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34 Costa Serena Cruise Reviews

My family had a great time, we really did, but we probably won't do this ship again. My kids are 8 and 6 and they loved it. This particular trip was organized by a local tourist company based out of Nanjing. Originally it was to ... Read More
My family had a great time, we really did, but we probably won't do this ship again. My kids are 8 and 6 and they loved it. This particular trip was organized by a local tourist company based out of Nanjing. Originally it was to go to Korea, but after MERS and the river cruise boat flipping, they've had to change courses. It's our first time with Costa, previously we have done Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Disney. Just trying to board the ship was a different experience. Very crowded. I've never experienced this before. Lines yes, but crowded lines, not really. Seems like they could have done a better job managing the flow of people. In the past we have always gotten our stateroom keys and paired our credit cards before heading on board. This was the first time where we had to go to our rooms first to get our stateroom keys. Our luggages were already there. Then we had to go to one of the few portals and pair our credit cards to our cards. There was something wrong with the machines. You have to leave a digital signature and we tried multiple times and it wouldn't go through. Finally we signed in Chinese instead of English and it was fine. Forgive me if my memory is wrong, but I believe in the past all drinks on cruises except for alcoholic drinks are basically free. Like your basic milk, juices, and cokes. Well not on Costa. They sell multiple drink packages. There's a drink package where you can have a limit of 10 drinks per day. Or unlimited beer per day. Then they sell this "unlimited" package, or that's how it's labeled. The kicker is everybody in the same room has to pay for the same package (it's a little cheaper for the kiddos). Which is fine, my husband and I don't like feeling restricted so we opted for that. Except apparently the staff didn't really know how to get it done. First one staff member tried really hard to convince us we didn't want this package and tried selling us another package. Then we were told we can do this at any bar, which we went to a bar on the 5th floor and the guy was obviously confused. Taking his time, calling for help. Once it worked and we tested it, we still ran into problems. At dinner for example, our waiter said he could not get it to work. Finally my husband went to guest services and were told we need new cards, and they would print our stateroom cards with the word "extra" on the back. This was also fine, except guest services was so incredibly rude. The lady at first refused to be helpful at all. My husband had to ask for the manager to come. And even the manager had to do some convincing for the lady to print four cards. So it's finally working and we find out, really it's not an "all-inclusive" or "un-limited" drink package at all. For example I can only have original margarita, can't have the blue or pink margarita. And they have this drink of the day deal, also not included. I remember all the other cruises had soft-serve ice-cream at the buffet. This one has a vending machine for ice-cream. The staterooms are decent. I don't remember which cruise I was on that provided on-board mobile phones, easy for staying in contact with other family members. This cruise does not have this. My kids had a bunk bed. We slept well in general. The TV was a nice flat screen. The bathrooms - they do not stock shampoo or conditioner like the other cruises. I had to go to the spa to buy some (but it was not expensive). The shower floods. Basically if more than one person needs to shower in a row, your bathroom well flood and it takes a while to drain. They use shower curtains. In general the staff members were great. Some spoke Chinese, most spoke English. We had a few more run-ins with guest services and always really really rude. Literally my husband got to the guest services desk and the guy at the counter just said "what?". There was no "how can I help you" kind of attitude at all. At the end of the trip they ask for everyone to fill out a survey, and they had it in Chinese only. Another thing that made us feel nickled and dimed was when we found our room service costed money. All the other cruise ships - it is definitely included. My kids tried out the children club and didn't like it. Said the staff was really cold and not nice at all. They wouldn't go back. Okay to the positives. Dining service was beyond compare. Of all the cruises this was the best dining service in terms of family fun. The servers put on a small show every night and it was always very funny. The food was excellent as well. The shows were fun. The casino is a good decent size, but the lowest bet is 25USD. The arcade is well done. Very well done. It was easy to play games by swiping your stateroom card. And the card keeps the points. Then there's a machine where you can pick our toys based on your points. This is my first time on a cruise where almost everyone is Chinese. It was fun. The dance floors were always full. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
You have to expect to get a discounted ship if you pay a discounted price - we except that.... but does that really mean that you should expect poor customer service and worse of all dirty pillows and bedding. We paid £850 each for our ... Read More
You have to expect to get a discounted ship if you pay a discounted price - we except that.... but does that really mean that you should expect poor customer service and worse of all dirty pillows and bedding. We paid £850 each for our cruise around the UAE's (including flights)... The embarkation process, on land, was OK - aboard ship was caotic. No body new what to do where to go... and the que at the Customer Service/information desk was insane... then, when you got to the front you were met with a grumpy faces of 4 women who didn't care how they spoke to you and didn't think it was their job to help you... The ports of call were all great - no complaints there. The entertainment on the ship was OK.. nothing spectacular but it wasn't awful. The sunbeds were awful... so dirty with an smell that wasn't pleasent, and I'm not talking about one or two of them.... but most of them.. but the worse thing for me was the bedding. Check it when you go into your cabin - which again is basic but OK. We had badly stained pillows with huge brown marks, blood (or what we assumed was blood). they were disgusting - and the mattress was the same. Unfortunately we didn't do this until disembarking.... when we were leaving the cabin I thought I'd help by stripping the bed.... shocked at what we saw. We're written and complained to Costa who have basically said 'oh well, never mind' and when I said that this wasn't acceptable they have just ignorned my emails. Shocking service - really is. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My overall impression of Costa Cruises is one of obtaining clients with attractive advertised prices for their cruises but falling short of the quality and service of cruise lines like Holland America, Cunard & Norwegian. None are ... Read More
