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146 Costa Serena Cruise Reviews

We arrived early hours into Dubai in the early hours of the morning, and got a taxi to the ship – approx. £12. So Easy. Check in for the ship was really smooth and quick. A representative at the terminal greeted us, asked us to take a ... Read More
We arrived early hours into Dubai in the early hours of the morning, and got a taxi to the ship – approx. £12. So Easy. Check in for the ship was really smooth and quick. A representative at the terminal greeted us, asked us to take a seat and helped us fill in our embarkation forms. He took our labels and put them on the cases, these were then taking from us and appeared outside our cabin shortly after. After a quick embarkation photograph we boarded. They kept our passports and advised these would be available for collection in Abu Dhabi. Our Key cards were in our cabin waiting for us. We were advised that they had kept the buffet open until 5am for guests arriving through the night. Check in at been open from approx. 3pm the previous day – and closed at 8am for a 10.30am sailing. We had chosen to arrive later due to our holiday restrictions. The food was just snacks, burgers/sandwichs/pizza which was fine, we had eaten all day anyway this was possibly just a combination of curiosity and greed. I am a massive Celebrity Cruises fan so I was apprehensive about my soon to be Costa Experience. When we went to the restaurant, I noticed the décor was very ‘bold’ and ‘Italian’. Being tired, I withheld any judgement until the following morning. I never feel like you make a correct assumption about a place when you arrive in the early hours…. Tired and ready for bed. We opted for the Inside Premium Cabin on Deck 7 – more so because I like to choose our dining times, we prefer late sitting. Also, this was an extra holiday that we squeezed in so we were budgeting. I haven’t done an Inside cabin before – again apprehensive. Although, we were tired first impressions exceeded my expectations. The cabin was spacious, the bed was huge and comfortable and superclean. I would say dated, but I am spoiled by the likes of Celebrity. I was more than happy with our selection and my husband felt the same. We climbed into bed and drifted off. Wondering what the Costa Serena held for us… We didn’t know it at the time… we were in for a treat. Despite our assumptions of the Inside cabin (we like an oceanview normally) being dark and claustrophobic, with no natural light, we found we woke up easily after a great nights sleep in such a comfortable bed and it was completely the opposite of what we thought it would be. Now time to explore. We grabbed our towels and headed out. Personally, I find the first day of the cruise, when everyone is doing the same rather tedious. We went for breakfast and it was so busy. I did the usual ‘have we done the right thing?’ quietly to myself. Breakfast was great, no complaints, other than it was so busy with other guests. As I have cruised before I know that the first day is so busy – everyone is on ship so it’s expected. I was already starting to see the excellent levels of service from the staff. We headed outside to find a sunbed, again when everyone is on-board doing the same thing it can prove to be difficult – however, we did find two in a nice spot. We always got a bed no problem for the rest of the cruise. There were towels provided for pool use, these are in your cabin. They try to deter sunbed reserving by charging if towels are mot returned to the cabin. We were approached (almost immediately) by a lovely member of the bar service team who took our order. In no time at all we were relaxed, drink in hand and got out our ‘whats on today’ (or whatever you like to call it) and were scanning through the delights on offer. There was so much, it soon came apparent that we were NEVER going to be bored. We aren’t ones for joining in with the entertainment but we love people watching. I tend to find us Brits are quite reserved, but with our fellow international passengers on-board – there is ever a dull moment. The entertainment team work so hard to keep everyone happy. The ship had a buzz, and by the end of our first drink… we did too. We had purchased the drinks package for £144pp, the drinks were around 5 euros for a beer and little bit more for cocktails so I would highly recommend the packages even if you don’t drink alcohol. Water was by the glass on the package, but you could buy bottled water for a very small charge. I was happy with the quality of the drinks and the service was impeccable. We rarely waited for the service to our beds or at the bar areas. The décor is quite unusual. Costa Serena ‘Land of the Gods’ is how it sounds – lots of pictures of gods and goddesses everywhere. The atrium has these ‘gods’ looking down on you, we had a bit of a laugh about it initially but actually it’s not as offensive on the eyes as it sounds. It is very clean and there is lots going on. It actually reminded us of a themed hotel in Las Vegas, and we loved Vegas. We had a great first day relaxing into our first Costa Experience and met some lovely people. Evening Meal We had requested the late sitting for evening meal. We were allocated 9pm in the Vesta restaurant Aft of the ship. We were on the upper tier and had a table for two.. surprisingly. I am not sure if this is due to the different languages on-board and mixing the tables up may have been a problem with conversing, but we were really happy. Our waiter introduced himself and his ‘second in command’ and we felt spoiled rotten with the service. My wine and water were constantly topped up. They do only serve beer and wine in the restaurant so if you prefer something from the bar, then you would need to take this in with you. I must say the wine wasn’t the best, My husband said he would never of guessed as I still had three glasses topped up – his point being it can’t have been that bad. We had to laugh again when I asked for a wine list and our waiter said in the friendliest way ever ‘I tell you the wine list… white, red or rose!!!!!’ and giggled his head off. Unless you have purchased a wine package this seems to be the only options, I actually didn’t mind it too much, it certainly didn’t ruin the dining experience. The menu was six courses each evening, on the first night we ordered just three however, spent the rest of the holiday taking five. The portions were small but really tasty. If you have holidayed in Italy then the food standards were very similar. I didn’t have a bad meal once on the cruise. Typically the menu offered a selection of each course, For example I chose: FISH BROTH SEAFOOD RAVILOI SALAD SELECTION CRUSTED HAKE WIH VEGETABLES CHEESE SELECTION (don’t get over excited about this, it was bruschetta with 3 pieces of cheese and a chutney of some kind) TIRAMASU They tended to have fish/meat/vegetarian options each evening and they also offered 2 simple choices which were the same every evening ‘chicken and veg’ or ‘spaghetti bolognese’. We met a lady on the cruise who was in the Ceres restaurant and she was lactose intolerant, she told us that every evening they highlight the menu what she could have or made her special alternatives. As with all cruises if you have any requests, you just have to ask. Nothing is too much trouble I have found. The service was fantastic in the restaurant and when we talked to people they said the same. Gala Evening - The main differences from other evenings were the menu was a scroll which the waiters opened for you, and you got a complimentary glass of fizz after your meal. Now something I have never experienced on a cruise, but had been told about by one of my colleagues before we travelled, was the little surprises which Costa likes to deliver when you don’t expect it. I don’t want to spoil it but let’s just say our waiters served us up more than just great food and attention in the restaurant. Dress Code Dress code is suggested on this cruise but not enforced. I personally like to dress for my evening meal. I tend to wear a dress most evening and cocktail dress for gala nights, my husband wore a dark suit for gala nights and trousers/chinos with a nice polo shirt or shirt on normal nights. If you don’t like to dress up then smart casual was fine. I sometimes thought the attire was too casual, one lady had hotpants, heels and a vest top – whilst she looked stunning, I think this has more to do with the difference in fashion from the different nationalities but I always felt comfortable in my choice. Bars/Lounges/Entertainment There are an abundance of meetings places and ongoing entertainment on-board Costa. Most nights we had a pre dinner drink in Apollo and watched the live music and guests dancing. After dinner we looked at what was going on and made our way to the bar which most appealed. Shows – we were dining at 9pm so the shows were on for us at 7pm. Part of our holiday tends to be coming in after our excursions/day in Port reflecting on what we had done and having a cocktail to unwind and get ready at leisure. We missed the main show every night but made the effort to attend the ‘non-professional’ show one night as it was on slightly later. For a non professional show, of which Costa had handpicked some hidden talent from them service team, I have to say that I was moved to tears a couple of times due to the quality of the singers that Costa had produced, which took me by surprise. The show was fantastic – I have never seen such a high level of talent on any cruise and I have to say it rivalled some professional artists I have seen. Just ‘WOW’. The times of the shows just didn’t suit us but it didn’t ruin our overall holiday enjoyment, there were so many alternatives that fitted in with the way we holiday, that we didn’t know what we were missing… we were having too much of a good time. Every evening we walked through the Chocolate Bar which was always busy – it had live music and a chocolate fountain/chocolate shop and bar. We