. They would quickly serve dishes outside of the main menu, nothing was too much trouble. The whole ship was kept sparkling clean by a crew which happily took pride in the ship. For the trips ashore at Muscat, you are issued with a local entry and visa card by the immigration officials who come aboard. We later found that our passports had been stamped by them each time we had dis-embarked and embarked. The guided tour of Muscat was good with a really excellent local guide. We visited the Grand Mosque, the Sultan's Palace, the Omani Museum and the Souk. This is the biggest souk in the Middle East and we liked it so much that we went back on foot to get lost there the next morning. Muscat is highly recommended, so beautiful and the people so friendly. We were on the top deck when we left the port of Muscat. Playing loudly on the deck p.a. System was It’s time to say goodbye (Con te partirò) sung by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman Con te partirò ( I’ll go with you su navi per mari ( on ships across seas che, io lo so, ( which, I know, no, no, non esistono più. ( no, no, exist no longer. It’s time to say goodbye… I never realised before how poignant those words were. With the ship's siren blasting away, there were few dry eyes on deck that evening. We were too late in booking excursions at Khasab, they were all fully booked. We took the free shuttle bus into town. It is quite small and did not take long to explore. You really need to book an excursion in time. So after a lazy lunch on the ship we tried out The F1 Racing Simulator. At 12 euros for 7 minutes, great fun and reasonable value. There were also some dance lessons available. A different dance each day with instruction in italian, In Abu Dhabi we traveled using our Costa Cards as I.D and took the Big Red Bus Tour..This is good value. There is an earpiece (which you keep) commentary in many different languages. It is Hop on-Hop off so you can structure your own trip and spend as long as you wish at each location, so long as you don't miss the last bus back. In most of ports you are not permitted to walk to the gate; you have to be in a vehicle. In Dubai, we again traveled using our Costa Cards as I.D. and took the Big Red Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour with commentary. Tickets are valid for two routes and for 24 hours. This includes a free trip one way on the water bus across the Dubai Creek. This is on the red route. The blue route takes you down the Palm Jumeirah and passes the Burj Al Arab. The return route passes the famous palatial shopping mall and the Burj Khalifa which is the world's tallest building. There is also a metro and a monorail system which we didn't have time to explore. Useful maps are available on the bus. So there is a great deal to see here. One day is definitely not enough. Unfortunately my return flight was early next day, so I wished I had booked a hotel for an extra day or two. For dining, we had a large table on the upper deck (4) of the Ceres Restuarante for the early sitting at 6.30pm. This was exactly as requested. We dined there every evening and the earlier sitting meant that we could take the children to the shows or discos before bedtime. The meals were always superb. Served with Italian style, always five courses plus a side salad.The waiters were really pleasant and efficient. They were really great with the children's food and were really attentive. There were two gala evenings during the week when we did get dressed up. There were some entertainments from the waiters including singing and napkin waiving and a conger dance.There was also a glass of proseco from the Captain. We made use of the squok club for the younger children. This was well run with good security that also scrupulously verified collection of the child. The 6 year old enjoyed it so much that she stayed all day and had two meals whilst the rest of us went on a shore excursion. The elder boy (15) used the teen club on several occasions and enjoyed playing wee games there. The theatre shows by the resident entertainers involved very professional dancing and singing. Most of the songs were in English with a few french and iIalian songs also, with audience participation. I mean everybody knew volare, cantare oh oh oh oh. A drinks service in the theatre is provided by very agile bar staff, so you do not need to leave your seats. There is no interval as the shows last for just over an hour.One evening there was a kind of talent show which involved varied acts by crew members such as waiters, chefs and engineers etc. This was surprisingly good and very entertaining. An other evening in the theatre was a meet the Captain and officers multilingual affair with free proseco for a toast. I spent part of a pleasant warm evening watching the Andrea Bocelli Christmas Show on the large screen outdoor video screen in the sheltered area on deck 9; more for the oldies though. There was always live music at various parts of the ship and also discos. The daily newsletter (Oggi, Today) which arrived in every cabin each evening, was a useful list of all of the next day's activities. Disembarkation was well