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146 Costa Serena Cruise Reviews

To celebrate my 40-year-old birthday and my husband’s 50-year-old birthday, we decided to book a suite for our son and us. We have tried a cruise with Royal Caribbean before, so we hoped that the experience would be at least just as ... Read More
To celebrate my 40-year-old birthday and my husband’s 50-year-old birthday, we decided to book a suite for our son and us. We have tried a cruise with Royal Caribbean before, so we hoped that the experience would be at least just as pleasant and where looking forward to some luxury with a butler and other nice stuff being pampered a little when we finally have the yearly vacation together. Our expectations were not met at all. We experienced a ship filled with people not happy to work there and therefore the service was not nearly as good as it should be. When talking to another couple at dinner, who had tried other Costa ships, they said, that they had never tried a mood so bad before. They told us that the staff are usually happy and ready to give you a good time, but that is not what we saw at the Costa Serena at all. We decided to buy an all-inclusive drink package that should be easy to manage. Order and drink. It was not easy at all. In the leaflet, Costa had written, that at dinnertime we could choose between 3 different wines and that a wine list specially made for the all-inclusive drink guests would be presented, so we were looking forward to that. At dinnertime, the waiter looked at us strangely when we pointed that out and would only serve 1 wine which I did not like at all. That next day we went to the information desk to find out what was going on and after talking to different people, the lady assured us that it would be taking care of that night, but unfortunately it was not. We were only served that same bad wine. The next day we complained to the Maitre D in the restaurant at dinner, and for some strange reason, the man had never heard or seen that the all-inclusive guests should have a wine list and different wines to choose from so I handed him the leaflet with the information. After consulting again with his boss he told us, that they would create a wine menu and that it would come in 15 minutes time as written in the all-inclusive drink leaflet. When I asked him if we were the only people ever buying the all-inclusive drinks and why they had not such a menu already as they should have, he just gave us attitude and said angry to me, if I thought it was easy to make such a menu. We did not ask for anything other than stated in the drink package! This experience was just unnecessary and did not make our experience pleasant at all. On a cruise, you are supposed to relax and be pampered and instead we experienced one thing after the other being annoying and not very pleasant. Our headwaiter told us the last day that he had been working on the ship for 9 months and he was VERY tired. He was looking forward to get off in the same port as us. No wonder a lot of the crew members were no fun at all if that is how they work. But again, that just took away from the experience we had hoped for and as a customer paying a lot of money for an experience, this ship was a total disappointment. Setting aside the very bad food and the horrific lunch time where you literally have to fight yourself through thousands of other guests because there are only 1 place to eat lunch, a couple of bad shows where people just looked at each other not bothering to clap, there was also the strange “entertaining” trio in the Grand Bar with a big dance floor, where the “singer” only sang to every fifth song and otherwise just stood and held the microphone. The “saxophone player” started every song by a mouse click on a computer and otherwise stood there holding his saxophone and not playing as the computer did that for them. This was extremely weird to look at and as they were there every day we got to know their routine, and Costa could have spent just a little more and found somebody willing to perform and not just stand on a stage holding a microphone and a saxophone. On the fifth day, I ordered a drink and a limoncello as I had done the other days and was now told that I could only order one thing at a time. The all-inclusive leaflet did not mention anything about that and it was first 2 days before leaving we were told this. Then we had to visit the information desk again and was this time met by a very aggressive lady who definitely not had the personal resource at that time to take care of our problem. She called somebody who could tell her that this is “company policy” so that people do not get drunk to easy. This was not mentioned anywhere, it had not been this way the first 5 days, this was both alcoholic drinks, warm beverage and cold beverage and did not make any sense. I could not order a beer and a bottle of water to take to my room, because I could be drunk to fast? It looked like that Costa and the crew members uses the term “company policy” when they want to make a rule up not mentioned anywhere, as they had done this a couple of times. The worst thing about the cruise was that our troubles did not end when leaving the ship. As you are to give a credit card number when entering the ship so that Costa can later withdraw the money that you have spent on board, we of course expected them to take the amount we had spent and that would be it, but that is not how it went. When they had withdrawn the right amount, we found out that our credit card suddenly could not be used anymore, as there were no money available on the card. There should be money on the card, so we called our bank that could tell us that Costa had reserved nearly 2000 Euro MORE on our card, so they could not do anything and we could not use the card. When calling Costa Cruises we were just told that we could not call their bookkeeping department as you can only send them a mail. Very unsatisfying when something like this happens. When my husband wrote the bookkeeping department, we did not hear anything from them. Not a mail saying that they had received our mail or anything. The next couple of days strange amounts was released on our credit card in different portions so that we now again can use our credit card. We have still not heard anything from Costa. Not an explanation or anything else. Very strange behavior. Another thing that is very odd and frankly not OK at all is the way they handle the tips. When I have had a bad experience on board, I do not feel like mandatorily giving a huge amount in tips as I have to with Costa. I would like to choose to give a tip to the people who have made my vacation better and a pleasant trip. This is what we did when using Royal Caribbean and that gave the crewmembers incentive to treat the passengers as good as possible. If they do not then they do not get many tips. One positive thing can be said about this cruise and that is the boarding and leaving procedures when paying a little extra to get a suite. We were supposed to be “VIP” guests, what ever that means, so we had gotten these red things to put on our luggage. When we loaded the luggage on board in Savona, the lady asked us, if we were VIP and we pointed to the red things on our luggage and she said that we had not and gave us a number for the boarding queue as everyone else. After waiting in the very warm hall with everybody else, I could see from the progress on the queue that it would take a while for us to board so I told my husband that it is strange, that everybody should be in the same line, if we were so-called “VIP”, so he went to the information desk and the nice lady there told us, that of course we should not be in the same queue as everybody else. Thanks luggage-loading-lady for the wait in the hot waiting area! We got another number for the red-carpet line and got on board very quick. This of course would not have happened if we had not went to the information desk to check again. We are not use to luxury like this but when we for once spend the extra money on something just a little more “over the top”, then give us all you got! Not a butler we only saw about 5 times doing the cruise not helping much with anything without us asking for it. Not a cleaning lady not giving us 1 single pillow sculpture. Not a suite with a balcony where we could not sit or open the door because both neighbor-suites smoked. Not a staff so tired and certainly not happy to work there or make my family’s cruise something to remember. Not a ship lacking in most areas. Bad and very small swimming pools and very bad quality of food can also be mentioned and not helping the experience at all. My family and I will definitely not be using Costa Cruises again as there are so many other companies that will take our money and hopefully make our future vacations something to remember…..in a positive way.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I was on a 7 day cruise. Destinations were very good. Cabin Staff and Bar Staff were excellent. My main concern is that the Costa Cruises took the amount from my MasterCard that I spent on the ship but after 10 days are still holding the ... Read More
I was on a 7 day cruise. Destinations were very good. Cabin Staff and Bar Staff were excellent. My main concern is that the Costa Cruises took the amount from my MasterCard that I spent on the ship but after 10 days are still holding the exact amount spent as a pending amount. This means that I cannot access my own money. So basically they are holding onto my money for whatever reason I cannot understand. I travelled with 3 others people and they are holding pending amounts for them as well. I have sent 3 emails to their customer services and have not had a reply. I am being totally ignored. Facilities Breakfast every morning was exactly the same. Hot breakfasts i.e. eggs, bacon, were cold every morning. Plus queues to get food were unbelievable. Evening meal although 5 courses was sparse and of poor quality. Same soup every night but with a different name. The sun beds were less than a foot apart and the day the ship sailed all day there wasn't room for everyone to lie in the sun. Where is my MONEY - Costa.... I would say that the destinations were fabulous i.e. Fri 06 Jun BARCELONA 19:00 Sat 07 Jun MARSEILLE 09:00 17:00 Sun 08 Jun SAVONA 09:00 16:30 Mon 09 Jun CIVITAVECCHIA 09:00 23:59 Tue 10 Jun NAPOLI 13:00 19:00 Thu 12 Jun PALMA DE MALLORCA 09:00 23:59 Fri 13 Jun PALMA DE MALLORCA 00:01 01:00 Fri 13 Jun BARCELONA 13:00 We made our own travel arrangements from the ports and had plenty of time to enjoy our destinations before going back to ship. Thank you for that Costa but unfortunately, you fell down very badly on breakfasts and evening meals. Plus the close proximity of sun-beds, and too many people on the ship to enable my friends and I to sunbathe. A few benches/chairs on the top decks would have been well received. It has now been 17 days since I disembarked, some of my cash has been released but not all. Summary: Cold bacon and eggs and any hot food - cold every morning. Evening meal though well served was of poor quality Sun beds too close and no space to move them to Withholding money.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a ... Read More