didn’t sample it because we always seemed to go through it on the way to dinner, but it looked so fun and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. We did go to the nightclub a couple of times for a bit of a dance, as we had met some people. The main difference I found with Costa compared with other Cruise Lines was it kept going into the early hours, without imposing on other guests who don’t want the noise or want an early night. I tend to find that other cruises seem to slow down to stop around midnight. White Party – They converted the main pool areas into an open air party over 3 levels. This was absolutely bouncing. White attire is optional but many people took part and it looked great. They fired off white confetti cannon’s and I felt it could rival a party in Ibiza. Infact a couple of people we met did actually say ‘ I feel like I am in Ibiza’, I was really impressed. There were all ages enjoying it. Again, I feel the international clientele we shared our cruise with played a big party in the fun atmosphere on board. They had a large screen which showed the guests dancing and also the ice sculpted reruns which we had missed. It certainly was a party atmosphere. Everyone seemed to be having so much fun. The entertainment team mingled with the crowds and professional dancers strutted their stuff. There were other things going on elsewhere on the ship, but we soaked up the party atmosphere. Would I choose Costa Again? Overall, knowing what we paid for this cruise - the quality of holiday we got for our money was fantastic. Everything was as advertised, and mostly exceeded our expectations. This was a fun and value for money cruise, with service we could not fault. I find the negative reviews I read on Cruise Critic unfair, I think my husband took them almost personally. I would without doubt choose Costa again.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into ... Read More
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into pieces on the stage by the Italian magician ! Portrait photos were very good quality and prices have been reduced from our last cruise with Costa 3 years ago. My daughter enjoyed kinds club, I used spa, which was a bit overpriced and the state of the art gym. I wish we purchased cruise and stay as 1,5 days were not enough to explore Dubai. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into ... Read More
Overall very good experience, tasty food, a-la-carte portions were small, but very tasty. We purchased all inclusive drinks package, which was good value for money. Very good entertainment, piano bar- fab! I personally have been sawn into pieces on the stage by the Italian magician ! Portrait photos were very good quality and prices have been reduced from our last cruise with Costa 3 years ago. My daughter enjoyed kinds club, I used spa, which was a bit overpriced and the state of the art gym. I wish we purchased cruise and stay as 1,5 days were not enough to explore Dubai. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We had a great time - much better than expected. We had a balcony cabin this time which we loved. Bigger than many other ships. Similar formula to most other cruises except for no casual evening buffet. We had opted for late sitting so ... Read More
We had a great time - much better than expected. We had a balcony cabin this time which we loved. Bigger than many other ships. Similar formula to most other cruises except for no casual evening buffet. We had opted for late sitting so didn't really notice it. We also arrived from an overnight flight and just changed at the airport and got a taxi to port and dropped our bags off then taxi into Dubai. I noticed lots of people sitting in terminal building and some asking to get on at that time!!! They seemed a bit annoyed that they had to wait until 3pm, but no other cruise would let you on at this time so why would Costa?We returned about 6'ish and got straight on with no queues. We sat around for a short time as everyone was told that cabin entry would be 8.30pm. We thought this quite odd that they would all be ready at the same time so went and had a look and ours was ready and I'm sure others would have been too. Food the first night was awful but perfect after that so no complaints. We did take our travel kettle etc with us so that also made a difference. No problem taking water on board from ports. Great time for a great price - would now go with Costa again. Ports were easy but been to all before so Muscat was new for us and we had a fantastic beach day at Shangri-La resort with lunch. Beautiful place and would love to return. The souqs were good if you want souvenirs. Biggest tip for anyone going to Dubai would be to get around using the metro. Its a really cheap way to see the sights. You can download a map of the metro stations and just get a taxi to the nearest stop. You can also get a separate mono rail to Atlantis which has wonderful panoramic views. Dubai is getting a bit more expensive all round but the quality is always there and always so much to see. Our last night was spent at Meydan Racecourse which has the wow factor and only costs a few pounds each for an upgraded seat.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We have just returned from a lovely holiday on the Costa Serena visiting, Dubai, Muscat, Khasab and Abu Dhabi. We have travelled on Costa before so were prepared for the typical Italian style. Checking in could have been an issue if you ... Read More
We have just returned from a lovely holiday on the Costa Serena visiting, Dubai, Muscat, Khasab and Abu Dhabi. We have travelled on Costa before so were prepared for the typical Italian style. Checking in could have been an issue if you just had just flew in early in the morning as access to cabins was not until the evening. We were staying in Dubai before so arrived about 5pm which was perfect and the checking in process efficient. We found everything clean and comfortable but the ship's decor is looking a little tired. The food was very good. We didn't always get what we thought we might but it was never bad but we are adventurous. There was no shortage of sun loungers on deck but that didn't stop the inevitable "reserving with towels". Pool towels were provided and changed in the room. The optional drinks package was worth taking out to make the stay "all inclusive". Sadly Costa no longer include bottles of mineral water and there was a silly situation of people taking several glasses of water to their cabins to drink. The water provided in the cabin was charged separately at a ridiculous price. Also we discovered too late that a kettle and tea and coffee facilities are not provided in the cabin either. Another annoyance was that there was only one electrical power point. We were juggling with charging, phones, tablets and camera batteries. A hair dryer was provided separately. Entertainment was excellent and we liked the way that both early diners and late diners are able to watch the shows as there are two every night, except one when it was the Captain's Cocktail party, but the timings were arranged around that. The Samsara spa was lovely, using Elemis products but it is a bit expensive. We counted approx 15 nationalities of guests on the ship and announcements were made in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish. We only took one excursion arranged by the ship and it was very good. Other guests spoke highly of their excursions too and they were well arranged. Costa also had city Big Bus services meet the ship in Dubai and Anu Dhabi. All in all a good trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, wondered ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, wondered around in the cold and had a good meal before catching the SAS overnight to Dubai. SAS, even in economy provide much more leg room than Airbaltic, the only other option from here. Add to that the free meal, drinks and entertainment, well worth the little extra it costs for SAS. We arrived 06.30 hours in Dubai, fairly quick immigration although my wife's Lithuanian passport (despite Visa) meant an eye scan and a lot of tutting. We had booked a car through Alma to take us to Metropolitan Deira hotel for breakfast and a quick sleep. That hotel was not the best, breakfast very simple, hotel room smelt of cigarette smoke and it was noisey. Having said that we ere so tired we slept well. At 14.00 caught a taxi to the Cruise Terminal. As it was our first cruise we did not know the format and got in the wrong queue, probably as a result of still being a little tired and not seeing signs. They were there for Owner suites, we just did not see them until too late. The Andromeda suite was just fantastic..much larger than we thought it would be, extremely comfortable and tastefully decorated. We couldnt stop smiling.The Went to the Wind Jammer for late lunch..buffet style but of surprisingly good quality for mass feeding. First dinner was a mess..a lot of confusion on tables, ours had other people sitting at it and it took the head waiter half an hour to sort it out, depsite his assurances that it would take only a couple of minutes. One man was getting really angry with the mess and was escorted away by security, but frankly he deserved it, he was pushing staff around.Once we sat, our waiter Ivan and his assistant gave us wonderful service and again a surprisingly good quality meal with lots of choice. I really was surprised, feeding 1000+ people in a sitting is a tough job to do well. Second day in Fujeirah, as with many we did not get off, not a lot to see there according to all reports. Spent the day sunning ourselves, relaxing and finding our way around this wonderful piece of engineering. Brilliance really is a phenominal ship. This evening we found out that our gold cards entitled us to free drinks in the concierge club..given the price of wine in the bars, that was a real bonus! And everyone in the club so friendly and relaxed..in fact same applied to whole ship. 3rd/4th Day in Muscat Oman..a wonderful town with friendly people. We took shuttle bus to Port gates and had decided to walk into town as lots of taxi drivers being quite pushy for their services..however once we got past that a very pleasant and friendly, not pushy at all young man approached us and in very reasonable terms offered us the two hour drive around to all the sites. We agreed USD60 for this service. His name is Hamed zizo105h@live.com and would recommend him thoroughly. He took us everywhere in town and out, to the palaces, Mosques, out to the magnificent 5 star hotel along the beach and then out to the hotels where beaches were. He stopped everywhere for photo opportunities and worked hard to tell us all details..but he applied no pressure to do anything, just what ever we wantd to do..we were impressed. Once Hamed took us back we walked down the Corniche near the port. That was not so impressive, but the souk was interesting. The cafes were a little grubby but staff and the fresh juices were pleasant enough. 