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16 Costa Serena Cruise Reviews

we choise the internal cabiin guaranteed gty and with our surprice costa give to us a samsara internal cabin but without the benefits of the samsara mean the access to the spa . the ship was clean but not organizated for all people. ... Read More
we choise the internal cabiin guaranteed gty and with our surprice costa give to us a samsara internal cabin but without the benefits of the samsara mean the access to the spa . the ship was clean but not organizated for all people. inifinite queque for eat. and some point of buffet are closed. the show are ok whit beautifull coreography. no servicer and no securyty on board. children in adult pool and no one that say something.. port are good itinerary with ibiza palma de mallorca and genova and rome. the not accreditate point on costa club, no response by the company. and the costa member on help desk are so unpleasant. the good of the ibiza excurtion are that you can rebnt a scooter and go to all the beaches i do no invite you to choice costa excurtion on ibiza its only lost very very very mnoney Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Let's start with a basic, fly for 8 hours and are met by nice air conditioned car to Dubia port where told would not be allowed to board for 5 hours, 3pm and waited in cramped uncomfortable lounge ...when asked why the delay told ... Read More
Let's start with a basic, fly for 8 hours and are met by nice air conditioned car to Dubia port where told would not be allowed to board for 5 hours, 3pm and waited in cramped uncomfortable lounge ...when asked why the delay told nothing to do with Costa, just wait. At 3 they started to call numbers based on cards given when booking in, but we were not given one because I complained at poor attitude of booking in clerk. I realised this was now to be treated as a laugh and not ruin our trip. 5 hours later we were allowed in our room which was OK but to late to change for dinner. Good job really as the scrum for food was a joke and that was followed by average food, chuched on the table. The dinner places for rest of trip OK and a table of 8 acceptable even with the argumentative Russian, but overall our table was fine....rest of food for week was average. The ship looks like something from Hi Di Hi and the entertainment staff could have improved from watching it ....they may have raised their standard. All the shops were closed for refurbishment so they blocked the isles with their clearance tat. We found the bar staff attentive and quick to advise us which drinks on the cocktail list they could not have as they did not have it in stock. Also which drinks our all inclusive drinks package we could not have not based on price but on how busy was. Overall a good laugh but do not call it luxury cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
It has been a rather disappointing experience. This was our second cruise, the first one being a 7 day trip in the Mediterranean with Royal Carribbean on a smaller ship (Legend of the Seas). Costa Serena did not deliver what we were ... Read More
It has been a rather disappointing experience. This was our second cruise, the first one being a 7 day trip in the Mediterranean with Royal Carribbean on a smaller ship (Legend of the Seas). Costa Serena did not deliver what we were expecting, in a nutshell: - Overall service was horrible. Everyone from the reception desk to the restaurant maitre were completely uninterested with their guests well being and engaged in really rude and unprofessional conversations. - Despite the ship being relatively new, it was very badly kept. Rooms were dirty and under mantained, as they were public areas like restaurants and bars. - Food selection was obscene. We are an Italian couple and were expecting more from Costa than just frozen dishes. Beef meet was so hard to cut it was inedible and fish was really the same you can get out of frozen supermarket food. - Important parts of the ship, including poolside attractions, were closed for the whole duration of the cruise. - Shore Excursions were a joke. We did not book any as they were crazy expensive, but our neighbors at the restaurant did one for each stop and told us they find them poorly managed by rude staff. Costa is probably going down the way of cheap cruises, but it is still promising a premium experience, which is really not the case anymore. We will never book with Costa again unless it is a huge bargain for a cruise with no navigation only days. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We traveled in pair (two person 30 year old). We don't use flight deal from costa (flight&hotel self-booking). Ship is clean and maintained but slide on roof does not work (excluded from use). Very very poor food, buffet closed ... Read More
We traveled in pair (two person 30 year old). We don't use flight deal from costa (flight&hotel self-booking). Ship is clean and maintained but slide on roof does not work (excluded from use). Very very poor food, buffet closed after 5:30pm (when you back to the ship and you are hungry and few moment later...angry). Dinner restaurant (vesta) - we used this restaurant around 3 times - nothing special (dry meat, dry tuna = shoe sole). Boredom on the ship, day by day - the same activities (two singers in two bars/in theater - musical...every day). We have problem with payments with card bank...why? because they want take from card actual balance + deposit, after we increased card limit, they don't want use card again :/ a lot of stress for us...but final, they accept card and take money from card (if you want pay with cash, you must stand up arround 5:30am!!! before departure). We don't buy any excursions from ship. Many people, take towels and lock sunbed on sun terrace... Disembarkation: scratched on baggage, airport service is safer. COSTA NEVER AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We have just been on the Costa Serena from Dubai to Oman ect. We arrived at the port at 8/30 am to be told we cannot board the ship till 8/o'clock in the evening great after an over night flight. Later they done us all a big favour ... Read More