My overall impression of Costa Cruises is one of obtaining clients with attractive advertised prices for their cruises but falling short of the quality and service of cruise lines like Holland America, Cunard & Norwegian. None are perfect but Costa appears to recoup the majority of its profits by charging for additional items that are included by competitor companies. The ship and our stateroom were well appointed and our maid and dining staff were pleasant and efficient, a credit to the company. It appears that whilst our ship 'the 'Serena' has accommodation for 3000+ guests it does not have the resources to cater for this number. The sun lounger policy is an example. My wife and I wished to use a sun lounger each but because all the available sun loungers were either being used by guests or reserved by them we had to resort to using those that were stacked on deck 11. I was among at least twenty guests who were forced to use these loungers; one lady had to carry four to the sun deck and I had to carry one for one elderly lady who wished to use one. Costa Cruises claims it has a strict policy of not allowing guests to reserve sunbeds but this policy is completely ignored by guests and not enforced by the company. Indeed when I approached a senior female officer she said the company cannot remove towels from reserved sunbeds; but I would be allowed to! The food at our evening dining room was fine but on one occasion at breakfast we were served porridge oats which were very bitter, which my wife said was due to the food being burnt. We advised the waiter and he simply removed the dishes without showing any interest and not offering to replace them. There is a blind spot at late afternoon when it is impossible to obtain any refreshment like tea or coffee unless paying for it. Also a Spanish guest simply asked for cold water at breakfast and was told he would be charged for it. There are inadequate bar staff attending the open upper decks, the buffet breakfast & lunch is like a cattle market with guests to-ing & fro-ing between their chosen table and the food stations. As trays are not supplied it means getting up at least 3/4 times in the meal thereby increasing the congestion at the food stations. The overall feelings from fellow passengers was 'you get what you pay for' and I would willingly pay more for a better standard and less crowded ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We have just returned from this cruise. Our flight arrived in Dubai around 7.15 in the morning so just picked up our cases and went straight to cruise terminal to drop off the cases then picked up a taxi, did some sightseeing then had a ... Read More
We have just returned from this cruise. Our flight arrived in Dubai around 7.15 in the morning so just picked up our cases and went straight to cruise terminal to drop off the cases then picked up a taxi, did some sightseeing then had a great Friday Brunch at Hilton doubletree which meant we were able to use their pool, beach area etc for a bit of a relax before we went to board the Serena around 1800 - walked straight on at this time which was great - cabin available from 2030 so had a drink or two first. The all incl drinks package is a must - we would have spend a fortune without this (average price for a G & T, beer etc is about 7-8 euros) We paid for a balcony cabin but had a mini suite - no complaints here. The actual ship was ok - a bit tired but kept very clean. The ports of call were great. In Muscat we walked to the Muttrah souks for a spot of shopping then took a taxi to Crowne Plaza hotel for lunch and spent the afternoon sitting by their pool. In Khasab we took the free bus to the town, its not touristy but we managed to bag a bargain Iphone 6 for about £70. Abu Dhabi was beautiful and is somewhere I would return to for a holiday - preferred it to Dubai. Had a good week away on the Serena, the only thing that let it down was the food. You won't starve as there is plenty but found it pretty tasteless and poorly cooked. Our evening meals were at Ceres and out of the 6 we had, only had 1 that I could say I enjoyed. Some of the meals were very undercooked, fish and chicken were especially bad and taken away barely eaten not just by our party, but from the adjoining tables too. If you are used to P & O, RCI or similar, the dining experience is not even close to what you will have had before. But if you are prepared to forgo the fine dining experience and have managed to get a bargain, then its fine.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Embarkation went very smoothly with no queue. Our outside cabin was a good size. We had a table for two this time at dinner which was much better than having to sit with 4 strangers like we did last time. Would much rather have the choice ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly with no queue. Our outside cabin was a good size. We had a table for two this time at dinner which was much better than having to sit with 4 strangers like we did last time. Would much rather have the choice of freestyle dining in the buffet restaurant which served good food. Hate having to eat at a certain time. The staff at dinner were very attentive. Not so at breakfast and lunch in the buffet restaurant. We did get told off though for filling our water bottle, even though most people did it. The cost of water is extortionate! The days we were docked were marred by flies in the buffet restaurant. The staff would do better killing the flies rather than policing the drinks dispenser! We arranged our own trips. The hop on hop off buses are fantastic, as are the staff. In Oman we were shown around by a local taxi driver. Very safe and all the taxis are monitored. Our first day was at sea. Most people wanted to sunbathe but there weren't enough sun loungers. Some people were sat on the floor!!!! Never seen that before on any cruise. People were almost coming to blows over the loungers. We only went to get some water and a very aggressive "continental" man had thrown our bag and towels on the floor and taken over our loungers. You had to go everywhere alone and have your partner watch over your lounger. It was the same when we had an afternoon at sea. It really spoiled things. There are far too many people on the ship. This was the only cost effective way of seeing Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi. We had spent a wonderful 3 days beforehand at The Hilton Jumeirah Resort which had 6 star staff so this was a rude awakening for us. Dubai, Muscat and Abu Dhabi were wonderful. Would have preferred a second day in Abu Dhabi rather than visit Khasab. We did the city tour of Abu Dhabi in the morning on the bus and went to Yas Island in the afternoon. The rollercoaster at Ferrari World is something else! Disembarkation went very smoothly with no queues. The ship would be great with half as many passengers. The days when people were on trips and we got back sooner than them were the best. It was so much quieter. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We are regular Costa Cruisers, and have enjoyed many good trips on several ships. Our stay pre cruise was in the fabulous Meydan Hotel on the race course with wonderful food and accommodation. Wish we could say the same for the rest of our ... Read More