5th Day Abu Dhabi--a mini Dubai, with lots of impressive things to be seen and obviously it will become bigger as lots of construction going on. We went to the USD3bn hotel where all the Sultans/Sheiks of UAE stay, very impressive, the Marina mall, and a few other places in downtown area...really enjoyed it and would go back for closer exploration. 6/7th Days..Back to Dubai..a city we love. Lots has been written here on Dubai and I dont need to add a lot. After the cruise we had an extra 2 nights at Atlantis the Palm, and what a real treat that was too! Highly recommend it, so much to see and do there that you wont want to go into town. SLightly spolied by a sand storm but not so bad that we could venture onto the beach. As for Brilliance of the Seas..following summary Accomodation-Fantastic Service-very good, from the lads who did the room (and amused us greatly with their towel sculptures) to our waiters in the restaurant, to The Concierge club staff, to the bar staff and entertainment staff. All very service orientated, except for the head waiter (of entire restaurant) who ran around a lot making lots of noise but didnt seem to achieve much. Thankfully Ivan and his assistant more than made up for that. Route-very interesting, but maybe another day in Abu Dhabi rather than Fujeirah would be more interesting. Entertainment-Generally very good, we enjoyed it.We did try a murder mystery dinner in Portofino restaurant one night..that cost more and was not very good, the only disappointing meal. Food- excellent considering the numbers they have to cook for Overall experience..fantastic Drawback-the only thing that really irritated me was the tipping system. Not only is 15% added to every bar bill for service (including the mini-bar) but then you are expected to tip the waiters, room staff and all others at the end of the week..double tipping and at not small percentages! I had no qualms about tipping the staff who looked after us well at the end of the week, but 15% on each bar bill is way over the top and unecessary. And beware, prices shown on the menu are before the service charge, so a USD40 bottle of wine actually costs USD46. If Royal Carribean could get that right, they would have a real winner, but for us, it was excellent and much better than we had dreamed. We will definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
easy going,slick and fun. check in and check out easiest every been on any cruise. Mix of clientele from all different countries ( so no british sunbed wars like on P and O or drunks ) all inclusive was the better option as was ... Read More
easy going,slick and fun. check in and check out easiest every been on any cruise. Mix of clientele from all different countries ( so no british sunbed wars like on P and O or drunks ) all inclusive was the better option as was expensive. First day on ship let them down as buffet tea on deck hot dogs and beefburgers not great but redeemed themselves post this. You can stay on ship till your flight is ready for to leave never had this before always kicked of in the morning. emirates' are not what expected and are really lovely negative - mandatory gratuities Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
the embarkation was the nightmare we were warned about but when we finally got our cabin we really enjoyed the cruise.the ship was great,the cabin was great the itinerary was great and the crew were great.....for the most part.the only ... Read More
the embarkation was the nightmare we were warned about but when we finally got our cabin we really enjoyed the cruise.the ship was great,the cabin was great the itinerary was great and the crew were great.....for the most part.the only issue we had with the whole cruise was that the breakfast service was shocking.it was so bad that after 2 days we started eating breakfast in the buffet restaurant which had almost the same choices as the ceres.the all in drinks package was a bargain.the food was really good too. Entertainment was a mixed bag but luca in the in the piano bar next to the casino was really good. If this company has made the cutbacks that previous reviewers have stated then all i can say is that this must have been an amazing deal before hand. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
First cruise I’d ever been on and found it positively delightful. This was a dream, as it’s Italian so enjoyed the relaxing feel. Had the best time. Beautiful ship with stunning Venusian designs on lifts. Impressive throughout. The ... Read More
First cruise I’d ever been on and found it positively delightful. This was a dream, as it’s Italian so enjoyed the relaxing feel. Had the best time. Beautiful ship with stunning Venusian designs on lifts. Impressive throughout. The best pina~colada ever. I had them every single night and nobody has been able to get them right since off the ship!They put some ice cream in them and they are irresistible. I love Italian food and there were plenty of pasta, pizzas and lots of healthy salads so I enjoyed the food as plenty of variety. I also love cappuccinos and my cigarettes so was able to feel at home. Had the best highlighting for my hair too so a bonus and plenty of beauty treatments onboard at good prices and I took home lots of products. Highly recommend the facials as well as hairdressers. Fabulous cabins,we had a twin room which was fully stocked with everything we needed so you don’t really need to take much with you .Exceptional cleaning and very hard working, friendly staff. I love gambling and plenty of slot machines to choose from in casino. This company really know how to look after they're customers and I met some great people. At Christmas we all had a gift in our rooms and there was a beautiful chocolate fountain in one of the many stunning bars.I just didn’t want to get off the ship at the end of it and would love to go on the other costas . Cofu and Rome were lovely and they have coaches to take you there and pick you up and plenty of day trips that are simply exceptional. Everything and I mean everything about it made it the most wonderful experience of my life and we even met four people onboard who we are still friends with and meet up and send Christmas cards too. This cruise ship is luxurious and everything,all details are catered for, so you can just enjoy the best cruising experience of your life. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We flew to Milan and spent a night there before joining a coach to Savona to board the Costa Serena. Quaotic lack of organisations on at Milan airport with a total lack of proper organisation and little better when boarding. However we are ... Read More
We flew to Milan and spent a night there before joining a coach to Savona to board the Costa Serena. Quaotic lack of organisations on at Milan airport with a total lack of proper organisation and little better when boarding. However we are both wheelchair boarding passengers and this was arranged reasonably well. Cabins were more than adequate, clean and comfortable with excellent steward care Food was excellent in both the dining room and the buffet always a good selection with some superb pasta dishes, always a highlight with Costa. Lunchtime buffets offered a good selection of meats and fish with giant shrimp a regular and very popular offering. Water service was excellent with our waiter Andrew always remembering individual lies and dislikes. Gala nights really were gala offerings. Entertainment wasn't very good but considering the number of nationalities on board the ship obviously the choices available to the organisers were greatly reduced as with quizzes questions had to be asked in several languages Excursions were expensive and somewhat erratic in the organisation, sometimes nearly an hour late leaving another time leaving slightly early before all guests booked had arrived. Staff did their best to smooth things out,offering alternative outings where possible but it was still rather irritating. Cost Serena is an older ship and her deck plans leave quite a lot to be desired as it is sometimes necessary to go up to deck 5 and walk the length of ship to use a second lift back to deck 3. Overall it was a very enjoyable cruise and excellent value for the amount it cost. The itinerary was excellent and allowed us to see something of the very different culture of the Middle East and the Gulf States All crew (with the exception of one singularly grumpy reception desk attendant who seemed to delight in being unhelpful and earned herself a nickname throughout the ship) were friendly and helpful towards two golden?oldies and we enjoyed ourselves a lot but really do wish Costa would stop their greedy system of taking relatively large amounts from passengers daily on the pretence of them being tips when a quick chat to crew tells a very different story of reduced wages and minimal tips. A truly unfair system makes cruisers think we have to pay the crews wages as well as for our holiday! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first cruise so we didn't have anything to compare other than we have stayed in good class hotels all over the world and Costa Serena certainly exceeded my expectations, she is a beautiful ship. Our embarkation was in ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we didn't have anything to compare other than we have stayed in good class hotels all over the world and Costa Serena certainly exceeded my expectations, she is a beautiful ship. Our embarkation was in Barcelona and this was very good, when we arrived at our beautiful balcony cabin at the aft of the ship on 8 deck our cases where already waiting for us. Our cabin attendant was excellent and nothing was a trouble for him. The bars and restaurants were fabulously decorated and all had lovely furniture. Costa Serena is a blingy but tastefull ship and being a blingy sort of girl, I just loved it. The bar and restaurant staff were courteous and friendly and nothing was a trouble for them The food was very good with a wide choice of menus for all meals served in either the main dining room our the buffett restaurant. Room service was also available and this we did use for breakfast on the days we had excursions and because we had a Premium Balcony cabin there was no added service charge. We purchased the drinks package which proved excellent value for money and there was always a choice of wine at dinner. We were a bit sceptical about the wine at dinner only being served by the glass and envisaged we would have to re-order and produce our card each time we needed a top up, but this certainly was not the caseand our glasses were regularly topped up by our waiter Mario who was very attentive, friendly and did an excellent job of looking after us. We only booked one excursion through the ship and this was from the port of Savona to Monaco, which was a big disappointment. The travelling time to Manaco was almost 2 hrs and when we arrived around 11am we were told by our guide that we would be leaving at 2pm to return to the ship, so 4hrs travelling time for 3hrs sightseeing was not good. La Spezia was the next port where took the local train and visited Cinque Tere. Our next port was Civitaveccia where we took a train to Rome and cost less than 10 euros return, in Naples there were plenty of taxis in the port, so we took a taxi to Pompei at a cost of €15 per person return. We had a wonderful time on Costa Serena and were sad when it was time to leave, hopefully we will have the opportunity to sail on her again in the very near future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I booked this about a month before going and instantly regretted it after reading the reviews BUT... We had a great time. Two adults and one child age 9 from Scotland. We spent three days in Barcelona before boarding, we walked down to the ... Read More
I booked this about a month before going and instantly regretted it after reading the reviews BUT... We had a great time. Two adults and one child age 9 from Scotland. We spent three days in Barcelona before boarding, we walked down to the port from our hotel midway up the Ramblas, there's a port bus just at the port gates takes you to the ship for a couple of euros, I didn't do the web check in but they done it at the port for us, booking in was quick and painless, we had to wait until 2pm to board the ship but the waiting area was comfortable and there was a snack bar. We were pleasantly surprised to be given an outside cabin with window as I booked the 'take what's available' option, the room was a good sized, the beds were comfortable, the room was spotless and cleaned twice a day, towels changed, etc. the ship itself is a bit loud but I like bright colours so it didn't bother me, the only thing I didn't like was the statues in the main area, they looked like shop dummies and cheapened the otherwise nice furnishings. The food was a mix of good and bad, the breakfast wasn't great but I didn't see anyone not eating, I'm a fussy eater so I'm happy with cereal, cup of tea, fruit and a croissant, but you had the usual people piling their plate up and not eating it, only had lunch twice and it was good, plenty of choice, dinner was in the restaurant and we couldn't fault it, the service was quick and the waiters remembered what you had to drink and it was there for you every night, there was singing and dancing a few times in the restaurant and I think almost everyone joined in. There was a separate kids menu, ours had spaghetti bolognese every night! Best he'd ever tasted! Our table guests asked for Indian food one night so we all had curry made especially for us. We didn't use the kids club. We went to most of the evening shows and they were all good, better than the ones Royal Caribbean had put on, mix of languages used but didn't detract from it. We didn't hang around the ship we always got off when we docked, there was only one day at sea and that was our last so were were glad of the rest. The port excursions were ok, wish we had done a bit more homework beforehand so we new where to go and what to. Disembarking was fine, you are given a time slot and just have to wait on being called. Pros- price, we paid a quarter of what we paid the Royal Caribbean. Room was excellent Port times were longer No great push for you to buy photos, gifts etc on the ship Downside - Breakfast could be better Soft drinks (squash) should be provided and I didn't see any water dispensers anywhere? We had to buy the all inclusive drinks package even though it was a waste of money as I can't drink alcohol due to medication though it's probably a good deal for most people. Buffet could be better organised so there not so many people wandering around trying to find seats with food in their hands and they should definitely crack down on the kids running around the restaurant before someone is seriously injured. Port information should be updated on their daily newsletter - eg, took us an hour to get to the Trevere Fountain in Rome only to find it had scaffolding around it and had been drained, we could have used this time to visit something else. Ships plumbing could be doing with an overhaul, seen a couple of floods in public toilets and our drain didn't drain very quick and had a slight smell about it. Biggest downside, other holidaymakers don't smile :((   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first ever cruise so it would be fair to say that any review we give must reflect the fact that we have nothing to compare it to. However we have been on enough holidays to know what we are talking about to some extent. We ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise so it would be fair to say that any review we give must reflect the fact that we have nothing to compare it to. However we have been on enough holidays to know what we are talking about to some extent. We joined to Costa Serena in Barcelona and the embarkation process was relatively painless if a little long. They started the boarding at 2pm but it was nearly 3 by the time our batch of numbered passes was called. When we got to our cabin, our bags were waiting for us as was the Costa Cards and the necessary itineraries and information sheets. As we were dog tired from 24 hours travelling we decided to grab some lunch and get our bearings. We found a hot dog/burger hatch serving near the mid-ships pool and this was fine to start with. Dinner was at 7pm and our restaurant was at the other end of the ship. It didn't take us long to find our table and we were seated with another two British couples. The food in the restaurant all week was good, especially considering the volume of meals that must be served each evening, and there was a reasonable choice which varied daily. The service was excellent, friendly and charming. Lunch was in the self service which was a but scrum-like but no more than some of the all-inclusive package hotels in Spain and Turkey we've stayed in. Breakfast was the same, though if you preferred you could have a sit-down partly-waiter service in the restaurant areas. We checked out the theatre where each night there was a show of some sort. It was a little hit and miss but that comes from trying to please everyone. One night there was the winner of "Italy's Got Talent". A ventriloquist, which given the number of languages on the ship was an interesting choice. He carried it off well though, doing routines using smatterings of Italian, French, German, English, Spanish and even Portuguese. Given that many of the jokes were visual it worked pretty well and rarely got annoying. There were a number of other bars that we used over the week, each with a different musical emphasis. The atrium had a pianist (who clearly was reading the lyrics in English as Delilah "stood there 'logging', I felt the knife in my hand and she 'logged' no more!"). There was a band in the rear bars, a singer in another, a couple playing dancing songs for the ballroom dancing (hats off to some terrific dancers among the passengers) and a couple of Spanish guitarists in the Chocolate bar. We bought the all-inclusive which we would recommend highly as it meant we could order whatever we wanted without having to think about it. It included cocktails, and we tried plenty. (the Mojitos are lovely) All in all we would recommend cruising and Costa. Sure the clientèle were mostly Italian and the entertainment was a bit cheesy sometimes but we were never bored, often delighted and highly satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We have just returned from a very good costa serena cruise..our embarkation in Barcelona was a little confusing..our taxi was excellent both ways..on arrival the members of costa were waiting for us..we gave them our details ..they took ... Read More