We have just been on the Costa Serena from Dubai to Oman ect. We arrived at the port at 8/30 am to be told we cannot board the ship till 8/o'clock in the evening great after an over night flight. Later they done us all a big favour and let us on board at 3oclock in the afternoon but still could not get a shower or change of cloths until 8 o/clock that night. Bad start but did not improve that much, the following night was there first Gala dinner we sat at the table at 9 0/clock and by 9/45 still had not had a drink or menu. We gave up and went to bed, but the service did improve after that. They do have ice cream machine but none of them was working, often the Orange drink machine also wasn't working and all the tea and coffee machines were closed by 90/clock in the evening. Luckily this was not our first cruise so it has not put us off, as we have experienced fantastic meals on all the other ones,we were surprised to find they could not cook fish tried three times all well over cooked and gave up. Just to say I do not enjoy having to write this but feel that people should be aware of this cruise line, and just in case you think we will try them again you are wrong. Costa do not cut your service to cut your prices David and Brenda   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We took the Christmas cruise from Dubai on the Costa Serena in a premium balcony room on deck 8. The room was quiet and well positioned although seemed smaller than the 20sq.m that Costa claim. Room was made up appropriately each day. The ... Read More
We took the Christmas cruise from Dubai on the Costa Serena in a premium balcony room on deck 8. The room was quiet and well positioned although seemed smaller than the 20sq.m that Costa claim. Room was made up appropriately each day. The itinerary was good. (Dubai, AbuDhabi, Muscat and Kasabh) I'd echo other people's concerns about cutbacks. Most of these are simple things but they leave you disappointed. For example, Ice cream machines that never served ice cream, switching off the water machines to force you to buy drinks, no jug water available at dinner, no buffet option available in the evening and none the usual little cruise touches like towel animals. It kinda felt like a budget airline approach. It showed up in other ways too – Our room wasn't particularly clean with stains and smears on low down and high surfaces in the room. Maintenance of things like the water slide was also lacking- The slide was one of the reason for selecting this particular boat and it didn't operate at all during that cruise. Breakfast and lunches were fine but evening meals were disappointing as they lacked variety and quality. Nothing really tasted fresh, it was all frozen re-heats; The menus didn't excite or inspire; I had difficulty picking one item rather than difficulty choosing between two. The main issue is the staff. At time of booking, I had been promised a late departure. There was a different story on the boat. Guest relations did little to resolve my concern, failed to communicate with me and at times were just plain rude. Their management didn't seem to work – perhaps they were off for Christmas or just couldn't be bothered? The “International host” was never available and gave contradictory messages to those of the guest relations team. Even check-in staff and left luggage team were very rude. It's almost as if there is a malaise across the entire crew.... I only read the other reviews after I came home. It seems that I'm not alone in my disappointment. I've been on Costa boats before and loved them – but not this one. If this is indicative of where Costa is taking their business, I won't be booking any more. My advice to anyone considering the Serena is only buy if it;s cheap and then think of it as budget cruise. Don't waste money on premium rooms and the like. Consider it like a B&B in a sunny climate... Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Background information, family of 4 with children from 1993, and 1998 (This year 20 and 16, first time travelled when they were 13 and 17) All Cruises in Mediterranian first one Venice, Split, Athens, Turkey, Dubrovnik - Venice and two ... Read More
Background information, family of 4 with children from 1993, and 1998 (This year 20 and 16, first time travelled when they were 13 and 17) All Cruises in Mediterranian first one Venice, Split, Athens, Turkey, Dubrovnik - Venice and two days at see, second time Venice, 4 greek places, Venice and two days at see. Third time with Costa Savona, Rome, Naples, Sea, Palma De Mallorca, Barcelona, Marseille and Savona. We drove all three times, the first two trips was inclusive a week on a campsite in a mobile home. WONDERFUL DEAL that unfortunately do not exist anymore. Ship information.. can be found on Costas home page. Not so many activities that we used except the shows, and they were poor compared to NCL. Service in the restaurant was good. The two waiters were smiling and happy, and I am sure if they could have, and were allowed to, I could have gotten my coffee after dinner. Port and shore excutions - seemed equal to other cruiselines, when I look around. Travel to embarkation, we drive from Denmark, and we had a week this time in Nice first, so this was not bought from Costa. Cabin was OK, but the housekeeper, wasn't that excellent. He was not bad, but he was not good. I think perhaps, he just didn't know better. Dining - The food was OK, but it was not splendid. Childrens Club - we did not use. Entertainment, the shows were poor compared to NCL, but OK, not brilliant, or overwelming, just a little below average. Disembarkation. Was a surpricing experience, we couldn't choose ourselves, when to disembark, FORTUNATELY we were given an early disembarkation time (9 AM), which is good, as the drive to home is long. So we were in the car 9:45 packed and ready, and arrived in DK at 4:30 the next morning. It was OK. Summary: (conclusion is, I will not choose Costa again, I don't dare, Prefer to be sure to have a perfect vacation) Good things with Costa compared to NCL: - fast embarkation in Savona, Both with luggage and personal. We had checked in from home, so it took just a few minutes, once we were called in. - My husband says the shower was bigger. I think it is because at Costa it was a curtain, on Norweigian it is a glass door. So with his shoulders he