organised with presentations in various languages. These presentations were also available on the video channels. Basically there were two windows for departure either before or after 0730 and two times for collection of luggage from outside each cabin. The luggage would be labelled with colour coded tags for the various different tours and duly delivered to collection points in the embarkation hall. Passports were reclaimed on a per cabin basis. Boat drill muster took place early on the first day and is compulsory for all passengers. As a first time cruiser and also as this ship was the sister of the Concordia, I took particular attention. We pre-walked the route specified on the back of our cabin door in advance of the actual drill. This route involved using stairways which were nominally 'crew only.' On the actual drill we were shepherded by crew along a different route using the standard stairways. I am sure a knowledge of these secret routes could prove vital in a real emergency. I believe this was done as a time saving measure; but I would say familiarise yourself with all of the safety instructions. Possibly as as a precaution, and maybe as a result of intelligence received, a letter was sent to all cabins regarding dangerous waters through which we would be sailing. This detailed the alarms that would be given in the event of possible attack at sea by pirates, terrorists etc. In the event of an alarm, passengers were not to use balconies, flash photography over the side would be banned. Certain areas high above the water line such as deck 9 were designated as muster points. I guess the Gulf of Hormuz was perhaps seen as a danger point. However the Serena had just completed a 3 week voyage from Savona, the last week of which took her down the Red Sea,non-stop past Sudan,Eritraer,Djibouti, Somalia and through the Gulf of Aden and then past the Yemen. It was reassuring that Costa had done the risk analysis and produced a plan to deal with such an emergency, however unlikely. The level of hygiene on the ship was good. We all remained well and were not aware of any gastric type illnesses on board. We were always very careful to wash hands thoroughly before eating and avoided touching surfaces by using elbows, knees and feet to open doors etc.Hand gel dispensers were fitted in the in the buffet areas and most passengers used the individual serving tongs correctly. As non-smokers we were pleased that the ship's smoking rules were well observed. We were never troubled by people smoking. In summary, we really enjoyed this cruise and would definitely sail again with Costa. The Serena is a well run happy ship and the food is excellent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We took the Christmas cruise from Dubai on the Costa Serena in a premium balcony room on deck 8. The room was quiet and well positioned although seemed smaller than the 20sq.m that Costa claim. Room was made up appropriately each day. The ... Read More
We took the Christmas cruise from Dubai on the Costa Serena in a premium balcony room on deck 8. The room was quiet and well positioned although seemed smaller than the 20sq.m that Costa claim. Room was made up appropriately each day. The itinerary was good. (Dubai, AbuDhabi, Muscat and Kasabh) I'd echo other people's concerns about cutbacks. Most of these are simple things but they leave you disappointed. For example, Ice cream machines that never served ice cream, switching off the water machines to force you to buy drinks, no jug water available at dinner, no buffet option available in the evening and none the usual little cruise touches like towel animals. It kinda felt like a budget airline approach. It showed up in other ways too – Our room wasn't particularly clean with stains and smears on low down and high surfaces in the room. Maintenance of things like the water slide was also lacking- The slide was one of the reason for selecting this particular boat and it didn't operate at all during that cruise. Breakfast and lunches were fine but evening meals were disappointing as they lacked variety and quality. Nothing really tasted fresh, it was all frozen re-heats; The menus didn't excite or inspire; I had difficulty picking one item rather than difficulty choosing between two. The main issue is the staff. At time of booking, I had been promised a late departure. There was a different story on the boat. Guest relations did little to resolve my concern, failed to communicate with me and at times were just plain rude. Their management didn't seem to work – perhaps they were off for Christmas or just couldn't be bothered? The “International host” was never available and gave contradictory messages to those of the guest relations team. Even check-in staff and left luggage team were very rude. It's almost as if there is a malaise across the entire crew.... I only read the other reviews after I came home. It seems that I'm not alone in my disappointment. I've been on Costa boats before and loved them – but not this one. If this is indicative of where Costa is taking their business, I won't be booking any more. My advice to anyone considering the Serena is only buy if it;s cheap and then think of it as budget cruise. Don't waste money on premium rooms and the like. Consider it like a B&B in a sunny climate... Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We flew to Milan and spent a night there before joining a coach to Savona to board the Costa Serena. Quaotic lack of organisations on at Milan airport with a total lack of proper organisation and little better when boarding. However we are ... Read More