We have just returned from a very good costa serena cruise..our embarkation in Barcelona was a little confusing..our taxi was excellent both ways..on arrival the members of costa were waiting for us..we gave them our details ..they took our luggage and we waited in the bright clean lounge..at 2 pm we started to board..we went to the desk unaware that we should have registered on our arrival! after 10 mins filling in forms etc..we were on board..very easy..we had paid for all inclusive but had no cards..we went for late lunch and just showed the waitress our paperwork and had our drinks along with the first of many superb meals.. Our room aft cabin 8450 was lovely..yes a little tired in places but a huge balcony..big bed fruit bowl and clean sheets and towels..this carried throughout the cruise..Marc was excellent..swift..very efficient.. everything clean daily towels if required..yes the balcony did have slight soot on it..the worse was the fag ends from the inconsiderate people above! we slept well..the food was excellent from the buffet to the restaurants on deck 9..these did get busy especially on the day at sea..you can eat in the ceres restaurant for breakfast and lunch...we had a table for 2 as requested early sitting ...with good service..there was an extreme odour near our table we did complain and were give asti supermante for all of our tables.. this was rectified with new carpet..the menu was varied with average all inclusive wine..the usual captains dinner and fun times with the crew..the all inc package was exceptional..well worth every penny..with soft drinks.. wines..beers.. cocktails..liquers and coffees..we had as many as we wanted..served by excellent happy bar staff..the trips were good..Rome and Capri..(with costa)we ventured out ourselves to the other destinations..walking getting taxis or mini trains..this was a fabulous trip with attentive staff..good all round service.. yes.. English speakers are a miniority around 100 people but the ship is full of various nationalities having a great time..and the smoking was very little..they have a separate room inside with no smoke anywhere..there were very few children on board . the overall experience was one of a chilling time..with everyone enjoying there holiday..try costa serena it was fabulous!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
The food in the dining room and the lunch buffet had excellent food. A buffet option should also be available. I have to say that the dining experience was not very pleasurable in several ways. The last night, the entree didn't arrive ... Read More
The food in the dining room and the lunch buffet had excellent food. A buffet option should also be available. I have to say that the dining experience was not very pleasurable in several ways. The last night, the entree didn't arrive until one hour and twenty minutes had passed. The shortest time for the entree to arrive was 55 minutes. I have to say that I ate much wonderful Mediterranean seafood and other dishes. So many children were running around the dining room and screaming while the waiters were carrying their heavy trays that a possible dangerous situation was there. Some children were crawling down the aisles and under the tables. A few were climbing the dividing walls. Some were jumping down short flights of steps for entertainment. This is not my idea of a good dining experience. I had a nice roomy cabin. Noise started about midnight above my head and continued (every night) until about 2 am. The kitchen was there. The excursions were very good. I don't recommend the "total freedom" excursions, although some might benefit from them. The independence in this type of excursion was not good for me who needed more guidance to see the sights. The ship decorations look like they were planned by someone who had taken hallucinogenic drugs. They were very ugly and disturbing to look at. The brass sculptures were nice, the others look like an acid trip (although I have not had the experience).   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a ... Read More
A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a "bonus" cruise (as we have a lot of travel plans this year) so we did this on a budget which for us, meant no suite, but instead a premium balcony. Being Costa Pearl members - we had no problem - We were very pleasantly surprised to have our table for two, late dining, aft Ceres Restaurant - ALL fulfilled! Great 5* start! Embarkation was the easiest ever. No big port - No queue - no lines, just sign here, photo and "on". We had a premium balcony which is just a regular "Carnival" style balcony. The cabin is showing its age - few cigarette burns on the carpet, and it really is obviously in need of an overhaul. The balcony - sorry to say, was filthy - the gutter in the balcony had long strands of black human hair - I didnt mention it first day, but after the next clean, when it was still there, I did call. The cabin steward was prob the biggest disappointment. he finally did clean the balcony - but it was "an effort". I requested face flannels a few times - he always told me "yes" - but they never ever did appear. He also missed the blue pool towels a few times - just little things which we had to call about - which when one happens after another - starts to grate on you - as I said, not the best steward we have had. It is the first time ever we have not given extra tips(above the standard gratuity) to our cabin steward. I am afraid to say he did nothing to warrant it. The toilet OMG - blocked daily - that did become a pain in the butt (literally) - to a point where one morning we were given a key to a spare cabin three decks below us - not nice - These cabins honestly are in need of dry dock... time for a full overhaul. The ship itself - actually, although gawdy, loud and totally OTT - I liked it! Its all Bling and has aged better than the cabins. It is a bit "1990s" - BUT - it does somehow have a much nicer feel to it than say the Magica. The staff - excellent - For a big ship - one can tell from embarkation that the staff are happy. Thats coming from the top down. Every area has its team, and each team seems to gel well and in general - lots of happy staff. THAT makes the Serena special - and to us, warrants its high rating. We met many staff on board whom we knew from previous cruises, one in particular, Peter, is lke our lucky mascot at Sea, For some weird reason, on every single of our last four cruises, different ships, embarkation day, Peter has always been the first waiter we have seen - bizarre - and wonderful!! FOOD: Buffett - dont even go there - its madness - just a battle of hands and feet and rude rude rude guests - seriously - I am appalled at the manners of these people - animals have more decorum. We settled for continental breakfast in our cabin (Gluten free pastries provided) - Lunch we chose to have in the Ceres Restaurant - I am Gluten Free and anyone with special diets will find the Ceres restaurant IS open daily for lunch - there is a section specifically for special diets. Gluten free choices are a HUGE plus for Costa - I just adore all the choices available for Gluten Free - 11/10 Costa! Dinner at night could run just a tad too late - even for we, who are late diners. However, first class service, table for two aft, what more could we ask for We chose to dine in the Club Bacco Restaurant twice this cruise and loved every moment. For a truly civilised dining experience away from the maddening crowd - at only 25 euro per person - this is well spent. The Club on Serena is magnificent - awesome views over the sea, and a live pianist entertaining throughout The Lobster Caesar was fantastic - The shrimps - just amazing - so fresh - succulent - and what is a simple meal is made into a feast. Favourite mains - the Veal and the Lamb - the lamb especially - perfection on the plate. Special thanks to Chef Lara - what a wonderful young lady who is passionate about her food. She is happy to stop by your table if you wish, and happy to have a gourmet chat. As food producers ourselves - we appreciated this gesture. Shows we dont do. Musicians - as ever Costa excel. I think our only regret on this cruise was the timing. It was already into Italian vacation time, and honestly - the only fault in the ship lay in the guests, some seriously rude and appallingly bad mannered guests. Oh and we were a bit pd off at the Ecig rule. We both stopped smoking two years ago, and use a zero nicotine shisha pen - It is the rule that these are used only in smoking areas - how awful to be made to be back in "lepers corne" once more - We did use our ecig - very discretely - and low key. We did however see smokers smoking in the NON SMOKING areas, and also some idiots throwing a LIT cigarette butt over the side in port waaaargghhhhhhhhhh Other appalling guests included babies in the jacuzzis in nappies (diapers) - We stayed out of the pools - lot of suspect cloudy "water" going on if you get my drift. We would sail the Serena again - but woulc choose a quieter off peak season - Surprisingly great though - BIG ship with staff with BIG HEARTS! Well done Costa! - You treated our loyalty beautifully, granted our wishes, and threw in some nice perks -incuding a lovely gift at the end of our cruise See you soon!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I’ve just arrived from my first cruise experience in Costa Serena, through the Mediterranean. I am Portuguese (had my 38th birthday during the trip) and I travelled with a friend, in also their late 30’s. I have to say that, because ... Read More