A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a "bonus" cruise (as we have a lot of travel plans this year) so we did this on a budget which for us, meant no suite, but instead a premium balcony. Being Costa Pearl members - we had no problem - We were very pleasantly surprised to have our table for two, late dining, aft Ceres Restaurant - ALL fulfilled! Great 5* start! Embarkation was the easiest ever. No big port - No queue - no lines, just sign here, photo and "on". We had a premium balcony which is just a regular "Carnival" style balcony. The cabin is showing its age - few cigarette burns on the carpet, and it really is obviously in need of an overhaul. The balcony - sorry to say, was filthy - the gutter in the balcony had long strands of black human hair - I didnt mention it first day, but after the next clean, when it was still there, I did call. The cabin steward was prob the biggest disappointment. he finally did clean the balcony - but it was "an effort". I requested face flannels a few times - he always told me "yes" - but they never ever did appear. He also missed the blue pool towels a few times - just little things which we had to call about - which when one happens after another - starts to grate on you - as I said, not the best steward we have had. It is the first time ever we have not given extra tips(above the standard gratuity) to our cabin steward. I am afraid to say he did nothing to warrant it. The toilet OMG - blocked daily - that did become a pain in the butt (literally) - to a point where one morning we were given a key to a spare cabin three decks below us - not nice - These cabins honestly are in need of dry dock... time for a full overhaul. The ship itself - actually, although gawdy, loud and totally OTT - I liked it! Its all Bling and has aged better than the cabins. It is a bit "1990s" - BUT - it does somehow have a much nicer feel to it than say the Magica. The staff - excellent - For a big ship - one can tell from embarkation that the staff are happy. Thats coming from the top down. Every area has its team, and each team seems to gel well and in general - lots of happy staff. THAT makes the Serena special - and to us, warrants its high rating. We met many staff on board whom we knew from previous cruises, one in particular, Peter, is lke our lucky mascot at Sea, For some weird reason, on every single of our last four cruises, different ships, embarkation day, Peter has always been the first waiter we have seen - bizarre - and wonderful!! FOOD: Buffett - dont even go there - its madness - just a battle of hands and feet and rude rude rude guests - seriously - I am appalled at the manners of these people - animals have more decorum. We settled for continental breakfast in our cabin (Gluten free pastries provided) - Lunch we chose to have in the Ceres Restaurant - I am Gluten Free and anyone with special diets will find the Ceres restaurant IS open daily for lunch - there is a section specifically for special diets. Gluten free choices are a HUGE plus for Costa - I just adore all the choices available for Gluten Free - 11/10 Costa! Dinner at night could run just a tad too late - even for we, who are late diners. However, first class service, table for two aft, what more could we ask for We chose to dine in the Club Bacco Restaurant twice this cruise and loved every moment. For a truly civilised dining experience away from the maddening crowd - at only 25 euro per person - this is well spent. The Club on Serena is magnificent - awesome views over the sea, and a live pianist entertaining throughout The Lobster Caesar was fantastic - The shrimps - just amazing - so fresh - succulent - and what is a simple meal is made into a feast. Favourite mains - the Veal and the Lamb - the lamb especially - perfection on the plate. Special thanks to Chef Lara - what a wonderful young lady who is passionate about her food. She is happy to stop by your table if you wish, and happy to have a gourmet chat. As food producers ourselves - we appreciated this gesture. Shows we dont do. Musicians - as ever Costa excel. I think our only regret on this cruise was the timing. It was already into Italian vacation time, and honestly - the only fault in the ship lay in the guests, some seriously rude and appallingly bad mannered guests. Oh and we were a bit pd off at the Ecig rule. We both stopped smoking two years ago, and use a zero nicotine shisha pen - It is the rule that these are used only in smoking areas - how awful to be made to be back in "lepers corne" once more - We did use our ecig - very discretely - and low key. We did however see smokers smoking in the NON SMOKING areas, and also some idiots throwing a LIT cigarette butt over the side in port waaaargghhhhhhhhhh Other appalling guests included babies in the jacuzzis in nappies (diapers) - We stayed out of the pools - lot of suspect cloudy "water" going on if you get my drift. We would sail the Serena again - but woulc choose a quieter off peak season - Surprisingly great though - BIG ship with staff with BIG HEARTS! Well done Costa! - You treated our loyalty beautifully, granted our wishes, and threw in some nice perks -incuding a lovely gift at the end of our cruise See you soon!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I’ve just arrived from my first cruise experience in Costa Serena, through the Mediterranean. I am Portuguese (had my 38th birthday during the trip) and I travelled with a friend, in also their late 30’s. I have to say that, because ... Read More
I’ve just arrived from my first cruise experience in Costa Serena, through the Mediterranean. I am Portuguese (had my 38th birthday during the trip) and I travelled with a friend, in also their late 30’s. I have to say that, because the reviews I have read here, I was a little bit suspicions, especially about the food. But, once there, I realized that I didn’t have to worry about, because the variety and quality of the food - provided by the self service restaurants (during the day) and dinning service at night - was quite good. I must also say that you are able to eat almost anytime. While a restaurant closes, another one is available. It’s impossible to get hungry there. During the navigation day, when all the passengers were on board, the self-service rooms were a little bit crowded. So we had to face queues to get food. The cabin was very clean and twice a day we had cleaning services in the room. The public bathrooms, although not quite noticeable, were very clean as well. The interior decoration was really weird and for me that is the only minor aspect of the ship. Too much colors and elements all together, especially in the main lobby. I felt like I was in a 70s or 80s disco and not in a 2007 ship. Besides that, it was a lovely experience and I had a great time. The animation team was really great and You have the opportunity to dance and have fun at night, in spite of your musical preferences. The karaoke night was not so fun for a non-Italian speaker, because almost all the participants were Italians… singing Italian songs. (A tribute to the Scottish people that saved the Karaoke night )… A special mention to the evening shows in the theater: I wasn’t expecting so much! The dinner service was very pleasant, with very funny animation moments, performed by the staff.  Next time, I won’t forget a formal/cocktail dress to wear in the «gala dinner». About the fellow passengers, I acknowledged almost every kind of people: Asians, Indians, Arabians, Africans, but most of all Italians, a bunch of Spanish and French as well. Me and my friend, and a nice Portuguese couple, were the only Portuguese on board. It was a multicultural scenario, although I felt that the Italian people ruled the environment. So…memorable days in the sea and I’m looking forward for another cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We had booked 4 inside cabins for the family! We were given 2 at the back deck 7, 1 at the front deck 7.1 at the front deck 1. Having found the other cabins we went to find ours on deck 1. As expected it was compact but well set out. Very ... Read More
We had booked 4 inside cabins for the family! We were given 2 at the back deck 7, 1 at the front deck 7.1 at the front deck 1. Having found the other cabins we went to find ours on deck 1. As expected it was compact but well set out. Very surprised to find we had port holes and thought there must be a catch! The ship is well laid out with sliding tops on 2 of the pools. Our first meal at 7pm (the second sitting is at 9.45) We were seated together. The first surprise was that there was no water supplied. ALL DRINKS had to be paid for which is price of drink and tax and the food was quite salty! Mealtimes were not cheap. The descriptions were very inventive and the portions small, very little in the way of vegetables. The waiters were lovely. Our first meal was served within around 10 mins of ordering the second course came within a reasonable space of time. The plates were cleared away and we waited for our dessert and waited. Then music started many guests started swinging their napkins round their heads (watchout for flying breadcrumbs) my family decided to join in with this strange tradition! Some waiters then sung for us! I just sat and waited for my dessert. When the singing was over our desserts finally came. This did not happen every night. We went to the very comfortable well laid out theatre the entertainment was good and there was no language problems. We then went to bed! The next morning we were awoken by engine noises which suddenly turned very loud and the whole cabin viberated! This was caused by the side thrusters as we docked. We would not be needing to set an alarm for this holiday! There is no food available after 5pm except for the restaurants and only water after breakfast! I found a lot of the food a bit bland and all desserts tasted the same to me! Beware the chocolate bar! Strawberries coated in chocolate 1 euro + tax my family got quite addicted to these! We found the holiday relaxing had plenty of sun. The sea day was overcast and there are no deck games on this ship despite lots of wasted space on the top deck. There was a lot of annoying entertainment on the pool deck which meant there was no where to sit in there. The pools are lovely and warm and a sensible depth. The hot tubs were warm and a good size. Despite saying no one under 16 should use the hot tubs there were plenty of children in them even a baby in nappies. This is my 3rd cruise with 3 different lines. I place it second! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - ... Read More