had some place problems. - Advantage to be able to embark and disembark in many ports. I think (but I don't know) if this is the reason for the fast embarkation. Some might dislike it because the drill excercise then had to be performed more often, which meant that the drilling bell rang the signal several days, instead of only one. - A fixed table, in the restaurant, with the same two waiters all week. Both friendly, smiling and open. - There seemed to be more sun beds (or we are better at understanding the system now). Good things on NCL compared to Costa: - Plenty of clean 'public toilets' all over the ship. None were ever dirty, or broken. - Welcome/Goodbuy by the director and the captain (small thing, but it made it personal) - Can't remember it it was once or twice a day, but a bucket of ice + water in the cabin. - Water, juice, icecubes, tea and coffee available all day all decks any time. - Buffets and several others open all day (meaning if you were late, it wasn't a problem, or if you went ashore, there would still be food for you. - In the all inclusive restaurants : One side in the menu is the same every day. One of the meals was a steak (every day). The other side of the menu changed depending on the port destination. - You could order food from buffet, if you had a picky child, that wanted just that. - Water all the time also during dinner,. - Free movies in all languages during the day/night. - Shows SO much higher quality - Presentation in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. Fast -but presented. - many good lounges - Free popcorn (important for the children) - Free Softice (though we in the family have a rule only to eat one ice or one cake a day) - In the Fitness club it was possible to use the big room for personal excercises when unused. - So much better Fitness facilities. - Strict rules around smoking and the personal was not afraid to make smokers aware of it. - Rules in the pool were not to be negociated! (no babies without diper pants, and no children under 16 in the adult pool) - Many restaurants to pay extra for (not that we do, but we would have if it was possible at Costa) - Food so much better prepared. - Much more vegetables and fruit available - Hygiene much higher - Sprayed hands going in or out on the ship. - When going ashore and coming back there was always a 'tent' with cold water, cold washing cloths, and white dressed waiters serving the cloths. So after a hot day in e.g. Santorini - while waiting to come on board (e.g. on the tender boat) one could drink water, and fresh the face, and hands. - Small thing, but So appreciated. - Possible to order coffee in the restaurant...! (For me a BIG minus on Costa that I couldn't) - Possible to have a bottle of wine, and not drink it all, and have it brought from restaurant to buffet or vice versa (not a problem on NCL) - Getting of the ship was easy, there were ALWAYS personal directing people to the right level, and the right side and end, and the signs were ALWAYS correct.! - Clean bathroom in the cabin.... - The menu on the all inclusive restaurants was known and visible on the day, so one could decide to eat in the buffet, if it wasn't what one wanted, or at an 'extra payment restaurant'. General comments: The biggest problem with Costa was, that despite the fact it was all inclusive. Water was not available all day- only during breakfast, and lunch. That is not all inclusive I think. Personally I will not pick Costa again, unless some things change. We picked it because on a ranking list(which I can't find right now) Costa was higher up than NCL, so it should - on paper - be better. Unfortunately I don't think so, and I do believe the director on Costa Serena did a poor job. Shows were presented in the loud speakers. She wasn't very visible. (Compared to the director on NCL He is a chapter for himself we think) Bad things compared to NCL: In General we experienced smiling and happy personal, Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the ... Read More
First whats good - The price! This was the cheapest cruise we've been on - The nightlife - Compared to many other cruises the nightlife was great on Costa - Embarkation in Barcelona was very smooth but I expect this was because the cruise took on most of it's passengers in Marseille and Savona -The drinks package was very reasonable What's bad - The lack of choice , There's very little choice for eating on costa, - The queues- Particularly in the buffet for breakfast or lunch on sea days, On our sea day the queue for the buffet was 40 minutes long. At this particular time (Between 11 and 12) this was the only food available. I would not like to be on this ship with kid's who may end up crying for food. The queue was inexcusable the buffet is huge but 90% of it was closed. It wouldn't take many staff to open more of it - Some of the staff- Some of the bar waiters would walk past your table full of empty drinks 10 times, Or ignore you if you called them discreetly. Maybe they are used to dealing with Europeans who are more assertive. - Some of the public bathrooms were a bit smelly and there was often no towels or tissues to dry your hands. Never seen anything close to this on another cruise ship.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I have just returned yesterday 18th November 2013 from a very disappointing seven night cruise on the Costa Serena. We were picked up from our hotel at 1100 and taken to Civitavecchia to board the ship. When we got there we were herded ... Read More