We flew to Milan and spent a night there before joining a coach to Savona to board the Costa Serena. Quaotic lack of organisations on at Milan airport with a total lack of proper organisation and little better when boarding. However we are both wheelchair boarding passengers and this was arranged reasonably well. Cabins were more than adequate, clean and comfortable with excellent steward care Food was excellent in both the dining room and the buffet always a good selection with some superb pasta dishes, always a highlight with Costa. Lunchtime buffets offered a good selection of meats and fish with giant shrimp a regular and very popular offering. Water service was excellent with our waiter Andrew always remembering individual lies and dislikes. Gala nights really were gala offerings. Entertainment wasn't very good but considering the number of nationalities on board the ship obviously the choices available to the organisers were greatly reduced as with quizzes questions had to be asked in several languages Excursions were expensive and somewhat erratic in the organisation, sometimes nearly an hour late leaving another time leaving slightly early before all guests booked had arrived. Staff did their best to smooth things out,offering alternative outings where possible but it was still rather irritating. Cost Serena is an older ship and her deck plans leave quite a lot to be desired as it is sometimes necessary to go up to deck 5 and walk the length of ship to use a second lift back to deck 3. Overall it was a very enjoyable cruise and excellent value for the amount it cost. The itinerary was excellent and allowed us to see something of the very different culture of the Middle East and the Gulf States All crew (with the exception of one singularly grumpy reception desk attendant who seemed to delight in being unhelpful and earned herself a nickname throughout the ship) were friendly and helpful towards two golden?oldies and we enjoyed ourselves a lot but really do wish Costa would stop their greedy system of taking relatively large amounts from passengers daily on the pretence of them being tips when a quick chat to crew tells a very different story of reduced wages and minimal tips. A truly unfair system makes cruisers think we have to pay the crews wages as well as for our holiday! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Have just returned from 7 day cruise around the med on Costa Serena. How let down I was. This was our third cruise with Costa and will now be our last. How things have changed in 7 months has been a real turning point. We took the All ... Read More
Have just returned from 7 day cruise around the med on Costa Serena. How let down I was. This was our third cruise with Costa and will now be our last. How things have changed in 7 months has been a real turning point. We took the All Inclusive drinks package and found out that this was the only way you could get a cup of tea in the evening as they have now stopped the self service in the buffet area. The ice cream machines have been disabled, the buffet food selection has been decreased by half, you can't get a bottle of water ( unless you buy it) as it is only served by the glass with the All Inclusive package! You now have to pay for pizza after 6pm, the staff seem to have lost the ability to communicate with passengers, although they work really hard and cannot fault their service, but it would have been nice to have a conversation with them like on our previous cruises. We were 'upgraded' (if you can call it that). We were given an inside room on the Deck 9 which was fitted out for disabled passengers. The walk in shower was in need of some regrouting, the room available to get into bed measured about 2 inches either side of the bed, the noise from people walking past the rear of our cabin was ridiculous, and then there was a party on Deck 9 one evening where we could hear the music blaring whilst we tried to sleep. I know Costa are cheap, but they were cheap before, but offered a much better deal. I feel that we have been cheated big time and will not be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
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
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some ... Read More
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some passengers attended dinners really sloppily (t-shirts, etc). The food in the buffet was really mediocre, not much variety with low quality (served prawns which were tasteless and over-cooked, not much variety of hot breakfasts (porridge, cream of wheat etc), The dinners weren't very good quality food except the soups were excellent. The entertainment was ho-hum. The guitar player only did karaoke guitar, he couldn't sing so he just mumbled, and his playing was very simple. The guitar duo was really excellent. The couple in the main lounge/atrium were ok, but the girl was terrible, once again only doing karaoke style. The pianist was quite good however. There was really no "piano bar" which is where i usually spend my time.   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