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - too good to miss, even though previous reviews of the ship and line have been mixed. Although I booked an outside cabin with no number, I was delighted to find that we had been upgraded to a balcony. Our first experience, but definitely not the last. We set off for Barcelona - an easy well-timed flight down from the UK to arrive there at 1.30 pm, and went straight to the cruise terminal. I was surprised to find very few passengers there, and we walked through to the embarkation desk where all they needed were our tickets and passports, and where we were issued with the usual ship cards. I found out later that on this cruise the ship had passengers boarding and leaving at almost every port, a bit like a ferry, but it meant that we had a long time in each port. Up onto the ship where security zapped our cards and took security photos with a hand held device. Onboard there are numerous terminals where it is possible to register your credit card yourself by swiping your ship`s card, then your credit card - no waiting at customer services. Our cabin 9210 port side, right at the bow of the ship, was gorgeous. Note - the beds were next to the window which meant we could lie in bed at night and watch the coastal lights. Having since looked at other balcony cabins on other ships, I think this is quite unusual - the beds are usually away from the windows. Plenty of storage and a neat little bathroom with a great big mirror. Everything was spotlessly clean. Dining - we always like to use the buffet dining room, and were very pleased with the quantity and quality of food at breakfast and lunchtime. It was always very busy, and the type of food is not the same at each station - for example, pancakes are on one side of the ship, eggs are on the other. When we did have to wait for a table, it was only a few minutes. Great service from all the waiters and chefs who couldn`t do enough to help. We had a problem in the evenings though - I had read that it was just pizzas in the buffet after 6pm, but I didn`t realise it was just 2 types of pizza - margherita and plain cheese. A few salads, and no desserts at all, not even ice cream. I believe that after 9.30 pm, the pizzeria becomes waiter service with a greater choice of pizzas, but we prefer to eat at 7 p.m. I would also like to say that it was the first ship we`ve been on where the girls on the reception desks were so helpful and polite, they really couldn`t do enough to help. Decor - what can I say? It was a bit OTT, but maybe Italians like it that way! There was pattern and colour on everything, which gave me a headache for the first few days ;) The theme of the ship was Roman gods. One of the big bonuses was 10 lifts together at the central area = no waiting. There were 4 swimming pools, 2 of them with sliding glass roofs over the whole of the pool area. The overall age group seemed to be 30s to 40s, with a great many children, but it was Easter. I felt this lent a really young feel to the ship, although it seemed to be very noisy compared to our other cruises. This applied to the evening shows in the Glove theatre - they were just too noisy for us. The glove theatre had a fantastic wrap-round design, with no obscured views. One of the highlights of the ship was the 4D cinema, which showed short 15 min animations, buy one get one free for 8 euros. The first film we saw was haunted house, which was a fab experience with 3D glasses, moving seats, smells, and puffs of wind. Ports and excursions: Marseille, cancelled because it was too windy to get into port, and replaced with Toulon: Savona; La Spezia, where we took the opportunity to walk to the train station and took the train to Monterosso, one of the Cinque Terre villages; Civitavecchia - we`d booked a trip to Cornetto, but it was cancelled; Naples - we booked a trip down the catacombs, but this was again cancelled, so we took the trip to Sorrento and Amalfi. Tip: sit on the right side of the bus to get the views, and don`t go if you suffer from travel sickness! A days cruising back to Barcelona, then an easy flight home. Summary: Pros: Lovely ship, spotlessly clean Great food Great service from the girls on customer services and the excursion desk Really interesting ports, especially Savona and La Spezia The 4D cinema Long time in each port Cons: No selection at the buffet pizzeria between 6 and 9.30 p.m. It also had the atmosphere of a children`s playground. Would we go with Costa again? definitely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We just returned from a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Costa Serena. As some other contributors have mentioned, we were very apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of the ship on this site. We really wonder what ... Read More
We just returned from a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Costa Serena. As some other contributors have mentioned, we were very apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of the ship on this site. We really wonder what ship these other passengers were on, as we saw none of the activities mentioned by those negative reviewers. First of all, it is true that only about 10% of the passengers speak English, but every member of the crew speaks English well enough to converse with you satisfactorily. Also, there are very few Americans on the ship, but it is an Italian ship - that is to be expected. We knew we were not sailing on an American ship! The ship looks like a floating Las Vegas. Yes, it is brightly decorated, and it could be considered a bit "over the top". But, every place on the ship is perfectly clean and excellently maintained. There were some children on the ship, and they were very well-behaved or quickly disciplined by their parents. Also, we saw some smokers, but only when we happened to venture outside to the decks where smoking was permitted. There were many French, Italians, and Spaniards having a wonderful holiday and making merry on the ship, but they were never anywhere near our cabin. We only experienced peace and quiet when we went to our cabin for the evening. We had a balcony, which we loved. Our cabin was very nice, the bathroom very clean, the bed was very comfortable, and our cabin steward was outstanding. The dining room is very nice, as are the buffets and the burger and pizza bars. The food is not up to 5-start restaurant quality, but it is very good, and the waiters are very attentive. At the buffets or burger and pizza bars, we had to stand in line a few minutes, but there are so many lines, that there were never more than 5 or so people ahead of us. Also, we saw absolutely no one pushing and shoving. We saw mostly smiles and "hellos" from our fellow passengers. We enjoyed the excursions immensely, and all the trips and tour leaders were very organized and quite efficient (with the exception of our Tunisian guide). Also, Madeline, the English speaking hostess is excellent. We understand that the Costa Serena is not the most luxurious cruise ship in the world, but we very much enjoyed it and feel strongly that we needed to comment about what a delightful experience we had in light of all the negativity others have published about this ship. Please sail on the Costa Serena with confidence. You will have a wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have little experience of cruising and our judgements are necessarily based on limited experience. The story so far ........ We went on our first ever cruise last October on Costa Mediterranea. If you read my review of that trip ... Read More
We have little experience of cruising and our judgements are necessarily based on limited experience. The story so far ........ We went on our first ever cruise last October on Costa Mediterranea. If you read my review of that trip (October 2013) you will see that we had to abort in Savona a few days short of finishing the cruise from Rhodes to Marseille. My wife had back problems and we had a horrendous time getting off the boat and making our way to Nice airport. As I warned then, help from the Insurance company via the ship was pitiful and we were largely left to our own devices. I am sure we would have done better on a 'British' ship with a British doctor and speaking in English. We managed however with my limited Italian and rather better French (and help from friendly natives) to get home. With persistence we managed to persuade the Insurance company to pay up, my wife had her operation and we thought to put the money towards doing the bit of the Med we had missed before the insurance premiums went up. This turned out to be rather naive as the company would not cover such a recent operation even though my wife was completely cured. So off we went to Barcelona at the end of March only adequately insured; wife had forgotten her walking stick, but didn't seem bothered. I was. It's a great device for avoiding queues and eliciting sympathy. We had a night before the cruise in Barcelona, the weather was fine and the hotel central. I highly recommend getting to the cruise port the night before embarkation; it takes away a lot of stress even if it does cost a few pennies more in taxi fares. The letter we received from Costa gave the wrong embarkation time but we rolled up at the Cruise terminal at about 12:30 and were drinking our first cocktail an hour later. Barcelona embarkation is comparatively luxurious and has a good duty free section. Thus we managed a decent bottle of wine to celebrate, and a large bottle of water. Although we had booked the all inclusive, it is rather pleasant to have your own bottle of wine on your own balcony for when the extensive fire drills kick in at every port and everything shuts down. Embarkation at Rhodes had been primitive and slow. One for the Serena. The fire drills on Serena were well organised, intelligible and reasonably deft. They managed to lose us on Mediterranea and we all sort of drifted off in different parties into the darkness when nobody seemed interested. Never found the muster station or perhaps we did. One up to the Serena We had booked a Premium cabin this time, but I can't honestly say there was a lot of difference and I wouldn't pay for it again. The coffee they bring with the breakfast is barely drinkable One up to the Mediterranea - The Classic cabin there was slightly larger/wider, although the balcony at the back of Serena wake-watching was fantastic and you are allowed to smoke. We are very much occasional smokers and there has been a big policy shift in smoking since last October. Nowhere inside is set aside for smokers except for a so called Cigar bar, which does not have a bar and as far as we could tell no air extraction system either. One poor chap had to don a gas mask to clean the ashtrays and pose for photos; we only went in once. Better for everybody if they dispensed with it altogether in that state. There are windbreaks on the deck with a bit of a canopy. We haven't smoked inside at home for years and so were not much inconvenienced. A pity on a ship that size that there is not a place where smokers and non smokers can interact in a degree of comfort, but I do realise there is a sea change. A draw. The decor. Just silly on the Serena with the plastic Gods and Goddesses reclining on their polystyrene clouds. One for the Mediterranea. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, I suppose, and both ships were kept immaculately. More could be made of the hand sanitizers but they were there and we did use them. Unlike on the Mediterranea however all fixtures and fittings worked, so one to Serena. Signage or is it signeage? I managed to get lost frequently on Serena, my second cruise and almost never on Mediterranea my first. Principal difficulties were with the way off ship/exit. We spent a good deal of time in the bowels of the ship trying to find the exit. Deck 0 is fascinating with the panoply of waiters and stewards and cooks and laundry and logistics operatives, but we felt we should not be there. It was a bit like one of those Science fiction films where you are wandering along a very white long passage waiting for someone with a meat cleaver to leap out from a side bay. On the last day we were told to proceed to deck 5 and await announcements for disembarkation which we duly did. We were then told to go to deck 0 which we did by the nearest lift. It was a dead end. We went back to deck 5 and found our English hostess who seemed to think it was quite a hoot. It seems a shame that most people who are only on the boat for a week, waste considerable time because signs are just not there. I found the gym on four mornings but not easily. Mediterranea much better. The gym and facilities on the Mediterranea were superior to those on Serena, although they were both pretty good. The locker system on Serena involved putting in a PIN number, but few of the locks were working. On the Mediterranea there were locks with a physical key and lovely big fluffy towels and showers with water coming at you from all directions, so one to Mediterranea. There was certainly plenty of food on both ships with lots of variety. I would not recommend either breakfast or lunch in the Main Dining Room, mainly because there was so much more choice elsewhere. Lunch in MDR seemed to take forever and the breakfast coffee served up is stewed and poor. We never had afternoon tea, but sampled the pizza bar in the evening. If you want a pizza you are better waiting until 21:30 when they serve individual pizzas on deck 10, which are rather better than the slices on deck 9 earlier, although baked in the same oven. It is a sit down meal with friendly waiter service too. The evening meal in MDR was a highlight of the day; we had attentive waiters and a speedy refill of empty glasses. We were fortunate in getting along extremely well with our co-diners which made the waits between courses speed away. Everyone enjoyed the Italian evening. I think both ships provided us with an excellent meal time experience but Serena shades it just. On our first cruise the wife was virtually wheelchair bound and on this one we were not going to trip the light fantastic either and slip another disc, so it would be unfair of us to comment much on the dancing and late night carousing. We heard it, but at a suitably muffled distance. We did go to a couple of shows and listened to some accomplished bar piano/singers ply their trade early evening. There were some very popular dance line dance instruction classes in the pool areas and when these were not operating the wide screen showed a variety of entertainment during the day including virtually a whole Pavarotti concert and of course football. Still it was quite a joy to be away from England during the 20/20 cricket cup in Bangladesh. My only contacts with it were a couple of texts from my son and they didn’t spoil my Prosecco at all. For entertainment therefore Serena just gets the nod. Ah, away from England into some warm sunshine. Those of us from more northerly climes must enjoy our Mediterranean holidays more than those who can take the weather for granted, living there all the time. The only unexpected disappointment was Tunis, where we could not land because of thick fog. We had a bonus docking at Palma de Mallorca instead. That was our only booked excursion; for the other ports we just went a few hundred yards from where the ship docked. The highlight for both of us was the archaeological museum in Naples which is a 10 euro hairy taxi ride away and has to be the most stunning museum I have ever been to. The exhibits are so accessible. You should not of course touch them, but you could. We have been to Herculaneum and Pompeii and got lost driving in the Naples traffic, but the boat drops you so close. The Sunday food market in Savona was good too. The shopping experience on both ships was geared to the expensive ‘duty free’ merchandise and neither sold things you might actually need, like a razor for instance although we did buy a blow up Costa Serena for the bath – not for us you understand. It suited us better to spend another night in Barcelona at the end of the cruise and we had an enjoyable enough day on the hop on hop off tourist bus, but I think that with a little more confidence next time we would try the Barcelona card which includes the train ride from and to the airport. So both ships are of course offering a similar product and experience. For those of you who were counting, Serena won 5-4, but then I chose the categories! Probably because we felt that Serena was better organised. Nothing to choose between the crews who were mostly delightful, smiling and very hard working – honest too; my wife’s mobile phone was handed in within minutes and a phone call made to our cabin via the resourceful waiter. We tipped those who served us most individually and should have taken a pack of little envelopes and notelets which we found very difficult to obtain; rather less embarrassing than just handing over banknotes. Next time we shall try a different line and a different sea, but I for one who was very sceptical about cruising at all have been converted by Costa!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This review contains some of my own personal thoughts, opinions and suggestions that could improve your crusing expereince, especially if you are a first time crusier((like me). The review will be seperaetd into three sections. Positive, ... Read More
This review contains some of my own personal thoughts, opinions and suggestions that could improve your crusing expereince, especially if you are a first time crusier((like me). The review will be seperaetd into three sections. Positive, Negative and would be even better ifs! Positives Embarkation at Barcelona quick , efficient and hassle free. Cabin with a balcont worth paying the xtra for and spacious lovely and clean Drinks package, buy before you cruise. Its great value and not anywhere close to as limited as stated by other reviewers. At somewhere around £16 per person per day it is well worth it, especially if you, like me, make it your lifes work to travel all the way through the cocktail list! There are of course non alcholic cocktails so when you have made your way through the ones containing alcohol and fancy something else, feel free to ask the waiter or bar person to add alcohol of your choice to the non alcoholic ones and they will happily oblige! The staff on this ship are second to none, always polite, always helpful and even on occasion go above and beyond the call of duty. PLease ensure that you save a few euros for the end of the trip to tip your cabin person as they do an amazing job, often twice a day cleaning and tidying your cabin, should it be required. The english rep madeline is lovely, knowledgable polite and the epitomy of professionalism. Top marks there. Trip to pompeii- Do not miss this, this was the very best part of the trip for all of the guests in our party. the sites were amazing and margot the guide was excellent, so much so that we tipped her at the end of the excursion. Trip to Tunis. no need to buy the expensive excursion. Ten euros will get you on the shuttle bus that drops you at the souk and this is great fun! Trip to the catacombs- The catacombs are great if not a little scary but get the shuttle bus into town rather than the expensive excursion. the trip is long winded spends too much time in one place and often the commentary takes ages as the tour guide has to describe everything in a number of different languages which on the surface is fine but does become really tiresome and both myself and my sister in law got really agitated by this towards the end of the trip. savona- simply get off the ship walk into town and sit at the side of the harbour and watch the world go by whilst trying some of the beautiful pasta and pizza on offer its awesome. Entertainment on board isnt to everyones taste but is fine Good hairdryer in room There is an indoor smoking room located on one of the decks look out for Dark vader! The chap who cleans this room comes in with a gas mask on! rightly so but was quite funny the first time we saw him! For him indoors there is an F1 simulator. Be prepared to be left for long periods of time if your chap is into his motor sport. Testosterone was in buckets and the competition was fierce! Good fun though i was told. Hubby spent almost 100 euros on here so it must have been! Negative I expereinced a lot of the pushing and shoving and not queing Food was fine for the first few days but it was never particulalry hot just warm. I suppose only to be expected taking into consideration the amount of people needed to be fed. A gripe from all our group was that bottled water is not included in the drinks package The mini bar is expensive and there is a charge for it to be restocked I love the sun and therefore if you do too i would say dont book to go on a cruise in feb,march etc as you wont see much sun on board you will get some in Tunis though. No mention of hand hygeine in presentation and few people taking advantage of the hand sanitiser available at most entrances to eating areas. A ship this size could see food poisioning spread quickly, Decor, not to everyones taste and whilst im no linda barker found it all to bright and gawdy with no where except the cabin to give the eyes a rest. Quality of the coffee at breakfast is rubbish and the hot water is only hot not boiling so even if you were to take your own t bags it doesnt make a decent cuppa. if you like a sing song and see karaoke on your 'today' magazine, dont get excited, its mainly in other languages, you dont stand a hope in hell of being able to get up and sing, the screen wobbles all over the place and the graphics are pants.The compare gets people in the wrong order so it causes loads of confusion, give this one a wide berth(excuse the pun) Even better if You dont go expecting The QE2 (as was) Your happy to mingle with individuals that have no manners and can overlook this Water was included in drinks package You go in the warmer months (obviously you will pay more) The decor was toned down in a few areas The food was hot Finally I have said that i would be unlikely to cruise again. The main reason for this is that the whole experience simply reminded me of all inclusive holidays that i had previously on land, without the benefit of being able to jump on a bus or a taxi whenever i felt like it. Therefore i found it restrictive. However i have considered this in more depth and come to the conclusion that if i had gone during the warmer months, and perhaps to a smaller ship and to better destinations that i could be persuaded to try it again. As a woman in my early 40s i ditched all inclusive type holidays when i didnt have my children in tow,. Cruising isnt for everyone but if you like the all inclusive vibe then you will be fine and it is something that you need try at least once.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our second trip on the Costa Serena and knew exactly what to expect. Firstly this is an Italian Cruise Line and you will only occasionally hear the English Language being spoken by your fellow passengers. Lots of children on board ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Costa Serena and knew exactly what to expect. Firstly this is an Italian Cruise Line and you will only occasionally hear the English Language being spoken by your fellow passengers. Lots of children on board of all ages and a real family atmosphere prevails with plenty of activities for them. The food is geared to Continental tastes and it can be a bit hectic in the self service at times although we have never had to queue for more than a few minutes - never mind 40 minutes as claimed by an earlier reviewer. Our cabin staff were excellent and always visible - we did have a suite (offered an upgrade from balcony cabin at a reasonable extra charge). Lively entertainment areas - with the Italians and other Europeans enjoying their dancing - the old fashioned way. Plenty of quiet areas to escape the crowds if required. If you are a complainer then don't bother - one couple approached out English Hostess with a list of seven of the most trivial matters - why they bother leaving home I don't know. This is not a stiff and starchy Cruise Ship with a formal atmosphere and you get what you pay for - by the way we are a couple in our seventies (just) and will use Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Let me starts to explain that my wife and I have travelled to and in many countries and we usually would stay in 4 star or higher hotels. As I would become 65 years of age on the 11th. of February my wife and I decided to do something ... Read More