I have just returned yesterday 18th November 2013 from a very disappointing seven night cruise on the Costa Serena. We were picked up from our hotel at 1100 and taken to Civitavecchia to board the ship. When we got there we were herded into a large shed and found out ship couldn't dock and had gone to Naples. No Costa staff told us anything, a woman got on our bus spoke only in Italian which resulted in a slanging match with the Italians on board, nobody either from Costa or the other passengers told the number of English on board anything, not a good start. When we reached Naples it was raining, there were no porters to take our cases, it was like a rugby scum not very good after over five hour trip. Cannot blame Costa for weather but their lack of communication to the English was very poor. Check in, again a shambles two desks open for over a hundred passengers. We got on board and what we found was cigarette smoke everywhere. It was awful the smokers just ignored the few no smoking signs and puffed away. Costa do not cater for English speaking, all the announcements were often enough not in English. We had BBC World on the tv for two days and even that was taken off. You had to pay to watch films in either the cinema or in your cabin I was on the Costa Serena two years ago and comparing the two there is no comparison. Even the Captain couldn't be bothered to come to the Costa Club cocktail ! Every port we came too passengers got off to be replaced by more mostly Italians and French. The Costa Serena is the biggest ferry the Med. The only good thing about my cruise was the staff. The numbers have clearly been cut so they are working harder. Most of the Britsh passengers I spoke to swore they wouldn't go on a Costa cruise again, I certainly wont they just does not cater for us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The cabins and cabin service was excellent except that my veranda had no lounge chair, two dirty patio chairs and was showered daily by coal soot from the chimney. The Food in formal restaurant was pretty mediocre, overcooked fish, ... Read More
The cabins and cabin service was excellent except that my veranda had no lounge chair, two dirty patio chairs and was showered daily by coal soot from the chimney. The Food in formal restaurant was pretty mediocre, overcooked fish, undercooked pasta, blend chewy poultry, tastless tomatoes (For June in Italy) and horrible lettuce, although they tried for grandiose 6 course dinners. Wines are expensive. The informal restaurant was like a school cafeteria at best , all plastic plates, glasses, cups. Food very poor, choices very very repetitive. Menus rather unhealthy, big lines. Breakfast was the worst. Never went hungry but never enjoyed the food either. The shows were of low quality, one was just a video where there were less than 20 people in attendance, that says it all on a ship with thousands to entertain. The pools are totally overcrowded and taken over by children, they get murky quickly and they are so small that 3 strokes and you are at the other end. The free sport classes are only 25 min long and so beginner level. They are given in a place where smokers are allowed and kids scream. On the ship in general, smoking is on all decks and lots of lounges. You cant sunbathe without a smoker nearby, except my own cabin where I got sprayed with Chimney soot!!! nice alternative. Spa staff was rude, contrary to others that were extremely nice and attentive. The clientele is rather low end Europeans, mostly Germans that push and shove to get to the top of the line. The free seminars were a in fact a sales pitch to get you to buy a fitness assessment. The excursion are run in-house with inexperienced guides and buses crammed with 4 languages. Cost for a return 2 km ride to downtown by bus without guide was 9 euros in Ibiza. Internet was slow, and a rip-off, they make you pay for time to do the mandatory registration, so checking email 5 minutes came to 11 euros... This week was a big mistake that did not come cheap at about $1600 + mandatory gratuity of 49 Euros for one week. Could have book a week for a delightful stay at Club Med instead with great food. Stay away from Costa, I have way more bad stuff to report but you probably get the drift by now.But the funniest was the closing session host telling us that in the satisfaction survey we must fill everything with excellent because it we thought it was fair, the Americans from Carnival who own Costa expected a "excellent" rating. Something's lost in translation, Fair is Excellent on Costa! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
The embarkation went smooth; we waited only a couple of hours. When we entered the boat, I was really surprised how strange it was, almost to say ugly. The interior is colorful, with so many different designs, a lot of plastic and ... Read More
The embarkation went smooth; we waited only a couple of hours. When we entered the boat, I was really surprised how strange it was, almost to say ugly. The interior is colorful, with so many different designs, a lot of plastic and lights. We did not even bother to go to the front office as it was crowded. The staff spoke very poor English so we managed to get around due to our previous cruise experience. The entertainment was cheap and too fussy, only the light show in the main theatre was great. The SAMSARA SPA was nice (the interior), a bit crowded, but really liked it. But the pools were just awful. It was cold so they were all closed on the ceiling. The entire interior was yellow and green, full of plastic and linoleum and awfully plastic flowers. Even I am a smoker, I found it really strange you could smoke in a closed pool area. Also there was food served in the area (as well as prepared somewhere close by) so the smell of chloral, grilled food and smoking was not a great pool experience. The outside area of the top decks was as if you were on a ferry - empty blue steel all around and some chairs bucked up. Nothing special and really not appealing to spend your time there. The rooms were great, we had a balcony one and was really happy with it. The food in the main dining room was mediocre, the service was good. I really like trying out new food but there were often moments when I just did not even want to taste what was given on the plate. Not to mention the food in the self service restaurant -- was just like a company cafeteria. As I cruised the Royal Caribbean before, I expected to have a variety of food throughout the day but this was not the case -- you had it at specific hours and if you could not make it, you were to order room service or wait for the next meal. Also, there were no free soft drinks on the boat -- except water, and you could not find it in a lot of places -- guess they are trying to increase the beverage consumption on board. We spoke to some of the bar staff -- they were not happy campers, all coming from third world countries and some of them earning less than 1000 USD per month including tips for all the hard work