We are regular Costa Cruisers, and have enjoyed many good trips on several ships. Our stay pre cruise was in the fabulous Meydan Hotel on the race course with wonderful food and accommodation. Wish we could say the same for the rest of our trip. We were in an inside cabin which was clean apart from a stained carpet. We felt that this was not a happy ship, few smiling faces apart from our cabin steward and restaurant waiters The food at breakfast was usually cold and bacon seemed to be in short supply ,sometimes served from a plate and when it did arrive was either burnt or nearly raw It. was obvious that staff could not keep up with the demand .At lunch pizzas were cold. When ship was at sea it was impossible to find a sunbed or even a chair to sit on, obviously not enough for a full capacity of passengers. People seemed to be out very early in order to place towels on beds. This was against rules but no one in authority takes any notice. The dress code was not adhered to and people were turning up for Gala Nights in shorts and T Shirts. We complained to the Maitre De who was very nice but was unwilling to make any approach to the offenders .He said that if he mentioned this the person would say he was harassing them and would report him to his manager. If this is the case it is a waste of paper giving passengers advice on dress code .We would also like to know who gets the tips as we asked a member of staff and he did not get anything. Costa are receiving about £140,000.That equates to £130 per crew member per full cruise plus service charges on drinks ..We wonder who gets that! We asked a few crew members and they said that they do not receive it. Perhaps Costa could confirm this. Lastly I will mention lack of handwash gel, and no supervision. Lucky not to have health problems as so many people did not use them. On arrival back to the ship no handwash was available. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first ever cruise and hence our first review on this site. A couple of earlier reviews of this ship on this website were very helpful for us so thank you for taking the trouble - they really helped us prepare and set ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and hence our first review on this site. A couple of earlier reviews of this ship on this website were very helpful for us so thank you for taking the trouble - they really helped us prepare and set expectations. We chose this particular cruise as a 'floating hotel' to see the fascinating places it stops at (Dubai / Muscat / Khasab / Abu Dhabi) rather than for a cruise experience per se. We booked several excursions through cruisingexcursions.com - I wouldn't use them again. Before we arrived we received conflicting/confusing information about embarkation procedures, as did others. Many disgruntled folk had been transferred to the port from the airport in the morning but did not know that they were not allowed into their cabin till 8pm. Cabin was clean and pleasant inside (an outside cabin with small balcony) with plenty of storage space. The balcony was a bit grubby and many people used their balcony for smoking which made sitting outside rather unpleasant for a non smoker as the smell of cigarette smoke wafted down the length of the ship. The ship is decidedly Italian and the décor awesome but not in a good way. The interior design team should have been sacked at an early stage in the process but were seemingly allowed to realise their nightmare visions unrestrained. Such extreme design is bound to irritate a good proportion of any audience and that included me. That together with the wretched music in every public area of the ship made our cabin a welcome retreat. Still the holiday was cheap (I kept telling myself). We were told that the average passenger consumes 5.2 meals per day on the ship. The food was certainly plentiful and some of it was really good and much of it healthy also. But looking at many of the passengers, taken together with the statistics, I concluded that dietary self control is a serious problem on cruises like this. The level of food waste, especially in the self service restaurants, was disturbing as some people piled vast quantities on to their plates only to leave much of it. The evening five course dining experience was varied with some excellent dishes and others less so. But not bad overall once we realised that it wasn't compulsory to eat every course. The service from staff varied considerably between wonderful and non existent. At times staff would walk at you as if you weren't there, whilst at other times staff were genuine and really made an effort to be friendly and helpful. Unlike the number of places in the lifeboats, there weren't enough sunbeds to go round. This provided excellent people-watching opportunities. I've never before seen people steal others' clean towels from sunbeds and replace them with their own dirty ones. The Giove Theatre seemed bigger than many UK provincial theatres. The nightly shows were glitzy and clearly had taken significant effort and resources to stage. They just got a bit samey and weren't all that entertaining judging by the efforts needed to get the audience to respond. We had a couple of 'hot stone' massages in the spa centre - a truly excellent service there. Wonderful. A disappointment for me was the complete cultural separation between the ship and the outside world - no attempt was made to educate or inform about the places being visited - no talks, no experts in middle east culture, art, religion etc to help us get more out of the experience. Just bar staff selling drinks packages and shops selling stuff you can get in a duty free shop anywhere. The excursions were a wonderful relief - these were the windows to get out and make the most of the short period in each of the fascinating places we stopped. The Costa excursions seemed much better organised but considerably more expensive than the cruisingexcursions.com trips we had booked. However we experienced various difficulties with ours (one excursion was cancelled without telling us and another left several people behind). The information and process for disembarkation was reminiscent of our experience of the Italian railway system at Pisa last year. None of what we were told actually happened in practice and we ended up carrying our own cases off the ship at 6am on our last day. Overall - would we go on a Costa cruise ever again? Absolutely not. Interestingly everyone we spoke to on the ship said the same. Should we be put off ever going on a cruise again? Most people said there were great cruising experiences to be had so we'll keep looking. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Check in was a nightmare, first check in and drop luggage at Dubai cruise terminal 10am, 2.30pm start queueing for second check in before heading for ship, 3.30pm (and I was near beginning of queue) queue again to have photo taken before ... Read More
Check in was a nightmare, first check in and drop luggage at Dubai cruise terminal 10am, 2.30pm start queueing for second check in before heading for ship, 3.30pm (and I was near beginning of queue) queue again to have photo taken before boarding, then queue again to collect key card, if you've travelled in Europe you will be aware they do not queue but push in wherever they can. I am a female pensioner travelling alone and felt like the whole day had been spent in a scrumage and to top it off you are not allowed in your cabin until 8.30pm. Had to go into dinner in clothes had travelled in, no head waiter to show you to a table just find one yourself and sit down. Received restaurant seating the next day but again no-one to assist you find the table and they were not set out in numerical order, but all on it were British and friendly. The signage on board was very poor and no plan to show where things are eventually found out that wherever you want you need to go either up or down to deck 5 and walk full length of ship through casino and then either up or down to where you need to be as you cannot go up or down in centre of ship, the casino is in the way! Italian staff were only interested in serving Italians but the rest of staff, particularly bar and waiters were very nice and helpful. The restaurant food and service was very good but buffet was very mediocre. Plenty of entertainment which was mostly very good. The ships decoration is very tacky and cheap looking but everything was very clean and my cabin was great, on my own but had a double bed and bathroom was roomy. Go up to deck 11 for a bit of peace and a sunbed, less popular but suited me. I had bought the drinks package which was a good move as the cost of soft drinks, water and coffee all mount up before you hit the alcohol and aren't cheap. The buffet is only open between certain times and the drinks machines are switched off. Coffee is not served in the restaurants you have to go to a bar and buy it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some ... Read More