Let me starts to explain that my wife and I have travelled to and in many countries and we usually would stay in 4 star or higher hotels. As I would become 65 years of age on the 11th. of February my wife and I decided to do something special this year and book a cruise on the Mediterranean on the Costa Serena (Savona, Naples, Palermo,Tunis, Barcelona, Marseille, Savona) . As every traveler should do, prior to our booking we looked at the various reactions made by previous travelers on this trip. The first evening and night (as soon after the ship departed from Savona), my wife got seasick, in a way that she had to skip dinner altogether. The next evening departing from Naples the same happened, but taking sea-sickness tablets (provided on the ship) , my wife endured the dinner. After that she didn't have seasickness again. The meals on the ship were considered by both of us to be perfect!! I can not imagine that anybody would complain about this as the selection of food was fabulous!! Everything on board seemed to be well organized (maybe except for the lengthy time the life-boat instruction lasted) . The booked excursions all worked out fine.The only thing to improve on is to my opinion the fact that you need to pay for the use of WIFI. That seems to me to be a bit out of fashion. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We have recently returned from a costa cruise, which we almost didn't take because of all the awful things said about the line. So pleased we went with our common sense we had a fantastic time. The important thing to remember when ... Read More
We have recently returned from a costa cruise, which we almost didn't take because of all the awful things said about the line. So pleased we went with our common sense we had a fantastic time. The important thing to remember when booking a Costa cruise is that this line caters very much to the southern european market, especially italian. therefore dining arrangements, especially at breakfast, are done to suit, i.e. more emphasis on buffet style, less so on the sit down served arrangement as is prevalent on other lines. there is the option to go to the restaurant and be seated, most of the food is continental buffet style but tea and coffee are served, as are items that don't lend themselves to buffet such as omelettes, fried and poached eggs etc. evening dining is the event with 7 courses, and there is the usual lunch buffet/burger and fries bar very much like most cruise lines. there is no buffet dining in the evening, the area turns into a sit down served pizzeria. very italian. Our embarkation in Barcelona, was quick and very efficient, but most of the passengers don't get on and off here so we are unable to comment on the other ports. We were treated wonderfully from the start, politely, friendly and we didn't come across many staff who couldn't at least make themselves understood in English. Costa are very thorough these days with lifeboat drill, as they should be. the arrangements for english speakers at this port were as plain as the nose on your face. turn up at the arranged time at the theatre, listen to the english hostess give a talk and watch a video and then be ESCORTED to your muster station for the lifejacket demo. simples. you can then happily ignore any further announcements regarding lifeboat drill at other ports no matter what language the announcement is in. language does seem to be a major issue for some cruisers on costa especially in europe. the bulk of the passengers come from italy, spain, france, portugal, germany etc. their first language is not english, why should it be and why should this need spelling out. it annoys us greatly that some english speakers seem to have this bizarre idea that everybody should be able to speak english. There is also a perception that if the passengers are european therefore there is bound to be pushing and shoving. i will admit that in some instances some of them don't grasp the concept of queuing very well, but in the restaurants we saw none of that. everyone waited in line, generally patiently and did not push in. the smoking rules on board are very strict, more so than some other lines we have been on. no smoking inside, not even in the casino. we saw no one disobey these rules and never smelled smoke inside. the only place where smoke could be smelled was at the side of the door leading to the promenade deck but it never lingered as the air conditioning was very efficient here. there were so many bars and seating areas it was never necessary to sit there. in fact, this ship has more bars and seating areas than most of the ships we have been on. there is only one paid for restaurant plus a small one specifically for spa cabins and the space for these has to come from somewhere. full marks to costa for resisting the many paid dining areas (so far). most of the bars had some form of live music/entertainment which was excellent as was the talent in the theatre shows. no big production shows as on lines such as royal caribbean but the in house dancers and singers were as good, if not better than we have seen elsewhere. the shows were very popular, and they managed to find something which could appeal to all cultures and languages. well done to Costa for what is potentially difficult. This is a large ship and absorbs its full complement of passengers really well, there is never any need to feel overwhelmed by people if you want to get away. we never used the library, internet area, or disco so cannot comment on these. considering the large number of teens on board and that alcohol is served from age 18, the behaviour was very good. The food was absolutely wonderful. maybe fewer choices in the buffet than some cruises but generally you would have to be extremely picky not to find something to like. I have read poor reviews about the pizza. this is probably due to expectation. certain nationalities (not to be named) expect their pizza to have thick or stuffed crust and a hundred or so toppings to choose from. italian pizza is not like that, it is a snack really, made to be cooked very quickly and eaten on the run, hence thin crust and few toppings. we love it, and when you are on costa you are effectively in italy. whereas costa's pizza is not the best we have ever had it italy, it is more than acceptable. The burger and fries bar tended to be the busiest (there were many teens on board on this sailing), especially between 11 and noon. the main buffet did not open until 12 noon and on one day in particular when the ship docked at 1 pm everyone wanted to eat and be ready for getting off. however, there were actually 2 burger/fries bars on this ship and the one at the other end of the buffet from the main pool was usually quieter. all you have to do is wander around and look. we never waited very long in the main buffet, even at the busy lunch time. the evening dining was wonderful, 7 courses (all small) which meant you can try lots of different food items and still be able to walk. and if you didn't think any course was big enough, they would have happily brought you another one, or a different one. all the staff wanted to do was to please and i never heard the words its not possible once. the food was of very good quality, beautifully cooked and presented and politely served by the friendly waiters. if costa is at the 'cheap' end of cruising the food did not make it feel like it. we had the drinks package which was fantastic value and the wine at dinner was most acceptable. if you are a connoisseur you may have problems, but then maybe you are on the wrong cruise line. the food was excellent quality, beautifully cooked and presented and politely served. there were many children on board, all of them very well behaved and the odd one that misbehaved was soon pulled into line by a parent or carer. yes they were noisy and lively especially in the activities around the pool which they were all encouraged to join in, even the tiny ones. i would be very concerned about children in this environment that weren't noisy and lively. at dinner, all the children we saw, and there were many of them, knew how to sit up to a table, sit still, manage cutlery and behave in a civilised manner. perhaps this is because they are brought up to do this from a young age. it is obvious from our travels in europe that they seem to grasp the idea that children are a joy to have with you and you want to give them a good time, but they are not the centre of the universe and sometimes they have to fit in with the grown ups and do it with good grace. the children on this ship certainly knew how to do this. the main pool area was where many of the activities took place, mostly around dancing, singing, games and exercise. we expected it to be like a zoo but it wasn't. the glass roof was nice as it meant the area was available to use even in bad weather. the weather on our cruise wasn't especially good, quite windy and a bit of a swell so that sometimes the pools had to be closed due to water slopping around which would have not been safe. similarly, not all the beds were out because there weren't enough people outside to use them. however, if you could find a nice warm sheltered corner (which we did), there was nothing to stop you getting a bed and moving it. (which we did). we didn't ask someone else to do it for us, we just took a bed and moved it. we expect service on a cruise, not slavery. the public bathrooms were plentiful but not easy to locate and this was a niggle which we intend to raise on our survey. the doors were the same colour as the ladies/gents sign and this made them easy to miss. there was supposed to be a lit sign above the door but it was not always lit up. plus, the ship map did not show the location of the bathrooms. when we did find one, it was always spotless and fresh. occasionally towels and tissues did run out, especially the bathrooms around the theatre which were heavily used, but it never took long to replenish them. besides there are hand air driers as well. hygiene was paid attention, hand sanitiser available outside all the restaurants and coming on board. no washee washee (ncl) you were left to make the decision to sanitise your hands yourself. you would be a fool not to. Costa does not present, or price itself as the Ritz of cruising. It is a family orientated and family friendly line and this shows in the way that children of all ages are welcomed and valued. some of the kids did go to the kids club, some not. the carers of the kids club certainly knew how to keep their charges in line and they did. we never once saw any child 'running wild' - whatever that means. haven't reviewed the cabin specifically, they are pretty similar to cabins on most cruise lines. we had an inside one, midships, deck 7 which was a premium cabin an a little larger than some we have had and a very nice bathroom. we do usually tend to go for the cheapest option because we spend so little time in it, but Costa have this arrangement whereby if you book the cheap, to be allocated cabin, you cannot choose your dining location or time. for two people travelling together perhaps this is OK but we were in a four and wanted to be sure we were dining together. For that reason only we upgraded to the premium cabin, classic is the cheapest. it actually wasn't that much more expensive, about £28 per person. we also got room service free with this class of cabin