I’ve just arrived from my first cruise experience in Costa Serena, through the Mediterranean. I am Portuguese (had my 38th birthday during the trip) and I travelled with a friend, in also their late 30’s. I have to say that, because the reviews I have read here, I was a little bit suspicions, especially about the food. But, once there, I realized that I didn’t have to worry about, because the variety and quality of the food - provided by the self service restaurants (during the day) and dinning service at night - was quite good. I must also say that you are able to eat almost anytime. While a restaurant closes, another one is available. It’s impossible to get hungry there. During the navigation day, when all the passengers were on board, the self-service rooms were a little bit crowded. So we had to face queues to get food. The cabin was very clean and twice a day we had cleaning services in the room. The public bathrooms, although not quite noticeable, were very clean as well. The interior decoration was really weird and for me that is the only minor aspect of the ship. Too much colors and elements all together, especially in the main lobby. I felt like I was in a 70s or 80s disco and not in a 2007 ship. Besides that, it was a lovely experience and I had a great time. The animation team was really great and You have the opportunity to dance and have fun at night, in spite of your musical preferences. The karaoke night was not so fun for a non-Italian speaker, because almost all the participants were Italians… singing Italian songs. (A tribute to the Scottish people that saved the Karaoke night )… A special mention to the evening shows in the theater: I wasn’t expecting so much! The dinner service was very pleasant, with very funny animation moments, performed by the staff.  Next time, I won’t forget a formal/cocktail dress to wear in the «gala dinner». About the fellow passengers, I acknowledged almost every kind of people: Asians, Indians, Arabians, Africans, but most of all Italians, a bunch of Spanish and French as well. Me and my friend, and a nice Portuguese couple, were the only Portuguese on board. It was a multicultural scenario, although I felt that the Italian people ruled the environment. So…memorable days in the sea and I’m looking forward for another cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - ... Read More
My age 59, travelling with my 88 year old Dad. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines, but this has to be my favourite. We booked a very last minute cruise after being sent a great deal by our favourite cruise agents - too good to miss, even though previous reviews of the ship and line have been mixed. Although I booked an outside cabin with no number, I was delighted to find that we had been upgraded to a balcony. Our first experience, but definitely not the last. We set off for Barcelona - an easy well-timed flight down from the UK to arrive there at 1.30 pm, and went straight to the cruise terminal. I was surprised to find very few passengers there, and we walked through to the embarkation desk where all they needed were our tickets and passports, and where we were issued with the usual ship cards. I found out later that on this cruise the ship had passengers boarding and leaving at almost every port, a bit like a ferry, but it meant that we had a long time in each port. Up onto the ship where security zapped our cards and took security photos with a hand held device. Onboard there are numerous terminals where it is possible to register your credit card yourself by swiping your ship`s card, then your credit card - no waiting at customer services. Our cabin 9210 port side, right at the bow of the ship, was gorgeous. Note - the beds were next to the window which meant we could lie in bed at night and watch the coastal lights. Having since looked at other balcony cabins on other ships, I think this is quite unusual - the beds are usually away from the windows. Plenty of storage and a neat little bathroom with a great big mirror. Everything was spotlessly clean. Dining - we always like to use the buffet dining room, and were very pleased with the quantity and quality of food at breakfast and lunchtime. It was always very busy, and the type of food is not the same at each station - for example, pancakes are on one side of the ship, eggs are on the other. When we did have to wait for a table, it was only a few minutes. Great service from all the waiters and chefs who couldn`t do enough to help. We had a problem in the evenings though - I had read that it was just pizzas in the buffet after 6pm, but I didn`t realise it was just 2 types of pizza - margherita and plain cheese. A few salads, and no desserts at all, not even ice cream. I believe that after 9.30 pm, the pizzeria becomes waiter service with a greater choice of pizzas, but we prefer to eat at 7 p.m. I would also like to say that it was the first ship we`ve been on where the girls on the reception desks were so helpful and polite, they really couldn`t do enough to help. Decor - what can I say? It was a bit OTT, but maybe Italians like it that way! There was pattern and colour on everything, which gave me a headache for the first few days ;) The theme of the ship was Roman gods. One of the big bonuses was 10 lifts together at the central area = no waiting. There were 4 swimming pools, 2 of them with sliding glass roofs over the whole of the pool area. The overall age group seemed to be 30s to 40s, with a great many children, but it was Easter. I felt this lent a really young feel to the ship, although it seemed to be very noisy compared to our other cruises. This applied to the evening shows in the Glove theatre - they were just too noisy for us. The glove theatre had a fantastic wrap-round design, with no obscured views. One of the highlights of the ship was the 4D cinema, which showed short 15 min animations, buy one get one free for 8 euros. The first film we saw was haunted house, which was a fab experience with 3D glasses, moving seats, smells, and puffs of wind. Ports and excursions: Marseille, cancelled because it was too windy to get into port, and replaced with Toulon: Savona; La Spezia, where we took the opportunity to walk to the train station and took the train to Monterosso, one of the Cinque Terre villages; Civitavecchia - we`d booked a trip to Cornetto, but it was cancelled; Naples - we booked a trip down the catacombs, but this was again cancelled, so we took the trip to Sorrento and Amalfi. Tip: sit on the right side of the bus to get the views, and don`t go if you suffer from travel sickness! A days cruising back to Barcelona, then an easy flight home. Summary: Pros: Lovely ship, spotlessly clean Great food Great service from the girls on customer services and the excursion desk Really interesting ports, especially Savona and La Spezia The 4D cinema Long time in each port Cons: No selection at the buffet pizzeria between 6 and 9.30 p.m. It also had the atmosphere of a children`s playground. Would we go with Costa again? definitely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have little experience of cruising and our judgements are necessarily based on limited experience. The story so far ........ We went on our first ever cruise last October on Costa Mediterranea. If you read my review of that trip ... Read More
We have little experience of cruising and our judgements are necessarily based on limited experience. The story so far ........ We went on our first ever cruise last October on Costa Mediterranea. If you read my review of that trip (October 2013) you will see that we had to abort in Savona a few days short of finishing the cruise from Rhodes to Marseille. My wife had back problems and we had a horrendous time getting off the boat and making our way to Nice airport. As I warned then, help from the Insurance company via the ship was pitiful and we were largely left to our own devices. I am sure we would have done better on a 'British' ship with a British doctor and speaking in English. We managed however with my limited Italian and rather better French (and help from friendly natives) to get home. With persistence we managed to persuade the Insurance company to pay up, my wife had her operation and we thought to put the money towards doing the bit of the Med we had missed before the insurance premiums went up. This turned out to be rather naive as the company would not cover such a recent operation even though my wife was completely cured. So off we went to Barcelona at the end of March only adequately insured; wife had forgotten her walking stick, but didn't seem bothered. I was. It's a great device for avoiding queues and eliciting sympathy. We had a night before the cruise in Barcelona, the weather was fine and the hotel central. I highly recommend getting to the cruise port the night before embarkation; it takes away a lot of stress even if it does cost a few pennies more in taxi fares. The letter we received from Costa gave the wrong embarkation time but we rolled up at the Cruise terminal at about 12:30 and were drinking our first cocktail an hour later. Barcelona embarkation is comparatively luxurious and has a good duty free section. Thus we managed a decent bottle of wine to celebrate, and a large bottle of water. Although we had booked the all inclusive, it is rather pleasant to have your own bottle of wine on your own balcony for when the extensive fire drills kick in at every port and everything shuts down. Embarkation at Rhodes had been primitive and slow. One for the Serena. The fire drills on Serena were well organised, intelligible and reasonably deft. They managed to lose us on Mediterranea and we all sort of drifted off in different parties into the darkness when nobody seemed interested. Never found the muster station or perhaps we did. One up to the Serena We had booked a Premium cabin this time, but I can't honestly say there was a lot of difference and I wouldn't pay for it again. The coffee they bring with the breakfast is barely drinkable One up to the Mediterranea - The Classic cabin there was slightly larger/wider, although the balcony at the back of Serena wake-watching was fantastic and you are allowed to smoke. We are very much occasional smokers and there has been a big policy shift in smoking since last October. Nowhere inside is set aside for smokers except for a so called Cigar bar, which does not have a bar and as far as we could tell no air extraction system either. One poor chap had to don a gas mask to clean the ashtrays and pose for photos; we only went in once. Better for everybody if they dispensed with it altogether in that state. There are windbreaks on the deck with a bit of a canopy. We haven't smoked inside at home for years and so were not much inconvenienced. A pity on a ship that size that there is not a place where smokers and non smokers can interact in a degree of comfort, but I do realise there is a sea change. A draw. The decor. Just silly on the Serena with the plastic Gods and Goddesses reclining on their polystyrene clouds. One for the Mediterranea. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, I suppose, and both ships were kept immaculately. More could be made of the hand sanitizers but they were there and we did use them. Unlike on the Mediterranea however all fixtures and fittings worked, so one to Serena. Signage or is it signeage? I managed to get lost frequently on Serena, my second cruise and almost never on Mediterranea my first. Principal difficulties were with the way off ship/exit. We spent a good deal of time in the bowels of the ship trying to find the exit. Deck 0 is fascinating with the panoply of waiters and stewards and cooks and laundry and logistics operatives, but we felt we should not be there. It was a bit like one of those Science fiction films where you are wandering along a very white long passage waiting for someone with a meat cleaver to leap out from a side bay. On the last day we were told to proceed to deck 5 and await announcements for disembarkation which we duly did. We were then told to go to deck 0 which we did by the nearest lift. It was a dead end. We went back to deck 5 and found our English hostess who seemed to think it was quite a hoot. It seems a shame that most people who are only on the boat for a week, waste considerable time because signs are just not there. I found the gym on four mornings but not easily. Mediterranea much better. The gym and facilities on the Mediterranea were superior to those on Serena, although they were both pretty good. The locker system on Serena involved putting in a PIN number, but few of the locks were working. On the Mediterranea there were locks with a physical key and lovely big fluffy towels and showers with water coming at you from all directions, so one to Mediterranea. There was certainly plenty of food on both ships with lots of variety. I would not recommend either breakfast or lunch in the Main Dining Room, mainly because there was so much more choice elsewhere. Lunch in MDR seemed to take forever and the breakfast coffee served up is stewed and poor. We never had afternoon tea, but sampled the pizza bar in the evening. If you want a pizza you are better waiting until 21:30 when they serve individual pizzas on deck 10, which are rather better than the slices on deck 9 earlier, although baked in the same oven. It is a sit down meal with friendly waiter service too. The evening meal in MDR was a highlight of the day; we had attentive waiters and a speedy refill of empty glasses. We were fortunate in getting along extremely well with our co-diners which made the waits between courses speed away. Everyone enjoyed the Italian evening. I think both ships provided us with an excellent meal time experience but Serena shades it just. On our first cruise the wife was virtually wheelchair bound and on this one we were not going to trip the light fantastic either and slip another disc, so it would be unfair of us to comment much on the dancing and late night carousing. We heard it, but at a suitably muffled distance. We did go to a couple of shows and listened to some accomplished bar piano/singers ply their trade early evening. There were some very popular dance line dance instruction classes in the pool areas and when these were not operating the wide screen showed a variety of entertainment during the day including virtually a whole Pavarotti concert and of course football. Still it was quite a joy to be away from England during the 20/20 cricket cup in Bangladesh. My only contacts with it were a couple of texts from my son and they didn’t spoil my Prosecco at all. For entertainment therefore Serena just gets the nod. Ah, away from England into some warm sunshine. Those of us from more northerly climes must enjoy our Mediterranean holidays more than those who can take the weather for granted, living there all the time. The only unexpected disappointment was Tunis, where we could not land because of thick fog. We had a bonus docking at Palma de Mallorca instead. That was our only booked excursion; for the other ports we just went a few hundred yards from where the ship docked. The highlight for both of us was the archaeological museum in Naples which is a 10 euro hairy taxi ride away and has to be the most stunning museum I have ever been to. The exhibits are so accessible. You should not of course touch them, but you could. We have been to Herculaneum and Pompeii and got lost driving in the Naples traffic, but the boat drops you so close. The Sunday food market in Savona was good too. The shopping experience on both ships was geared to the expensive ‘duty free’ merchandise and neither sold things you might actually need, like a razor for instance although we did buy a blow up Costa Serena for the bath – not for us you understand. It suited us better to spend another night in Barcelona at the end of the cruise and we had an enjoyable enough day on the hop on hop off tourist bus, but I think that with a little more confidence next time we would try the Barcelona card which includes the train ride from and to the airport. So both ships are of course offering a similar product and experience. For those of you who were counting, Serena won 5-4, but then I chose the categories! Probably because we felt that Serena was better organised. Nothing to choose between the crews who were mostly delightful, smiling and very hard working – honest too; my wife’s mobile phone was handed in within minutes and a phone call made to our cabin via the resourceful waiter. We tipped those who served us most individually and should have taken a pack of little envelopes and notelets which we found very difficult to obtain; rather less embarrassing than just handing over banknotes. Next time we shall try a different line and a different sea, but I for one who was very sceptical about cruising at all have been converted by Costa!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our second trip on the Costa Serena and knew exactly what to expect. Firstly this is an Italian Cruise Line and you will only occasionally hear the English Language being spoken by your fellow passengers. Lots of children on board ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Costa Serena and knew exactly what to expect. Firstly this is an Italian Cruise Line and you will only occasionally hear the English Language being spoken by your fellow passengers. Lots of children on board of all ages and a real family atmosphere prevails with plenty of activities for them. The food is geared to Continental tastes and it can be a bit hectic in the self service at times although we have never had to queue for more than a few minutes - never mind 40 minutes as claimed by an earlier reviewer. Our cabin staff were excellent and always visible - we did have a suite (offered an upgrade from balcony cabin at a reasonable extra charge). Lively entertainment areas - with the Italians and other Europeans enjoying their dancing - the old fashioned way. Plenty of quiet areas to escape the crowds if required. If you are a complainer then don't bother - one couple approached out English Hostess with a list of seven of the most trivial matters - why they bother leaving home I don't know. This is not a stiff and starchy Cruise Ship with a formal atmosphere and you get what you pay for - by the way we are a couple in our seventies (just) and will use Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Let me starts to explain that my wife and I have travelled to and in many countries and we usually would stay in 4 star or higher hotels. As I would become 65 years of age on the 11th. of February my wife and I decided to do something ... Read More
Let me starts to explain that my wife and I have travelled to and in many countries and we usually would stay in 4 star or higher hotels. As I would become 65 years of age on the 11th. of February my wife and I decided to do something special this year and book a cruise on the Mediterranean on the Costa Serena (Savona, Naples, Palermo,Tunis, Barcelona, Marseille, Savona) . As every traveler should do, prior to our booking we looked at the various reactions made by previous travelers on this trip. The first evening and night (as soon after the ship departed from Savona), my wife got seasick, in a way that she had to skip dinner altogether. The next evening departing from Naples the same happened, but taking sea-sickness tablets (provided on the ship) , my wife endured the dinner. After that she didn't have seasickness again. The meals on the ship were considered by both of us to be perfect!! I can not imagine that anybody would complain about this as the selection of food was fabulous!! Everything on board seemed to be well organized (maybe except for the lengthy time the life-boat instruction lasted) . The booked excursions all worked out fine.The only thing to improve on is to my opinion the fact that you need to pay for the use of WIFI. That seems to me to be a bit out of fashion. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We have recently returned from a costa cruise, which we almost didn't take because of all the awful things said about the line. So pleased we went with our common sense we had a fantastic time. The important thing to remember when ... Read More