The destinations were great, the crew were not overly friendly or accomodating, the excursion that we went on was good. The other passengers on the ship were not very courteous especially in lines. The dress code is casual, but some passengers attended dinners really sloppily (t-shirts, etc). The food in the buffet was really mediocre, not much variety with low quality (served prawns which were tasteless and over-cooked, not much variety of hot breakfasts (porridge, cream of wheat etc), The dinners weren't very good quality food except the soups were excellent. The entertainment was ho-hum. The guitar player only did karaoke guitar, he couldn't sing so he just mumbled, and his playing was very simple. The guitar duo was really excellent. The couple in the main lounge/atrium were ok, but the girl was terrible, once again only doing karaoke style. The pianist was quite good however. There was really no "piano bar" which is where i usually spend my time.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We booked this cruise last minute as decided it was about time we tried one, Costa have a reputation for not being as traditional as a lot of the companies and as my bf is much happier in a pair of jeans than a tux we decided on Costa. ... Read More
We booked this cruise last minute as decided it was about time we tried one, Costa have a reputation for not being as traditional as a lot of the companies and as my bf is much happier in a pair of jeans than a tux we decided on Costa. The organisation wasn't good on embarkation, we got shuffled from pillar to post and eventually got to our room about 90 minutes after boarding, we were sent to the buffet restaurant which was like a school canteen, kids running under your feet and people pushing to get to the food, we asked for a drink but they told us we had to put it on our account even though we had paid for a premium drinks package beforehand. We booked the highest grade of cabin which was the Samsara Spa Suite, it was very nice, smaller than I expected it to be considering what we had paid but comfortable and well equipped, there was a bottle of fizz waiting for us and it had a nice balcony, the suite was serviced by a butler and he told us we just needed to call a number and he would appear, unfortunately I think he was covering all the suites by himself as you would ring and it would just ring out until you gave up. The light on the balcony didn't work even after reporting it. The food in the Samsara restaurant was very nice, we ate there most nights, it was very quiet for the whole week and the staff were lovely.The drinks were good, European measures instead of English which is always good! We didn't see any of the entertainment as it was all in Italian and although I can understand a little conversationally neither of us are fluent so it was pointless, we think we may have been the only English speakers on board which wasn't ideal, however it was the school holidays, maybe in the winter there would be more of a mix. The facilities on board were good but you couldn't get near the pools because of the kids, the spa was very nice, we had a couple of comp treatments but it was expensive otherwise. The wifi was ridiculously expensive We enjoyed all the ports of call and had plenty of time in each, we didn't book any excursions but used the Costa transport a couple of times to get into the towns which was fine. Otherwise we just did our own thing. Apart from the Samsara restaurant the service was poor, we were supposed to get a welcome meeting with a manager as we were staying in a suite but we missed it, they kindly rescheduled but didn't turn up after I waited 20 minutes, the butler I think was overworked so didn't have time to give a good service and we had a few problems that took far to long to be dealt with. Overall I don't think I would cruise with Costa again as it was just too average. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
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
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
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
People smoking everywhere. Eatable food but not the Italian experience we were expecting. I had better food at the train station in Rome. Crew and staff very disorganized. It was very hard get to our Muster station and once there the ... Read More
People smoking everywhere. Eatable food but not the Italian experience we were expecting. I had better food at the train station in Rome. Crew and staff very disorganized. It was very hard get to our Muster station and once there the safety exercise took almost 2 hours.which we took in Savona, one full day after our departure. Two months after the Concordia disaster! Safety is not an issue with Costa. Crew did not have time for questions, even a simple one. We were always directed to the exceedingly long line at customer service desk. Italian, German, Spanish, Russian take precedence over English. The decoration was a crazy to our taste. Seems like the owner had a son studying art with a Major in Psychedelic 60's and he just let the boy design and decorate the interior of the boat. Disappointing if you have seen Rome/Venice architectural heritage. Itineraries are great, but very disorganized. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Four days after the Concordia drama, the fully booked Serena departed for a 12 day cruise to the Canary islands, but it was a very disapointing cruise for several reasons. -Safety: the safety exercice was reduced to standing in front ... Read More
Four days after the Concordia drama, the fully booked Serena departed for a 12 day cruise to the Canary islands, but it was a very disapointing cruise for several reasons. -Safety: the safety exercice was reduced to standing in front of the lifeboats for 30' with a short aviation-style explanation how to inflate the life jacket(4 days after Concordia disaster!) -The ship: too big (3800 pax)overcrowded with mostly italians from who you wander how they can afford such a trip (low price vacation offered to workers by company?): large "very popular"families with babies and badly educated children, noisy,no dress codes at all, eating huge amounts of food all day long and occupying all the spaces on board (reminder: we have done two other cruise with Costa with "normal" people....) -Design: where has gone the famous italian taste? Not a sinle inch is left without fancy-fair style decoration, crazy colours and figures all over. -Cabins: the only pluspoint (we had booked a balcony): soft design, very comfortable, excellent bedding, functionnal bathroom, lots of stowing space. -Restaurants: 2 classic restaurants (3800 pax!)but many "bad" tables:no view, against wall, close to kitchen entries and service islands = extremely noisy. No possibility at all to change. -Food: ok except poor choice at lunch in the classical restaurant and very repeatative in the overcrowded self-service (dirty tables due to too many crowds) -Staff: the non-europeans (asians a.s.o)are still very friendly and smiling, but demotivated since their (poor) wages were turned from € to $ (same amount!)for working 13h a day for 6-8 months without a single day off. The european staff is mostly ignoring the clients (especially if you are not italian) -Stops: on this trip , the Serena was mostly docked in the industrial parts of the harbours, very far away from the cities (shuttle tickets sold on board) -Entertainment: in the theater, 2/3 good shows, but all day long very loud games presented by screaming presentators all over deck 5 -Prices: have gone up a lot: 5€ per person for cabin breakfastservice(free untill last month), classic drink package at 119€, and even a guided ship visit at 75€ per person! Drinks in the bars also quite expensive (+15%service) CONCLUSION: if you are looking for a "serene" winterbreak in company of normal educated fellow travellers, avoid this noisy lower class fancy-fair. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if ... Read More