and as we do like our early morning tea/coffee it was nice to have that. we did have breakfast pastries once in the cabin an were impressed with them, they were delicious and fresh. Using the medical facility isn't something you particularly want to do but on this occasion we had to. They were excellent, very well staffed, treatment first class and wonderfully caring and considerate. the medical facility must report to the customer service staff details about their patients because 2 days after i started receiving treatment they called me in the cabin to ask how I was and had my condition improved. a nice touch. Fortunately for me I wasn't confined to the cabin (not norovirus!). What I would say to the nigglers and complainers about Costa cruises is this - they are exceptionally good value - don't expect the Ritz from what you have paid If you are travelling in Europe, the ship will probably be full of Italians, Spanish, French etc. what did you expect. These passengers will probably not speak English, why should they. Do you hate the presence of visible children, especially in the dining room. if you do, choose another line, or an adult only ship. Going on holiday should be an adventure, it won't be totally under your control and like it is at home. that is the joy of a holiday. if you really can't stand it that there may be little things that are not exactly as you might like them to be, then better to stay at home. We have travelled on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and NCL as well as Costa and independent travel throughout Europe and the USA. There are things about each one that have been specially nice, and things that we were not too sure of. That applies to probably every holiday we have ever been on. Keep an open mind, be flexible and you will have a wonderful time, on Costa as on any other cruise line. Moderate your expectation to what is realistic and do some research first (and not just bad reviews). Be grateful you can afford to cruise, and are fit enough to do so. There are many out there that would give their right arm to be doing what you (and we) are fortunate enough to be able to do .   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the ... Read More
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the cruise took on most of it's passengers in Marseille and Savona -The drinks package was very reasonable What's bad - The lack of choice , There's very little choice for eating on costa, - The queues- Particularly in the buffet for breakfast or lunch on sea days, On our sea day the queue for the buffet was 40 minutes long. At this particular time (Between 11 and 12) this was the only food available. I would not like to be on this ship with kid's who may end up crying for food. The queue was inexcusable the buffet is huge but 90% of it was closed. It wouldn't take many staff to open more of it - Some of the staff- Some of the bar waiters would walk past your table full of empty drinks 10 times, Or ignore you if you called them discreetly. Maybe they are used to dealing with Europeans who are more assertive. - Some of the public bathrooms were a bit smelly and there was often no towels or tissues to dry your hands. Never seen anything close to this on another cruise ship.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We are not normally difficult to please. We have taken eight cruises between my sister and I and have never been so disappointed as with this Costa Cruise. If I ever hear the phrase "impossibla" or "madam it is not ... Read More
We are not normally difficult to please. We have taken eight cruises between my sister and I and have never been so disappointed as with this Costa Cruise. If I ever hear the phrase "impossibla" or "madam it is not possible" again I will scream! When you take a cruise you have to accept that you are a captive audience and all that goes with that. However, Costa take this to an entirely different level. The staff are trained in the a way which seems to be that the customer is never right and expects too much! By the end of our seven day cruise we had a list of three A4 sheets of complaints (we don't normally do this!). A few examples - The lifeboat drill was a farce - we asked a number of crew for directions and were sent the wrong way three times before finding the English speaking presentation - this did not fill us with confidence from the first day!! We politely asked the deck crew to get out some sunbeds on an upper deck - they were very reluctant, saying that they could only get them out on one deck (not where we had found a sheltered spot!) We both drink a lot of water……despite being on the all inclusive package, water was restricted to a serving by the glass (small) and I could not get a glass of Prosecco (normally included at the bars) in the dining room as a dessert wine. Also huge queues for the buffet on returning from excursions, pools closed for no apparent reason, children in adult areas and poor excursions, where supposed English speaking guides could only repeat "is very important" for most of the landmarks! All of these are indicative of poor organisation and poor customer service. After complaining with Guest Services and speaking with the English Cruise Representative (who we felt were understanding of our issues), we decided not to pay the Service Charge as we had received very poor service. To cap it all, when we were disembarking we were shouted down by a tall overbearing Italian man (The Assistant Administrative Director – Daniele Gorini) who did not listen to anything we said but just insisted on speaking over us. He then proceeded to say that Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic were “Bull Shit.” Needless to say, we will not be taking a Costa Cruise again. We normally take NCL cruises, however, they did not have the specific dates we needed on this occasion. Next time we will take a different holiday rather than a Costa Cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Do not chose this cruise line. Regardless of the price. I beg you. There are too many excellent cruise lines. This is not one of them. First, the embarkation process. This was a total disaster. There were no announcements made. There was ... Read More
Do not chose this cruise line. Regardless of the price. I beg you. There are too many excellent cruise lines. This is not one of them. First, the embarkation process. This was a total disaster. There were no announcements made. There was an "information" line, in which I spent 45 minutes. She checked my documents, and and was told to wait here. It was immediately apparent that there was no purpose to the line. We then saw numerous people walking outside the building, in a pouring rain, with their luggage. We followed. There was confusion once in this new building. After some help from Italian speaking passengers, we got luggage tags, which we put on our luggage, along with a number (6), presumably for another line. We then followed them into the previous building, again in the pouring rain, with our number 6. Number one was called, and all passengers, regardless of their number (1 to 10), lined up, with pushing and shoving. We lined up as well. This was more of a free for all than an orderly process. Costa does this every week. I should have taken this to be a warning of things to come.Suffice it to say, things went downhill from here. We only met our cabin person on the last day of the 12 day cruise, and only by happenstance. We went back to the cabin to grab something at the request of another passenger, and ran into the cabin steward. I am unclear how this happens. We have always known our cabin people from day 1. Next was dinner. After waiting 1/2 hour, we were provided a menu. We were then asked what we wanted to drink. I said coffee. The reply was that I would need to go up to deck 5, and purchase it, and bring it back down. At this point, after waiting for so long, and the coffee thing, we spoke with the person at the front desk. He said that the long wait was due to the muster drill. I said that all the tables around us were being served, and were on the main course, so this was not the reason. He then repeated the muster drill explanation, only louder. As if I would then understand. We ended up leaving in frustration. We thought we could go to the buffet, but there is no buffet for dinner. We also tried to call the front desk, several times, and they didn't answer. On one call, we gave them 45 minutes. We were forced to dress, and go stand in line at the front desk to get answers to our questions. I could go on and on. I think you catch the drift. When you work hard, you expect and deserve a great vacation. You won't find it here. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
The check-in on date of departure was a nightmare. No one seemed to know what they were doing? The fire drill was VERY long since they had to repeat it in several different languages. I had to get out of the line due to almost fainting. No ... Read More
The check-in on date of departure was a nightmare. No one seemed to know what they were doing? The fire drill was VERY long since they had to repeat it in several different languages. I had to get out of the line due to almost fainting. No fresh air and claustrophobia. Food was very meager and mediocre - sometimes the meat was identifiable or like shoe leather. I have never seen a piece of prime rib about 3/8" thick!!! The food got better towards the latter days on board. Enjoyed the excursions - two of them had a buffet lunch at a 5-star restaurant which was 10 times better than the ship's buffets. Also enjoyed the balcony room on Deck 7. All the Americans we got to know on board all said, it was their first Costa cruise (due to the low price) and would be their last one! They always talk about Ugly Americans; however I found the Europeans on board were very rude, disrespectful, pushy, shoving, always cutting in line with no regard for other people (even the children were rude - some of which were allowed to run wild). It was a long 12 days - wanted to kiss the ground when I got home to the States.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have just returned yesterday 18th November 2013 from a very disappointing seven night cruise on the Costa Serena. We were picked up from our hotel at 1100 and taken to Civitavecchia to board the ship. When we got there we were herded ... Read More
I have just returned yesterday 18th November 2013 from a very disappointing seven night cruise on the Costa Serena. We were picked up from our hotel at 1100 and taken to Civitavecchia to board the ship. When we got there we were herded into a large shed and found out ship couldn't dock and had gone to Naples. No Costa staff told us anything, a woman got on our bus spoke only in Italian which resulted in a slanging match with the Italians on board, nobody either from Costa or the other passengers told the number of English on board anything, not a good start. When we reached Naples it was raining, there were no porters to take our cases, it was like a rugby scum not very good after over five hour trip. Cannot blame Costa for weather but their lack of communication to the English was very poor. Check in, again a shambles two desks open for over a hundred passengers. We got on board and what we found was cigarette smoke everywhere. It was awful the smokers just ignored the few no smoking signs and puffed away. Costa do not cater for English speaking, all the announcements were often enough not in English. We had BBC World on the tv for two days and even that was taken off. You had to pay to watch films in either the cinema or in your cabin I was on the Costa Serena two years ago and comparing the two there is no comparison. Even the Captain couldn't be bothered to come to the Costa Club cocktail ! Every port we came too passengers got off to be replaced by more mostly Italians and French. The Costa Serena is the biggest ferry the Med. The only good thing about my cruise was the staff. The numbers have clearly been cut so they are working harder. Most of the Britsh passengers I spoke to swore they wouldn't go on a Costa cruise again, I certainly wont they just does not cater for us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We cruised with Costa Serena to Civitaveccia,Olbia,Palma de Mallorca,Ibiza and Toulon.The last port should have been Marseille,but was changed because of the weather. That was a disappointment. Anyway,this was our first cruise,and I'm ... Read More