they do! The ports we visited were ok -- our choice, but would definitely move Bari out of the list. The place we liked the most, in Greece, we stayed really short, only for a couple of hours. All in all, a pretty average cruise experience and if I have not cruised on other companies before, I would be pretty disappointed with cruising and would probably not do it so soon again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We chose this cruise as it was leaving from Venice and I had a wish to see Venice again, so we thought we would combine the trip with the cruise, even though we had been disappointed with various aspects of Costa before we hoped with the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was leaving from Venice and I had a wish to see Venice again, so we thought we would combine the trip with the cruise, even though we had been disappointed with various aspects of Costa before we hoped with the Serena being a fairly new ship things might be better, how wrong can you be? We were 2 couples travelling together FOOD. Very poor quality! I enjoy my food as do all our party but really struggled to find something to eat let alone enjoy. As mentioned in other reviews the Italians are very pushy and don't believe in forming an orderly queue so beware if there is a gap in front of you, also at the buffet at all meal times they were very slow at replacing food as it run out, we had to ask the staff behind the counter more than once to replace the missing food. These staff seemed to be trainee waiting staff as they seemed unsure how to lay out and arrange the food. The meals in the Vesta Restuarant for a so called luxury ship and considering the amount we paid for the trip was absolutly dreadful, from the time it took to serve it (2.5 hours) we were leaving the the restuarant after 11pm still hungry. On the Gala night! we went to a lot of trouble to dress for the occasion at dinner we were offered the gala menu my sister in law and I could not find anything suitable to order, I asked the waiter to bring the (always available) alternative menu she informed me it was not available on Gala night, so I asked if we could just have grilled steaks with some veg she said she would have to ask the mai'trde to come over to speak to me, next thing I was presented with a menu 'he says you can choose from that' said the waiter it was the very obvi children menu anyway I ordered the chicken malelese with french fries when it arrived it was just an insult the dry chicken was very rubbery, inedible as if it had been reheated in a microwave and the frozen chips were undercooked, needless to say I told the waiter to take it away and asked to see the mai'trde the waiter returned to say we could have the grilled steaks this was such a poor show just not worth dressing up for. After this debacle we decided to use the buffet for dinner, even though we were there in plenty of time there was were little food left to choose from. Tea was always luke warm and the coffee was like dish water my sister in law drinks coffee and she had to buy it from the bars at a very inflated price. Another reviewer mentioned the rule about not bringing drinks on board they say something about health and safety, rubbish it is just so you are trapped into paying Costas riduculous prices for drinks soft and alcohol ones, there is a way round this but if Costa read this review they would soon put a stop to it! Another review talks about the adults only pool that children were allowed to use uncorrected we don't have a problem with children on holiday we all have kids and grandchildren ourselves, but considering there was 4 pools on board we don't think it's asking to much to enforce the adults only rule. The children were very boisterous around the pools just as you would expect,so it would have been nice to relax around a pool and have a swim to cool off instead of being banished to the dry decks. To Finish The other trips we had on Costa had very similer problems the first one we booked was at short notice my daughter and I took my Mother for her first and only cruise.The second one it was the only cruise line going to Dubai and the Emerites and as I said earlier I hoped things might have been better on the Serena. It was awful from the surly waiters to the dreadful food and vastly overpriced drinks, also if you were not Italian you were not quoted even at the muster when English was the last language to give instructions the Italians started to break rank and chatter loudly we could not hear the announcement. As we have found on other cruises the cabin attendents do the best job our room was always spotless and we received everything we requested. Finally we think the problem with poor service is the practice of compulsary paying gratuities which means staff do not have to work for tips. We will never be on a Costa ship again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Having just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Costa Serena I felt that I should pass on a few words of warning to fellow cruisers. This was my first (and last) cruise with Costa and I have cruised with Celebrity, Princess and Royal ... Read More
Having just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Costa Serena I felt that I should pass on a few words of warning to fellow cruisers. This was my first (and last) cruise with Costa and I have cruised with Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean several times. This is the first time I have returned from a cruise feeling disappointed with the product I received. There were 700 British passengers on the ship and those we met during the course of the cruise and on the flight home had similar complaints to those I have set out below. Embarkation: We used the free shuttle bus to get to the port. Once we arrived at the dock side there were no porters or Costa reps to assist with luggage or to point us in the right direction. This resulted in us (and many other passengers) walking into the embarkation hall to discover that we had to double back on ourselves down to the ground floor and past the bus to drop off our luggage. The whole embarkation process is a farce with some people waiting around for their number to be called for 3 hours. Costa seem to have created an