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if we were to take advantage of the vouchers, use them immediately or forget it. Although we had till October 2012 to use them, when looking at the prices for next year, would have cost us double then what the vouchers were worth. We so glad we took the cruse when we did... Why wait an extra year & pay $800 more, to get disappointed. Do not get us wrong, when looking to purchase the cruise, We did look for the most inexpensive one Costa was offering. With our discounts on the cruise with the vouchers and the fact we had enough points to receive an addition savings from our booking agent and to receive a room with a balcony on the 8th deck..Plus we wanted to stay in Barcelona(the port we embarked on) so we payed for all 5 nights at our hotel through air miles, in all made for an inexpensive trip.. The passengers you get on an inexpensive cruise, will reflect on the type of clientele. Being NorthAmerican of Italian background, made it easier to understand the European mentality... No wonder the people at customer service & tour organizers smiled at us when we needed assistance.... Guess what we are saying is, between the rudeness of the Italians and the arrogance of the French, everyone else that was left on the trip were pleasant...Over all we look at this outing as time off.. The ports were nice, the weather could have been better(That is not Costa's fault) and our stay in Barcelona, was a great experience... All in all, the reason we took advantage of the offer was because we really enjoyed the first cruise on the Costa Pacifica.... Although the staff on board, by the time the week was over, were very good to us....But.....You Get What You Pay For Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I can't understand why there should be a daily service charge €7 per day over and above your initial payments when it's a compulsory expense !!! and to then be charged 15% on all extra's seems a little underhand to me. ... Read More
I can't understand why there should be a daily service charge €7 per day over and above your initial payments when it's a compulsory expense !!! and to then be charged 15% on all extra's seems a little underhand to me. Other services on the boat such as sauna and massage are alo expensively wrapped up in packages and day rates (€33 I think) when you may only want an hour or a brief escape. Internet access was also expensive at €26 for 3 hours.....even McDonalds give this free. You should also be aware of port to city transfer cost particularly in Marseille I can't fault the restaurants and bar staff, they were all very poite and efficient....not their fault that they are forced to serve the food (which was good)at such a fast rate. The customer service desk is almost always too busy and when you do speak to them they were not empowered to actually make a decison (classic cost avoidance ploy) if it was anything more than advice. The decor was not to my liking a bit too dark and just totally over done but each to his own here. The general atmosphere was bit claustophobic but better weather and more outdoor access would have helped, and perhaps less naff piped music. The description of the swimming pools is overstated....4 stokes end to end. This boat is dominated by Italians...great people but you may feel a little overpowered.....although Volare is always fun. This is the first critique I've ever written....sorry that I was not motivated to be more positive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Had a week on the Costa Serena our first Cruise with Costa, although we have cruised many times before. The ship is beautiful and the facilities are good. Food very good and a wide choice. The destinations on this cruise where ... Read More
Had a week on the Costa Serena our first Cruise with Costa, although we have cruised many times before. The ship is beautiful and the facilities are good. Food very good and a wide choice. The destinations on this cruise where excellent and shore excursions well planed. Shows are poor until the last night of the cruise and that one was very good. On the down side they have introduced a 15% surcharge on everything from the bar so a small glass of beer is nearly 6 Euros and you still have to pay a compulsory gratuities payment on top of the surcharge. The Officers only talk to you if you are below 20 years of age and partly dressed, and talking of dress on the gala night I only counted 5 couples who dresses for dinner some of the Italian guests even wore T-Shirts. The crew had a attitude problem for example if you met one in a corridor you had to give way for fear of being knocked over.That attitude was all over the ship and the guests where even worse than the crew, try to get out of a lift they just push in before the lift empties. The examples of rudeness are as long as my arm, every English speaking person said they had the same problems that we experienced. If you are a none smoker forget it the guests are mainly Italian and they smoke everywhere even in the lifts. Children are not allowed in certain areas for example the large Jacuzzis but they treated them as there private swimming pools if you tried to get in you where jeered at and the security guard who's job it was to keep them out just laughed. One final note I have spent many happy holidays in Italy so I don't have a downer on Italians but this lot were just rude and in great numbers. One of the staff said when she approached a guest and said bon giorno if you replied back "hello" she felt as though the next 2 minutes the guest would be polite and courteous, but if they replied bon giorno she had a fight on her hands to say polite. I could go on but I think I've made my point. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Its our own fault. We had read reviews of Costa before we went and thought that as it was good value for money we would ignore the faults. How wrong we were. The first thing is the cabin is so small compared to other ships. We went to ask ... Read More
Its our own fault. We had read reviews of Costa before we went and thought that as it was good value for money we would ignore the faults. How wrong we were. The first thing is the cabin is so small compared to other ships. We went to ask to upgrade only to be told by a very rude person that she must e mail HQ first, but will only do this if we 100% wanted to upgrade. We said no problem, but we wanted to see a similar cabin that she was now asking a further £1,000 for. No she cant do that !!! So £1,000 for what then ? we were met with a look that made us think we in the wrong. Ok we said lets do it thinking if we dont like it they could whistle for their money. Needless to say 3 days later when we enquired what happened the staff at the desk knew nothing about our request !!!! Costa Serena's guests are 85% Italian 10% French and an assortment of others who dont know better. The guests seem to hunt in packs of 8 plus children. None of them can say the following. Please, Thank you, or Excuse me. Getting out of a lift you take your life in your hands. The onward rush nearly consigns you to a life stuck between decks. Now lets do the food. This is served by waiters who have the look on their face that they would rather be elsewhere. We put this down to the fact that the tipping is already done, so why be pleasant? The entertainment would be first class at my granchildrens birthday party, but for adults, forget it. So to sum up for good value it is ok, But my suggestion is pay a touch more and use another cruise line if you are English. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was my second cruise on the Serena. First was 14 months ago. Overall, despite some problems and getting ill towards the end of the cruise, I still enjoyed it. Boarding Both times now, its almost as if its the first time Costa ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Serena. First was 14 months ago. Overall, despite some problems and getting ill towards the end of the cruise, I still enjoyed it. Boarding Both times now, its almost as if its the first time Costa has ever boarded people on a ship. Despite the newish lounge in Savona (a place to get something to drink or nibbly bits would be nice), it was still fairly disorganized. This time round they tried having two boarding locations, but for some reason, when they got to number 10 or 11, they closed one of them. We were number 14. This meant everyone having to use the other point at the opposite end of the lounge area. As readers here will remember, some people in Europe have difficulty with queues of any sort so it was mayhem. Then, after standing in line for 15 minutes or so waiting to go through security, they decided to open the other entrance point again, and people there were breezing through. Identification Despite several calls to Costa before my last cruise and this cruise, they still insist on classifying me as American, despite the fact that I am Canadian and carry a Canadian passport. This is besides the annoying habit they have of classifying anyone from North America as American. When I got to immigration, the guy there chuckled, crossed out USA on his list, and wrote in "Canada", but not before second glancing at my Canadian passport and the info he had in front of him. You'd think that these days, Costa would be more careful about things like this. I was stopped by a police officer in Morocco who asked to see my Costa Card and my ID. The Costa Card said American, and the ID is from Canada. I had visions of spending time in a Casablanca jail, fortunately I was able to talk my way out of any problem as this police officer certainly seemed to have a problem with it. Guest relations didn't seem to care and would not reissue my card with the proper Citizenship on it. The Ship Serena is starting to show her age. I know from working on airplanes that never see enough ground time to be maintained properly that its a constant, usually losing battle keeping up with wear and tear. Some of this is due to guests that can't behave themselves and put cigarette burn marks on toilet seats, but other things like stateroom lights missing pieces off of them, silvering of mirrors and the balcony railing peeling were very noticeable. I know that some of the railings were being redone in different ports - they just never got around to doing ours on Deck 6 this time round. On the plus side, I think I'll ask Costa for some deck space the next time I need some furniture stripped. Salt water and sea air really works! Our first night at sea, I got up in the middle of the night and thought we'd had a flood as the carpet was soaked. The next day we left the door open which seemed to help (and as the AC didn't seem to be coming on) That night it was still wet so I called housekeeping and they brought a plumber who came, asked the stewardess if she'd shampooed the carpet, felt the carpet with his hand and declared "it's not wet". The clothesline of wet socks didn't appear to change his opinion on this. Guest relations called a couple of days later to check on the situation and again sent someone who said "it's not wet/damp", even though it was. Housekeeping gave us some slippers to wear as I don't wear shoes in my house at home and don't when I'm away, which helped, but I got tired of debating "wet/damp/dry" with staff. At one point, the head of housekeeping said she was going to bring in a fan to help dry it out. I don't know if she did or not as I didn't notice any difference. As the week wore on and we hit warmer weather, the AC seemed to come on more often which helped remove the dampness from the carpet. Wet or damp carpet I can deal with. Staff telling me it's not wet or damp, when I have 8 pairs of socks drying on the line, I can not. Passengers I can't help it. I'm a people watcher. I acknowledge that perhaps its my experience having to evacuate a burning airplane once, and a non--burning airplane once that people paying attention to emergency drill instructions is important. Why is it that during a lifeboat drill, before which, there are announcements in 5 or 6 languages, that some people still show up 20 minutes late? Or for some bizarre reason feel the need to talk on cell phones or text people during the drill. Yes there was the usual pushing and shoving that seems to be inherent with "European" style cruising. Smoke wasn't a problem except for while trying to enjoy my balcony and having someone else's cigarette smoke occasionally drifting into my space or cabin when I had the door propped open. 300 miles off the coast of Africa and all I could smell was someone else's cigarette smoke. Then there was what I call balcony bowling - people constantly moving their furniture around the balcony without picking it up. Makes a heck of a racket. I wouldn't have thought two chairs and a table could be moved that much. I noticed it last cruise, and thought it's probably not a huge issue for most people, when you're sick in bed for several days, you really notice things like this. Even ear plugs didn't help. Staff For the most part - wonderful! In fact, if you ever hear the word "no", it will usually be from an Italian staff member at the front desk. None of them seem to be very interested in assisting you in any way. The cabin stewards/stewardesses are all very friendly and say hi every time they see you. Our restaurant staff were amazing. Always going above and beyond what I'd expect of them. The one incident that bothered me in the dining room was the way the Maitre 'd treated our waiters. One night the soup was VERY salty. Now I love salt, but this was too much, even for me. I knew the servers were busy with other diners and the Maitre 'd was standing not 20 feet away doing nothing, so I called him over and told him that the soup was very salty - just wanting to let him know. No one at our table was eating the soup as a result. With that he disappeared and then 5 minutes later castigated our waiters about the soup. In front of everyone at the restaurant! I felt this was in poor judgement, especially since they didn't make the soup, they were just serving it! I apologized profusely to our waiters, as did most of the people at our table as we'd all seen his outburst. I told him I'd only mentioned it so that perhaps the second seating "batch" of soup could be fixed if necessary. One of the waiters told us that if there were any more problems, to let him know, and he'd tell the Maitre 'd. Sure there are the odd staff members who aren't "on" all the time, but that is to be expected when they're worked 18 hours a day or more for 8 months at a time. Medical facilities Unfortunately, I had to make use of this service this time around. Generally very positive and one of the Drs. was very helpful. The other, frankly, didn't seem to know what she was doing. Perhaps she is new on board but she just seemed out of sorts. One of the Nurses could give Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest a run for her money but fortunately, one of the other nurses more than made up for her grunting and pointing instead of giving instructions in any language. Food No complaints, except for the gastrointestinal problems I encountered later in the cruise, but that could be as a result of simply eating more than I usually do, and richer food than I'm used to. Not a complaint per se, but I