We cruised with Costa Serena to Civitaveccia,Olbia,Palma de Mallorca,Ibiza and Toulon.The last port should have been Marseille,but was changed because of the weather. That was a disappointment. Anyway,this was our first cruise,and I'm glad we choose this one.Many places to visit, cabin with balcony, all inclusive :) For one of us,the meal service wasn't what he expected, he waited more variety for the meals. I was satisfied though,even I look very closely what I put in to my mouth. You don't get starved in your trip,you could eat almost at any time you wanted. When the ship arrives to the land,there's no horry. All day long the transfer goes on,and you have plenty of time to explore everything. That's why we choose not to take any excursions,we didn't want to ''relax with a clock'' . The crew on Costa Serena was awesome! They are always ready to serve and help,even they're English wasn't 10+,and that was something I noticed every place we visited. That is why I wouldn't recommend this cruise (or any other cruise on Mediterian sea) to someone who doesn't speak English. Most of the people were Italian. They know how to enjoy and have fun! You can't see many children on board,and my opinion is,that this cruise wasn't made for them. Lots of partying and lots of alcohol,which didn't mind me,even I don't drink. I loved the ship! So beautiful and luxurious,clean and big,many things to do! Staff was cleaning and serving all the time,with a smile :) despite few ''angry birds'' I liked the staff. All together, I would go back if I had a chance! The only thing I didn't like,was the buss transfer from/to Milano-Savona-Milano. It was so long way,and we didn't stop to have a break when we traveled from Milano to Savona. It was a scary road and driver drived so fast. But otherwise this cruise was awesome experience!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We went on a 3 night cruise to Barcelona and Marseilles, France on Costa. Overall the experience was not a bad one, but certainly one that if you are not Italian or even European can be a bit of an adjustment. The ship was well cared for ... Read More
We went on a 3 night cruise to Barcelona and Marseilles, France on Costa. Overall the experience was not a bad one, but certainly one that if you are not Italian or even European can be a bit of an adjustment. The ship was well cared for and was in the Greek God/Goddess theme. What this means is that I spent several times answering questions from my little one about "what is that" when she pointed to the naked men and women (Greek figures) throughout the ship. The decor was nice, the main area was nice and the cabins were extremely spacious and well maintained. Bingo again was the highlight activity on the ship! We played each night. The shows were pretty good. We pretty much did our own thing for the most part. The cruise ship boasted about the kids activities and we took the youngest to the kids area and many times she was the only one. Many people on the cruise opted to have their children with them. My teenager didn't find anything interesting in the teen zone as again it appeared no one really hung out. The main reason we chose this cruise is to go to Barcelona. However, the Barcelona stop was a true disappointment. We were only in port for 5 hours and that is not enough time to spend in Barcelona. We spent an entire day in Marseilles and it was a waste. I would rather have more time in Barcelona and less time in Marseilles. The food was typical European fare and the buffet is a free for all! There is no such thing as queing for lines so its pretty much get in where you fit in. The evening dining was nice and there was a nice selection of food each night. We had set seating so we dined with the same family each night. They had kids and so it was a nice time to catch up to hear about each others adventures during the day. We bought the drink package because it was worth the money. It averaged out to 3 drinks a day per person and we consumed more than that (non-alcoholic). We bought water from the ports and were able to carry it on with us. The price was right for this quick 3 night cruise and it was a good introduction to Costa to decide if I wanted to cruise with them in the future. As an American on an Italian cruise ship, the hardest adjustment was the smoking throughout the ship. There were not designated areas so people pretty much smoked where they wanted. There were enough people on the ship that spoke English so we didn't fell alienated, but we were certainly the minority on this particular cruise. The people did not appear to be as friendly and sociable as other cruises but the crew was nice. All in all, if there was more time in Barcelona this would be a definite recommend. For the cruising experience, it was not a bad experience and if asked would I use Costa again, I would say yes. At least next time I will know what to expect and can prepare accordingly! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was a family cruise with eight family members, and we had a great time because our goal was to spend time together, and it was very enjoyable. But as far as the ship... 1. Our cabin was spacious, we had a private balcony,and we ... Read More
This was a family cruise with eight family members, and we had a great time because our goal was to spend time together, and it was very enjoyable. But as far as the ship... 1. Our cabin was spacious, we had a private balcony,and we were surprised with the amount of storage space. It was clean and comfortable. Housekeepers kept it very clean and neat. They don't provide wash cloths or facial tissue (Kleenex) 2. Decorations were not to my taste, art and colors were not attractive at all. Full of naked mythology men and half naked women. They had some mannequins hanging in the clouds at the atrium... really awful. All the doors had the same side view of a roman man that to me looked like Osama Bin Laden. Paintings were in loud colors, horrible. 3. There was smoking everywhere, in the casino, decks, it was hard to be outside and not be annoyed by somebody smoking next to you. No respect for laws that were published. 4. This ship is not equipped to handle the amount of passengers it carries. It was crowded wherever you went. There were three pools and Jacuzzis, I never went because of the crowds and smoking. 5. Food. I was pleased that for dinner at Vesta restaurant I always had several vegetarian options for my meals. Their pasta is great. The rest is mediocre. Crowds and long lines for meals, for juice or coffee (by the way, I would call it "brown water") Several times after standing in line for juice, when you got to the machine it was out of juice and it would take forever for the staff to replace it. At the Buffet, it was hard to find a place to sit at peak hours. The waiters were very slow to clear the tables most of the time. The plates would pile up and sometimes we had to remove them. There were long lines for pizza also. My husband stood in line for 15 minutes one day, and he was still 8th in line, so we gave up. I never found a salt shaker that had running salt, all of them had moist salt. 6. Customer "no" service. I had no hot water in my cabin one night. I called to report, but nobody would pick up the phone. The next night again there was no hot water. This time I stayed until somebody picked up the phone and they took note of it. The next morning I went personally to Customer service to ask if something had been done, I did not want to take a cold shower again. The man asked me "Do you have hot water now?" and I said yes. "Then you have to call us when you don't have hot water so we can see what the problem is" He never apologized. I also mentioned to him that after midnight, there were loud announcements of sales in the halls. He said that I must be wrong, there were no announcements. But several other persons had heard them also. 7. Ports of call were Rio, Angra dos Reis and Punta del Este. They were nice stops, we did not take any ship tours. At Angra the time was so short, only 4 hours. By the time you got your turn to get off the ship, you had to return. 8. Lastly... on the last informational debarkation meeting, our cruise director gave us a talk into giving them good reviews in the evaluation forms. Most of the passengers were Argentinian, and I guess they don't have anything to compare. But having cruised with other cruise lines, I place Costa at the bottom, bottom of the list. Sorry. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The Costa Serena is an attractive and contemporary ship. It's style might best be described as an American designers impression of Italian classical culture - 'plastic Italian glitz.' The transfer (from the airport) and ... Read More
The Costa Serena is an attractive and contemporary ship. It's style might best be described as an American designers impression of Italian classical culture - 'plastic Italian glitz.' The transfer (from the airport) and embarkation procedures were excellent - the easiest and fastest of all our cruise experiences. The cabin (B5) and the very aft of the ship was fantastic. Spacious, contemporary and with a balcony that could sit four. There was the occasional mild vibration from the engines as the ship was approaching its berth but nothing to really complain about. The life-boat drill, in six languages, was irksome. Those who had already heard their instructions proceeded to talk through other languages. Costa should seriously consider an alternative. The entertainment in the theatre, considering they were coping with multiple languages was surprisingly good. Musical entertainment around the ship was mainly Italian. The ports visited were well chosen and the excursions, though as usual expensive, were well organised. On the debit side the smoking of cigarettes almost everywhere inside (not restaurants) was very uncomfortable. The food in the restaurants and buffet whilst acceptable lacked imagination and variety. Presentation was reasonable but we did not look forward to meals at all. The food was at best warm and frequently cold - oh dear! Indeed we were glad that the cruise was only for seven days. We paid extra to eat in a specialist restaurant, Bacco - don't waste your 25 euros - a disappointment. Every other cruise line does it better and for less. What came as a surprise was that they only offer one menu - it does not change at all over the entire cruise! No wonder booking a table was easy - Bacco was almost empty.Service was passable but clearly leadership does not come from the top. The Restaurant Manager only visited Italian guests in the restuarant. Here again every other cruise line does it better. The cabin steward was friendly and efficient. The inclusive drinks package is however, very good value and the choice much wider than advertised on the Costa website. But be advised, even if you have pre-purchased this service your on board card must be registered and a new one issued at the Reception desk - no one told us. Would I sail with Costa again? If the price and destinations were right then I might consider it otherwise no - everyone else, even budget cruise lines do it better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