disorganized and ineffective embarkation procedure which has resulted in passengers queuing to embark the ship, then having to queue again to register a credit card. They do not operate a system which links your photo to your cruise card which means you have to carry your passport around with you when you are in port in order for you to get back on the ship! The Serena: This was far from the best ship we have been on. The layout doesn't seem to work, with Deck 5 being the only deck which you can walk from one end of the ship to the other. We've never felt so disorientated on a ship - you have to walk up and down stairs to get to where you want to go. The facilities on board are only just adequate for the number of passengers on board and we often felt that the ship wasn't really big enough for everybody on board. That said it is a clean and bright ship. Cabin: The cabins are clean and of a good size. We were in a Cat 5 inside and it was comparable to other cabins we have stayed in previously. Considering the ship is only a year old the cabins are a slightly older style to what we have experienced on other ships. Food: Food is usually the highlight of a cruise but not with Costa. The selection available for breakfast is unsatisfactory. On the first morning we visited the Ceres Restaurant for table service to discover that it was only the very limited choice of hot food which was served to the table with a buffet of cereals, breads etc in the centre of the restaurant. We ordered some items from the menu, only to wait for over an hour for them to arrive. The buffet is repetitive and doesn't cope well with the number of people passing through. There were often plates left on tables and empty spaces on the serving sections waiting to be filled. The menu for dinner was average and the food was hit and miss. We didn't have an evening where each course was of a good standard but some of the courses, though tasty, were nothing special. Overall the quality of the food was not comparable to what we have had on other cruise lines and was more comparable to an average 3* hotel. One thing they do get right however is the pizza, but then you can't live on pizza for a week! Service: The standard of service is mixed. We got the impression that the staff aren't as well looked after as they are perhaps on other cruise lines and maybe this shows in the level of service they deliver. The cabin steward, waiters, and bar staff did an excellent job and worked really hard. However, the staff at the Customer Services desk were not particularly courteous as well as some of the other general staff you see around the ship. The personal touch was somehow lacking with no 'good mornings' etc. Entertainment: There's not much to say about the entertainment as there wasn't much entertaining on board. The best entertainment was the waiters singing and dancing during dinner service in the restaurant. Some of the entertainment was only delivered in Italian and was not inclusive of the other nationalities on board. The piano and keyboard players in one of the bars played the same set every night and not much seemed to happen in the lounges. Smoking and behavior on board: There does not appear to be an enforced smoking policy which means that smoking seems to be allowed anywhere on board. Not good if you are non-smokers like us. There were groups of teenagers on the ship who would run around with no challenges from staff. This was sometimes dangerous in the buffet for example where people were walking around with hot drinks. Advice: If you haven't cruised before I wouldn't recommend Costa as it will give you the wrong impression of what cruising is about. Equally, if you have cruised with any other cruise line before you will likely be disappointed with Costa. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Overview: We just returned from the Costa Serena's West Med/Canary Island 11 nightmare cruise and conclude that Costa is not interested in a long-term relationship. Although the ship was beautiful and new and the itinerary was good, ... Read More
Overview: We just returned from the Costa Serena's West Med/Canary Island 11 nightmare cruise and conclude that Costa is not interested in a long-term relationship. Although the ship was beautiful and new and the itinerary was good, it was an absolutely abominable cruise - by far the worst of the 13 I've been on and our entire table of eight Americans (well over 100 cruises total) agreed on one thing -we'll never go on Costa again. Rooms were good and roomy enough and stewards did a great job but no chocolate on pillow and no towel animals - just basics. Itinerary - Casablanca was dirty and polluted but if you go, for safety's sake take a tour, Canary Islands were only "OK" - just some volcanic islands, pretty but nothing spectacular. Best stops were Barcelona and Malaga but only had a few hours in Malaga. If Costa gave us a cruise, we would turn it down - life is too short and there are better things to do! Food and service - read on! Embarkation: Embarkation was dreadful - upon arriving at the ship, crowds of guests were in large tents with no seating available and Costa told us to get a shuttle bus to town and shop or go to a restaurant for lunch and return in two hours for our number to be called. After boarding they confiscated all non-European Union (including all American) passports and gave us a receipt and these were not returned until the morning of the last day as we left the ship. Also, after boarding you have to wait in another line to register your credit card with your sign and sail card as this is not done yet. This cruise is not for English speakers - no English programs on TV (except BBC/Euro News) and the English language announcements and programs were not always clear and at times inaccurate. For example, our table missed one show because the time put in the announcement was an hour later than the show start time. One person complained and was told the staff already knew about the error but consciously did not make an attempt to notify the English speaking guests. This seemed typical. If you aren't Italian, you are left out and they don't seem to care. Ship had so many smokers that secondary smoke seemed to be present everywhere - my wife's eyes were irritated the entire