We booked this cruise last minute as decided it was about time we tried one, Costa have a reputation for not being as traditional as a lot of the companies and as my bf is much happier in a pair of jeans than a tux we decided on Costa. ... Read More
We booked this cruise last minute as decided it was about time we tried one, Costa have a reputation for not being as traditional as a lot of the companies and as my bf is much happier in a pair of jeans than a tux we decided on Costa. The organisation wasn't good on embarkation, we got shuffled from pillar to post and eventually got to our room about 90 minutes after boarding, we were sent to the buffet restaurant which was like a school canteen, kids running under your feet and people pushing to get to the food, we asked for a drink but they told us we had to put it on our account even though we had paid for a premium drinks package beforehand. We booked the highest grade of cabin which was the Samsara Spa Suite, it was very nice, smaller than I expected it to be considering what we had paid but comfortable and well equipped, there was a bottle of fizz waiting for us and it had a nice balcony, the suite was serviced by a butler and he told us we just needed to call a number and he would appear, unfortunately I think he was covering all the suites by himself as you would ring and it would just ring out until you gave up. The light on the balcony didn't work even after reporting it. The food in the Samsara restaurant was very nice, we ate there most nights, it was very quiet for the whole week and the staff were lovely.The drinks were good, European measures instead of English which is always good! We didn't see any of the entertainment as it was all in Italian and although I can understand a little conversationally neither of us are fluent so it was pointless, we think we may have been the only English speakers on board which wasn't ideal, however it was the school holidays, maybe in the winter there would be more of a mix. The facilities on board were good but you couldn't get near the pools because of the kids, the spa was very nice, we had a couple of comp treatments but it was expensive otherwise. The wifi was ridiculously expensive We enjoyed all the ports of call and had plenty of time in each, we didn't book any excursions but used the Costa transport a couple of times to get into the towns which was fine. Otherwise we just did our own thing. Apart from the Samsara restaurant the service was poor, we were supposed to get a welcome meeting with a manager as we were staying in a suite but we missed it, they kindly rescheduled but didn't turn up after I waited 20 minutes, the butler I think was overworked so didn't have time to give a good service and we had a few problems that took far to long to be dealt with. Overall I don't think I would cruise with Costa again as it was just too average. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
The food in the dining room and the lunch buffet had excellent food. A buffet option should also be available. I have to say that the dining experience was not very pleasurable in several ways. The last night, the entree didn't arrive ... Read More
The food in the dining room and the lunch buffet had excellent food. A buffet option should also be available. I have to say that the dining experience was not very pleasurable in several ways. The last night, the entree didn't arrive until one hour and twenty minutes had passed. The shortest time for the entree to arrive was 55 minutes. I have to say that I ate much wonderful Mediterranean seafood and other dishes. So many children were running around the dining room and screaming while the waiters were carrying their heavy trays that a possible dangerous situation was there. Some children were crawling down the aisles and under the tables. A few were climbing the dividing walls. Some were jumping down short flights of steps for entertainment. This is not my idea of a good dining experience. I had a nice roomy cabin. Noise started about midnight above my head and continued (every night) until about 2 am. The kitchen was there. The excursions were very good. I don't recommend the "total freedom" excursions, although some might benefit from them. The independence in this type of excursion was not good for me who needed more guidance to see the sights. The ship decorations look like they were planned by someone who had taken hallucinogenic drugs. They were very ugly and disturbing to look at. The brass sculptures were nice, the others look like an acid trip (although I have not had the experience).   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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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