My wife and I recently cruised on Costa Serena departing Savona on October 7th 2012, returning to Savona on October 14th and calling at Civitavecchia, Palermo, La Palma, Valentia and Marseilles. We flew from Gatwick to Malpensa, Milan and ... Read More
My wife and I recently cruised on Costa Serena departing Savona on October 7th 2012, returning to Savona on October 14th and calling at Civitavecchia, Palermo, La Palma, Valentia and Marseilles. We flew from Gatwick to Malpensa, Milan and were disappointed that we were not met at arrivals but had to make our own way from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. The meeting point we were given at Terminal 1 was also lacking Costa staff and we had to enquire where we could find the Costa coach. Eventually we met a Costa rep and duly set off for the ship. Embarkation at Savona was also not without incident because by the time we got off the coach (having filled in the obligatory health questionaire) the baggage handlers had already spirited away all our cases including our hand luggage which contained our tickets and all our other documents apart from our passports. The moral of this story is don't label your hand luggage unless you want it to be delivered directly to your cabin. However the customer service staff in the embarkation lounge could not have been more helpful and, in fact, they fast tracked our embarkation. We had an inside cabin on deck 10 which also contained the Lido Pool and the buffet restaurant - a perfect location. The cabin itself was quite spacious and reasonably well appointed. Our cabin staff member was pleasant and helpful. The ship itself is on the large size even by cruise ship standards and the decor was rather garish by northern European standards with its spectacular six storey atrium and its mythological figures at the height of poor taste. We chose second sitting dining and despite our request to be seated at a 6 or 8 person table we were given a table for two. Upon querying this later we were told that because of our age and language our request could not be accommodated. I found the age restriction odd as at least three quarters of the passengers were OAPs like us but I can understand the language problem as there were no more than a few dozen English speakers among the over 3000 passengers. In the end we really enjoyed our dining experience because our table was sited beside an 8 person table occupied by a very lively extended Spanish family and an equally lively table of young Italian friends both of which tables included us in their revelries. The food was fair to medium and though the service was pleasant it was often slow. The first course took longest to serve and subsequent courses came in a rush. Food in the self service buffet was rather basic and lacking in choice except for the pasta which was freshly cooked on the spot. Another disappointing area was the library which had very few books and was open for very short periods of time. The evening entertainment was surprisingly good despite the multi-lingual audience. The crew's own show was enjoyable, the highlight of which was the singing of our English language rep, Holly, who incidentally was excellent throughout the cruise. The ports of call were fine, the only gripe being the 9 euro per person charge for the "courtesy" coaches in the non-Italian ports. Deck space was good with plenty of loungers to relax on. The spa facilities were good but my wife felt that the pressure to avail of further treatments and to purchase expensive lotions bordered on unacceptable hard-sell techniques. All in all we found the cruise very relaxing and enjoyable and despite the miner gripes mentioned above we would certainly recommend Costa cruises and we will certainly be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
What a pleasant surprise this cruise was after reading the poor reviews!! The ship was very clean and the staff was very friendly and made my husband & I feel very welcome. The food was very good and the the service was ... Read More
What a pleasant surprise this cruise was after reading the poor reviews!! The ship was very clean and the staff was very friendly and made my husband & I feel very welcome. The food was very good and the the service was excellent. We were ated with other English speaking couples at dinner who were also enjoying the cruise. The tips are billed at the end of the cruise but we felt the service was so good that we gave an additional tip to the cabin steward and the waiters. We had a balconey cabin on deck 7 & our cabin steward Reina made sure that our cabin was always and & inviting to come back to. If you can afford it the balconey is the way to go! A couple at our dinner table were on deck two and they said they were awakened at 4AM every morning for the staff wake up call. We are not smokers even though smoking is allowed in the cabins for those that do, there was no odor from any previous smokers. There is no smoking in the eating areas or the lounges and it is enforced. We were a little disappointed that a few excursions were cancelled due to low sign up. Most of the excursions we went on were pleasant, but unfortunately we did not go on the one that everyone said was fantastic-the excursion to Monaco. There are mostly Europeans on this cruise so the announcements are in several languages, English being the last. Some staff spoke much better English than others, but all the staff we met spoke enough English to be helpful. Holly is the hostess for the English speaking and is very helpful and readily available if needed (She also has a great singing voice!). There were 2 formal nights; most men wore suits & not a tux, most women wore evening dresses and a few wore gowns. The shows wee not Broadway quality but were enjoyable, especially the ventriloquist. There are no washcloths for the shower, I brought a bath sponge which worked out very well. A must to pack is Downey wrinkle releaser-it works fantastic on wrinkled clothes-no need for pressing! There is an outlet in the room that does not need a converter. The hair drier works well enough. Don't forget to pack an umbrella and light raincoat-you never know if you need it. Our weather was beautiful but we did get one day of rain. Happily, overall it was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We just returned from a seven-day cruise on the Costa Serena followed by another twelve-day one on another cruise line. Our overall experience was not so bad considering that we did not have any great expectations and we kept our minds ... Read More
We just returned from a seven-day cruise on the Costa Serena followed by another twelve-day one on another cruise line. Our overall experience was not so bad considering that we did not have any great expectations and we kept our minds open to different cultures. We chose the Serena mainly because of its itinerary and we wanted to try a more European ambiance. The ship is quite nice and we liked our cabin. The decoration is not exactly classy and you definitely recognize the Carnival style...but to each his own! We enjoyed the music on board which included an amazing trio from Paraguay. Most shows were quite enjoyable but we felt sorry for the singers and dancers on the production shows, they were doing a good job but the public did not seem to appreciate. Considering the amount of work and money spent on these shows, perhaps the cruise line should reconsider its entertainment and offer one which would be more adapted to the clientele. Considering the reduced personnel in the dining room, bars, etc. we found that our waiters did an amazing job. Again, we must take into consideration that the Italians, Spanish and French do not drink much liquor, they drink wine and coffee, the cruise line must make money somehow and they cut on personnel. The food was fine, obviously, if you like big steaks and lobster tails, this won't be the cruise for you but we had lovely fish, veal and of course, pasta. Our fellow passengers were mostly Italians, Spanish and French. The Italians and Spanish had their children with them and the age group was fairly young. They mostly traveled in groups of six to eight people. We have to accept the fact that they are not very disciplined, will cut in lines, totally ignore the rules regarding smoking, adult only pools, etc. You will hear them talk loudly, let the children run in the halls in front of your cabin at one in the morning, etc. As the buffet dining room is not open for dinner, except for the pizzeria, the families bring their young children to the dining (with strollers and all). If you happen to be at a table beside a group of adults with children, don't expect a nice quiet dinner. We enjoyed the theme nights in the dining room they were really fun. We had read that if you spoke English, people at the service desk did not treat you properly. We don't agree. We speak a bit of Italian but not enough to keep a conversation and every time we went to the Service desk, we spoke English or French and there was always someone who could help us in our chosen language. In conclusion, if you are ready for trying something different, sail with Costa. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We knew we would not be alone on this last minute decided vacations (8/11 to 8/18) on the Costa Serena and knew what to expect on a boat of this size when full of sheep's (sorry passengers). For Costa we are not customers. Service is ... Read More
We knew we would not be alone on this last minute decided vacations (8/11 to 8/18) on the Costa Serena and knew what to expect on a boat of this size when full of sheep's (sorry passengers). For Costa we are not customers. Service is low average and you often have the impression when making a request that you're just a piece of annoyance for them. I had a very hot discussion with the tour manager who called security (what a joke) just because i was disagreeing with her publicly on the transfer rates to join the port of Ibiza to the down town area. 9 EUR per person for 4,2 kms (i checked the bus meter). A 60 usd charge for our family of six ... No free wifi when in ports, still charged at horrendous rates and a very lousy service. Breakfast main rooms close for instance at 830 am... yes no kidding. Then you have the 9th floor where probably a good thousand people are trying to get some black juice at the same time, Bread is not fresh .... Another disagreement is the constant noisy atmosphere. They repeat announcements in five or six languages for three or four times. Impossible to concentrate when you want to read something. To the point we disconnected the speaker in our room ... yeah I shall have no pride having done that but gosh they really broke my nerves. At last if you guys are non smokers, avoid this ship. IT STINKS. People are allowed to smoke everywhere in full contradiction with the local laws of the crossed countries waters. All in all.... AVOID Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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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