cruise. Children are free so there were lots and they ran all over with little supervision. Food and Dining: Food in the self service restaurant - it was cold to barely warm, dripping of grease and oil, at times touched by other passengers' hands and the same at all food stations. Breakfast was identical everyday- bacon/ham/corn beef hash floating in oil, cold scrambled eggs and no omelet station to have it your way. There seemed to be plenty of icing covered pastries and white bread rolls. Juice had lots of added sugar and the coffee was the worst I've ever tasted. Dining room entrees for dinner were frozen and heated on site per the menu notes. Quality of dining room food was acceptable but serving sizes were small. Dining staff got our table's orders wrong every night in one way or the other. For example, one night I ordered fish and got beef; two others ordered duck and got pork, etc. This was a nightly occurrence. Forget that great chef- he doesn't exist on Costa. No Eggs Benedict, lobster, escargot, Beef Wellington or Steamship Round. Also, with the exception of breakfast in the dining room, there is an extra charge for Espresso or Cappuccino, that is if there is enough time at the end of the meal for coffee. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
Costa Serena. A brand new ship. Absolutely chaotic. Costa has not been able to implement many of their processes in the ship when it comes to customer service. We could see the staff struggling when you went to them with questions or ... Read More
Costa Serena. A brand new ship. Absolutely chaotic. Costa has not been able to implement many of their processes in the ship when it comes to customer service. We could see the staff struggling when you went to them with questions or queries. Must admit, the ship herself was beautiful, latest equipment and great interiors and decor. Loved it. Had bad experience in the following matters: 1. Embarkation was a mess. No clear priority was demonstrated for Suite class passengers 2. Very bad communication through the Indian Travel agent. We never received any information package after we booked the cruise except for one cruise confirmation ticket. NOTHING ELSE. Therefore we had to end up doing lots of paper work when we reached the ship. 3. Some of their staff in the ship were racist and clearly demonstrated hatred towards an Indian family (that we are one). 4. Asian vegetarian food was tough to find. In India, costa had advertised that they will provide Indian food on board. But we did not find it. I had to fight and ask, post which they gave me some basic indian vegetarian food everyday. 5. Activities for Children was an absolute let down. Our nine year old didn't have any good activities to participate. 6. The customer service centre in the ship always had very Loooonnnggg queues. 7. Not very friendly for english speaking passengers. Italian and Spanish were clearly the main preferred language. English took a back seat and all announcements made in English lacked clarity and lacked appropriate pronunciation. 8. Destinations like Bari, Italy and Dubrovnik in Croatia are absolute waste of time. 9. Shore excursion was fairly okay but for at Dubrovnik, Croatia. We had a nightmarish experience with a shore guide called Mr Mario who was hired by Costa for a guided tour. He was an arrogant, loud mouthed dictator. He did not allowed us to board the tour bus because we were eating ice-creams. He shut the door of the bus and made us stand in the street. Finally he allowed us to board after we threw the icecreams in the dust bin. He did not allow an elderly woman do take a toilet break. She abandoned the guided tour because of that. Costa did not demonstrate careful screening and selection of tour guides. 10. Costa may not be friendly for elderly people to travel given the way they select tour guides. What was good about the cruise? 1. Great ship. Brand new. Looks lovely. New gadgets 2. friendly staff in room service Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
After four cruises with four different cruise lines, all in the Caribbean (Norwegian, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity) I guess I had a reasonable idea of what to expect in a cruise. How wrong was I... this is nothing like the usual ... Read More
After four cruises with four different cruise lines, all in the Caribbean (Norwegian, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity) I guess I had a reasonable idea of what to expect in a cruise. How wrong was I... this is nothing like the usual US-based cruise in terms of efficiency, quality and customer service. You could have a nice time, and many passengers did, as long you forget what a really efficient and well organized quality cruise should be like. The cruise left from Venice, a wonderful point of departure, and the terminal is practically within walking distance of the old city (assuming you are not lugging six months' worth of clothes with you, as so many people seem to...). There was an efficient bus transfer from Piazza Roma to the terminal, a mere 5 minutes away. Once we left the bus, we kind of said good-by to civilization. There were no signs indicating how to approach the embarkation point, three different Costa uniformed employees who spoke barely any English gave wrong or conflicting information, and people were ambling in every direction trying to find their way. Once in the departure hall, again there was no proper signage explaining where to go and what to do, and the entire embarkation process was a complete shambles compared to what happens in ports like Miami, Fort Lauderdale or San Juan. Passengers needed to get a numbered card indicating their order of embarkation, but the cards were not always handed out in order of arrival. People arriving more than an hour later got cards entitling them to earlier embarkation. There were only a couple of clerks dealing with the embarkation process, so waiting up to a couple of hours was common. Once on the boat, the interior is something of a shock if you expect anything stylish or elegant. The boat, although relatively new (2007) is decorated in a style that is liable to induce severe headaches in the more faint hearted. It is a style hard to describe, something of a mixture of a tacky second-rate