can see where people who don't want to eat in the dining room are dismayed by the choices in the buffet at night. Pizza only, and it's not even marginally good. One bite was enough for me. Excursions Only went on one, which was in Lanzarote and was billed as an English speaking tour of Timanfaya. Our guide from the outset said she could not speak English well and would speak slowly. Didn't really help. Bless her, she really tried, but towards the end, I wondered if she was talking to herself or just spouting off random words in English that she knew. Many people were not happy and complained, both about her English skills and the hard sell of photos as the bus pulled into the port (late) and everyone wanted to get on board asap. I was told later that she would not be doing any more English tours for Costa. The only other excursion we wanted to go on was cancelled in Malaga - in all languages. A shame really as we'd wanted to go on it and were willing to listen to another language for 4 hours just to get to the destination. Ports of Call Enjoyed all of them except Casablanca, but that could be because of the run in with the Police/Guard I had there and my Costa Card displaying the wrong citizenship on it. Did not get off in Malaga as I was still under the weather and 5 hours did not seem long enough to warrant the trip into town from the port. Disembarkation It'd be funny if I'd filmed it. We were in the first group to get off, so we were waiting in the theatre. When they finally announced we could get off, there was staff directing us away from the Guest Relations desk, to the other side of the ship, but then no one on the other side to direct people which way to go. As a result, people were going every which way through the bar trying to get off. Mad house. As a result, we were about the 10th and 11th people to leave the theatre, but the first 2 people off the ship. Everyone else in front of us was wandering through the bar trying to get through the ropes to get off. Improvements I've noticed since last time If you have the X1, you can now obtain beer and wine in the Lido buffet areas. Bar staff circulate and take orders. This was an improvement as last time, we had to go to the restaurant to eat if we wanted to take advantage of the x1. They now have an "alternative" buffet in one of the restaurants for those that don't want to sit down in the Ceres restaurant for lunch, and don't necessarily want to do the buffet on the Lido deck. Nice to have the choice. Again, we could use our X1 package here as well. Suggestions for Costa Felt on the bottom of balcony furniture. This would help with noise migration from those that insist on moving their furniture around, or even when the Stewards/stewardesses have to clean the balconies. If the Survey you want everyone to fill out on the last day of the cruise is as inaccurate in English, or as poorly translated as the staff tell us it is, please re-translate it. Especially since any bonuses and the futures of your staff seem to hinge so critically on this survey. This would save your staff having to constantly tell people what the questions really refer to, and would perhaps lessen the chances of people just throwing it out in frustration or apathy. If you aren't starting something until say, 10:00, don't have staff standing at that location 20 minutes prior - looking ready to go, and then telling everyone that comes up to them to come back in 20 minutes. This happened all the time, especially with excursions. A crew member is standing there with the numbers you need to get off the ship, chatting with other crew members, and telling anyone that comes up to them to come back in 20 minutes. Why not go someplace else and come back in 20 minutes, or here's a wild idea - since you're there and the passengers are starting to show up, give them the numbers they need to get off. I noticed this on disembarkation day too. Ropes set up with staff standing at the ready to let people off, gates/doors open, but telling people they couldn't get off yet. Please tell your photographers that if someone asks not to have their photo taken, please don't sneer at them. There are several reasons I don't want my photo taken. One of which was I was not feeling well. You should have seen the looks I got from some of the photographers when I said, "no thank you". If looks could kill!. Your documentation in the Today, says that if you don't want your photo taken, to let the staff know. So why the attitude when you do? Change your designation of passengers from North America to "North America", not just "America, or American". Even "Americas" would be better. Again, be careful as American is not the same as Canadian, especially it would appear, to some police officers/immigration people in some of the countries on your itinerary. Advertise the 6.00 Euro a day "gratuity" charge more, in bigger print and through Travel Agents. I met many people from the UK who knew nothing about this charge until they got on board and frankly, don't think that the staff actually receive it. They saw it as nothing more than a cash grab. Conclusion In spite of what I may have written here, or the way it sounds, I enjoyed this trip very much. It's when things go wrong or slightly awry that I find Costa really disappoints. I know from first hand experience in the travel industry that things do go wrong and its often no ones fault in particular, but an apology and offer to make things right goes a long way to make most people happy, especially when they're on vacation. Denying a problem exists or inferring that the problem is in the customers head does nothing to help the situation and in fact, makes it worse. Costa will not be our next choice for a cruise. This of course may depend on itinerary. I'd like to experience another cruise line that I haven't travelled on for a change. "European style" cruising may not be to everyone's taste either. As much as I love travel, I found that 11 days with 3000 Europeans that don't necessarily speak to each other and push and shove you out of their way, to be exhausting towards day 8 or so. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We flew Gatwick to Milan Milpanese, landing at Terminal 2. There were no Costa personnel to greet us as we searched out the shuttle bus to Terminal 1 to catch the coach to Savona. The shuttle bus was a normal single decker bus with no ... Read More
We flew Gatwick to Milan Milpanese, landing at Terminal 2. There were no Costa personnel to greet us as we searched out the shuttle bus to Terminal 1 to catch the coach to Savona. The shuttle bus was a normal single decker bus with no luggage racks and was packed to the gills..... At Terminal 1, at least one of the Costa people was having a bad day and was quite abrasive to one passenger. They also said that wheelchair passengers were "nothing to do with them", so several people remonstrated with them. They refused to stop the coach en route to Savona until one passenger demanded a toilet break...welcome to Costa!!!!! This was my sixth Costa Cruise and probably my last. Granted they have reduced their prices assuming that you book through an Internet Agency at £450 per person whilst Costa were holding out for £875 for a lower class cabin. Cabin 2468, Class E2, right at back of the ship, slightly larger than E1 cabins at side of ship but very little storage/wardrobe space. Window but no balcony. Quite noisy when docking/leaving port as machines for stowing ropes were on the deck right below the cabin. Friends were in Deck 8 cabin and said that the noise from 6.30 a.m. onwards from trolleys being wheeled through the buffet on Deck 9 was horrendous...they complained and were moved to Deck 7. We were not impressed by the decor on the ship and there seemed to be an atmosphere amongst the crew for the first couple of days although our Vesta Dining Room staff were excellent. Costa charge a non-negotiable 6 Euro per day per passenger "Gratuity" and we are not sure whether this is passed on to the staff or, as somebody said, used by Costa to pay the wages. I think that this stifles a lot of enthusiasm in the crew as they assume that they will not get any more tips by providing good service. We could see that there have been many cutbacks in the food provided, particularly in the buffet and even more so after 9 p.m. in the buffet. Even the Pepperoni Pizzas had sausage instead of pepperoni and this is an Italian ship! The passengers on this cruise were probably 60+ on average comprising mainly Germans and French. You had the usual towels on sunbeds all day with no sign of ownership, no quarter was given in queues for buffet/theatre/disembarking and even Good Morning/Evening seemed to be beyond their capabilities when passing in the cabin passageways! Less than 200 Brits aboard out of approx 2,900 passengers, sometimes you heard the English announcements in the middle of the other 6 language announcements, sometimes you wondered if English was spoken onboard by any of the Entertainment/Front Office Staff....the Cruise Director was the loudest person I have come across in this role and seemed to shriek continuously and I won't even mention her Bingo calling! I would recommend a different shipping line in future and, preferably, with no flying involved....our flight left Gatwick at 7.15 a.m. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
This was my first cruise and I was afraid that I would get sea sick, as I get motion-sickness easily. I was very pleased to find that I didn't have an issue at all! The food was average. I always walked away full. However, at ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I was afraid that I would get sea sick, as I get motion-sickness easily. I was very pleased to find that I didn't have an issue at all! The food was average. I always walked away full. However, at the end of the trip I was looking forward to going home and eating something delicious. Desserts at the buffet were not my idea of what a dessert should be (two thumbs down). The staff was so very nice and helpful. The ship seemed very clean and I was pleased with my room. We didn't take any of the excursions. We are used to traveling and we decided to do our own thing. However I heard from an American couple that some of the English speaking excursions were canceled. I felt as if the entertainment was for older people. I watched more TV on the ship than I do at home. Which oddly enough I was fine with, it was somewhat relaxing. One thing that I found annoying was the people on the ship. They constantly tried to cut in front of you. They had no idea how to stand in line. Im sure its just a culture thing, but it was irritating. My major complaint is that we had two stops in Turkey during Feast of Sacrifice which is a major holiday and lasts four days. Lots of places were closed including the Grand Bizarre and the Spice Bizarre. I felt a little ripped off due to this. Why even have two stops in a county where places are going to be closed? No apologies for this or anything. Luckily, Ive been to Turkey already... On these nights we boarded the ship early. Ive decided that I will go on a cruise again. Overall my experience was pleasant. But Im not sure if Ill go on another Costa Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We travelled as a party of 4 adults, a couple, sister and cousin age range from 40 to 56. Of the the group 3 have cruise before with Thompson, but was a bit worried about the reviews. Arriving at Marco Polo airport Venice we found ... Read More
We travelled as a party of 4 adults, a couple, sister and cousin age range from 40 to 56. Of the the group 3 have cruise before with Thompson, but was a bit worried about the reviews. Arriving at Marco Polo airport Venice we found our transfer with ease, the problem was when we went to board the Costa Serena, that was our thought we did not listen that you had to wait for your number to be called, but it would help if they had a bigger sign with the number on and also give you printed information before your departure, so that you know what to expect. Once going through the boarding stage there were still more wall to wall of people. Once on board welcome, we asked where do you go to the cabin, yes and pointed to the lifts. We knew our deck and cabin number, but had to ask if the cabins were open. After that we found our cabins. The Cabins had plenty of space for clothes and a nice double bed, singles in the other cabin, much more room than on Thompson destiny. The cabin we found out did have a lot of virbration, we at the back of the ship, But we found sent us off to sleep. The cabin was spotless and our cabin steward very helpful. The ship overall was lovely, not as bright as we had seen in the photos. We found is quite easy to get around, yes we did go the wrong way at times. On our first day we been to the cabin, we went to bar in reception, still busy with people, drinks are expensive. I had house white wine which was 4.50 euros , but between 4 and 6 its buy one get free, larger was more expensive as it just bigger than half a pint. Spirts and soft drink was about 10 euros. We decided not to go to put money on your account, as it stated you could do this within 48 hours, then just go to reception. Warning they only take credit cards, not debit. Then we went to dinner, I check with my sister before hand we were all book for the the first sitting, but we had the first, they had the second. So another long wait sorting this out, eventually given a table for four. The food was small portions, but lovely, none of us complained. The Buffet on the other hand was like a cattle market at breakfast and lunch, if you could find a table, then you had to clear it yourself. By the time one of your party had some food, the other had eaten, they were no sauces to go with food, just a nightmare. We ended up ordering room service for breakfast for a service charge of 2 euros, well worth, then you can go up to the late sleepers buffet, not much choice, but at least you had something to eat. Entertainment, well Strictly Come Dancing, which was great to watch and join in once. If you love dancing like this which I wish I could do, learn some dances before you go on board and you will love it. They did have the Italian version of Butlins, but what cruises do not do that now days. Need to have more mordern music on board, disco only for teens. Bingo cost 20 Euros pp, need to lower the Jackpot and price of tickets more people would have a go, im not a bingo person. Casino, min bet too expensive. Bar and waiting staff quite good. Kids everywhere, but did not bother us. Would I recommed this ship, in certain ways yes, for the difference, we enjoyed ourselves, but never met any English speaking guess. As for the ports, going back on the ship at Bari was a nightmare, and by the way they did take the bottle of whisky I brought in the port. At all ports do you own thing, there are plenty of taxis, we only went on one excursion in Istanbul to the Blue Mosque cost 52 euros for 4 hours.. We ended up not going back to the bus for the ship, did a detour had lunch and a lot of walking, but saw a differnt peaceful side of Istanbul. The Spa was lovely paid 39 Euros for the day, it gave you access to the baths, steam rooms, tea and tanning room and relaxation area. Towels and robes were provided. Only one other niggle when it was the sea day the Ceres sit down buffet was closed, so yet again another nightmare at the buffet on deck 9. Hope you found this helpful Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
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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