Las Vegas casino where no amount of gold or red is too much, a gipsy boudoir, and the psychedelic dream of an aging hippy. Red, purple, silver and gold dominate, and instead of understated elegance, or indeed any elegance at all, the dominant impression is one of a down-market side show alley. How anyone could have paid good money for such awful design is entirely incomprehensible. The cabins are spacious and well equipped, similar in size and amenity to Carnival's more recent ships (indeed, the ship was almost identical to, although much cheaper looking if possible, than Carnival Triumph on which we sailed before). As Carnival owns Costa, this is hardly surprising. The cabin staff (mostly Filipinos and Indonesians) were extremely efficient and helpful, and if possible, even more hardworking than on the US ships. The public areas were similar in size and efficiency to Carnival ships, and there was some crowding at peak times in the buffet and the restaurant. One huge difference to US based cruises was the clientele (mostly Italians). On the other hand, unlike on US cruises, there were lots of incredibly badly behaved and barely controlled, noisy and obnoxious children and teenagers. As a result, relaxation was often impossible near the pools, spas and in many of the public areas. Although one of the pool areas were nominally reserved for adults only, in fact this was never monitored, and essentially there was no place on the ship where peace and quite could be obtained. This is a simple matter of getting security personnel to enforce this rule, but they seemed to be absent or looked on in amusement as teenagers were waterbombing the adults-only spas while adults were scampering to escape. Unless Costa urgently does something to keep some areas of the ship free from gangs of uncontrolled children and teenagers, anyone hoping for any peace or quite on their cruise should avoid selecting this ship. Food was generally boring and predictable, ranging in quality from bad to tolerable, and nowhere near the standard one expects on US based ships, including on Carnival. No attempt was ever made to offer anything interesting or out of the ordinary. There was the usual unlimited quantity, but almost no real quality. The evening menus never featured any of the more unusual choices one finds on any carnival ship. Meat was often dry and overcooked, vegetables watery, the seafood rubbery and tasteless. In one word, very disappointing. The buffet functioned well enough in handing out copious quantities of food, but again, the menu was almost the same every day - lots of pastas, stews, pizza, salad but nothing really interesting and unusual. The food on my last cruise, on Norwegian Pearl, was incomparably better, and even Carnival Triumph was head and shoulders above Costa Concordia. The entertainment was reasonable. The shows were of high quality, with good dancers (mostly russians) and the now standard russian aerial acrobats (one really wonders why circus artists and acrobats are still trained in such numbers in Russia - maybe this is an art from that was especially appreciated in times of dictatorship!?). However, any entertainment relying on language (eg comedians) was absent, as there was no common language all guests could understand. Most announcements were made in five languages, which can get tiring. Unlike on other cruises where the cruise director is everywhere, the cruise director on Concordia (a somewhat lumpy Italian woman) only ever appeared to announce and finish the shows, and could not be seen at any other time. The rest of the entertainment crew did a creditable job organizing activities and feigning enjoyment while dancing in the various venues at night. There were a number of music venues at night, of variable quality. There were several venues with Latin music, which I personally find rather boring and repetitive, but it is a matter of taste of course. Unfortunately, there was not one place where one could dance to good old classic rock and roll, except in the central lobby, which is not a place made for dancing or indeed any kind of intimacy. So, despite the notion that Europeans are keen dancers, this ship was not different from a similar Carnival ship. The itinerary was a mixed bag, and the stops were far too short in some places to properly see anything. The first stop was Bari, barely three hours, only enough to have a quick walk around before it was time to leave. The next stop, Katakolon in Greece, is really a one-street village, and it was impossible to get to nearby Olympia by any means other than an overpriced tour. Izmir was an interesting city, but again, one could only really get to Ephesus on a pre-booked, and extortionately priced tour. The city was interesting enough, with a nice old town, wonderful old mosques and an interesting bazaar. Istanbul, the next stop was of course everything one expects, and this time there was enough time to have a reasonable walk around, visit the Top Kapi palace, the Blue Mosque, the Agia Sophia and get lost in the bazaar, which we all did. Finally, Dubrovnik of course is a gem, and we were fortunate that we were taken right into the heart of the old city by tender boat. Dubrovnik is just the right size to see and experience in the few hours we had, and it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, evocative and interesting old seaside cities anywhere, despite the thousands of tourists (of whom I was, of course, one...). Disembarkation in Venice was reasonable fast. Overall we had a good holiday, saw some wonderful places, but it would have helped not to have the kind of expectations we had based on US cruises. Many of the problems could have been ironed out if only the ship had better management who paid more attention tod details. If you don't expect good food, elegant environments, peace and quiet, but are resigned to participate in a mass holiday experience which this undoubtedly is, you will have a nice enough time. The best way to describe Costa Concordia, this is like a Carnival cruise, with far worse decor and design, much worse food, much less efficiency... enjoy!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
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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