We have recently returned from a costa cruise, which we almost didn't take because of all the awful things said about the line. So pleased we went with our common sense we had a fantastic time. The important thing to remember when booking a Costa cruise is that this line caters very much to the southern european market, especially italian. therefore dining arrangements, especially at breakfast, are done to suit, i.e. more emphasis on buffet style, less so on the sit down served arrangement as is prevalent on other lines. there is the option to go to the restaurant and be seated, most of the food is continental buffet style but tea and coffee are served, as are items that don't lend themselves to buffet such as omelettes, fried and poached eggs etc. evening dining is the event with 7 courses, and there is the usual lunch buffet/burger and fries bar very much like most cruise lines. there is no buffet dining in the evening, the area turns into a sit down served pizzeria. very italian. Our embarkation in Barcelona, was quick and very efficient, but most of the passengers don't get on and off here so we are unable to comment on the other ports. We were treated wonderfully from the start, politely, friendly and we didn't come across many staff who couldn't at least make themselves understood in English. Costa are very thorough these days with lifeboat drill, as they should be. the arrangements for english speakers at this port were as plain as the nose on your face. turn up at the arranged time at the theatre, listen to the english hostess give a talk and watch a video and then be ESCORTED to your muster station for the lifejacket demo. simples. you can then happily ignore any further announcements regarding lifeboat drill at other ports no matter what language the announcement is in. language does seem to be a major issue for some cruisers on costa especially in europe. the bulk of the passengers come from italy, spain, france, portugal, germany etc. their first language is not english, why should it be and why should this need spelling out. it annoys us greatly that some english speakers seem to have this bizarre idea that everybody should be able to speak english. There is also a perception that if the passengers are european therefore there is bound to be pushing and shoving. i will admit that in some instances some of them don't grasp the concept of queuing very well, but in the restaurants we saw none of that. everyone waited in line, generally patiently and did not push in. the smoking rules on board are very strict, more so than some other lines we have been on. no smoking inside, not even in the casino. we saw no one disobey these rules and never smelled smoke inside. the only place where smoke could be smelled was at the side of the door leading to the promenade deck but it never lingered as the air conditioning was very efficient here. there were so many bars and seating areas it was never necessary to sit there. in fact, this ship has more bars and seating areas than most of the ships we have been on. there is only one paid for restaurant plus a small one specifically for spa cabins and the space for these has to come from somewhere. full marks to costa for resisting the many paid dining areas (so far). most of the bars had some form of live music/entertainment which was excellent as was the talent in the theatre shows. no big production shows as on lines such as royal caribbean but the in house dancers and singers were as good, if not better than we have seen elsewhere. the shows were very popular, and they managed to find something which could appeal to all cultures and languages. well done to Costa for what is potentially difficult. This is a large ship and absorbs its full complement of passengers really well, there is never any need to feel overwhelmed by people if you want to get away. we never used the library, internet area, or disco so cannot comment on these. considering the large number of teens on board and that alcohol is served from age 18, the behaviour was very good. The food was absolutely wonderful. maybe fewer choices in the buffet than some cruises but generally you would have to be extremely picky not to find something to like. I have read poor reviews about the pizza. this is probably due to expectation. certain nationalities (not to be named) expect their pizza to have thick or stuffed crust and a hundred or so toppings to choose from. italian pizza is not like that, it is a snack really, made to be cooked very quickly and eaten on the run, hence thin crust and few toppings. we love it, and when you are on costa you are effectively in italy. whereas costa's pizza is not the best we have ever had it italy, it is more than acceptable. The burger and fries bar tended to be the busiest (there were many teens on board on this sailing), especially between 11 and noon. the main buffet did not open until 12 noon and on one day in particular when the ship docked at 1 pm everyone wanted to eat and be ready for getting off. however, there were actually 2 burger/fries bars on this ship and the one at the other end of the buffet from the main pool was usually quieter. all you have to do is wander around and look. we never waited very long in the main buffet, even at the busy lunch time. the evening dining was wonderful, 7 courses (all small) which meant you can try lots of different food items and still be able to walk. and if you didn't think any course was big enough, they would have happily brought you another one, or a different one. all the staff wanted to do was to please and i never heard the words its not possible once. the food was of very good quality, beautifully cooked and presented and politely served by the friendly waiters. if costa is at the 'cheap' end of cruising the food did not make it feel like it. we had the drinks package which was fantastic value and the wine at dinner was most acceptable. if you are a connoisseur you may have problems, but then maybe you are on the wrong cruise line. the food was excellent quality, beautifully cooked and presented and politely served. there were many children on board, all of them very well behaved and the odd one that misbehaved was soon pulled into line by a parent or carer. yes they were noisy and lively especially in the activities around the pool which they were all encouraged to join in, even the tiny ones. i would be very concerned about children in this environment that weren't noisy and lively. at dinner, all the children we saw, and there were many of them, knew how to sit up to a table, sit still, manage cutlery and behave in a civilised manner. perhaps this is because they are brought up to do this from a young age. it is obvious from our travels in europe that they seem to grasp the idea that children are a joy to have with you and you want to give them a good time, but they are not the centre of the universe and sometimes they have to fit in with the grown ups and do it with good grace. the children on this ship certainly knew how to do this. the main pool area was where many of the activities took place, mostly around dancing, singing, games and exercise. we expected it to be like a zoo but it wasn't. the glass roof was nice as it meant the area was available to use even in bad weather. the weather on our cruise wasn't especially good, quite windy and a bit of a swell so that sometimes the pools had to be closed due to water slopping around which would have not been safe. similarly, not all the beds were out because there weren't enough people outside to use them. however, if you could find a nice warm sheltered corner (which we did), there was nothing to stop you getting a bed and moving it. (which we did). we didn't ask someone else to do it for us, we just took a bed and moved it. we expect service on a cruise, not slavery. the public bathrooms were plentiful but not easy to locate and this was a niggle which we intend to raise on our survey. the doors were the same colour as the ladies/gents sign and this made them easy to miss. there was supposed to be a lit sign above the door but it was not always lit up. plus, the ship map did not show the location of the bathrooms. when we did find one, it was always spotless and fresh. occasionally towels and tissues did run out, especially the bathrooms around the theatre which were heavily used, but it never took long to replenish them. besides there are hand air driers as well. hygiene was paid attention, hand sanitiser available outside all the restaurants and coming on board. no washee washee (ncl) you were left to make the decision to sanitise your hands yourself. you would be a fool not to. Costa does not present, or price itself as the Ritz of cruising. It is a family orientated and family friendly line and this shows in the way that children of all ages are welcomed and valued. some of the kids did go to the kids club, some not. the carers of the kids club certainly knew how to keep their charges in line and they did. we never once saw any child 'running wild' - whatever that means. haven't reviewed the cabin specifically, they are pretty similar to cabins on most cruise lines. we had an inside one, midships, deck 7 which was a premium cabin an a little larger than some we have had and a very nice bathroom. we do usually tend to go for the cheapest option because we spend so little time in it, but Costa have this arrangement whereby if you book the cheap, to be allocated cabin, you cannot choose your dining location or time. for two people travelling together perhaps this is OK but we were in a four and wanted to be sure we were dining together. For that reason only we upgraded to the premium cabin, classic is the cheapest. it actually wasn't that much more expensive, about £28 per person. we also got room service free with this class of cabin and as we do like our early morning tea/coffee it was nice to have that. we did have breakfast pastries once in the cabin an were impressed with them, they were delicious and fresh. Using the medical facility isn't something you particularly want to do but on this occasion we had to. They were excellent, very well staffed, treatment first class and wonderfully caring and considerate. the medical facility must report to the customer service staff details about their patients because 2 days after i started receiving treatment they called me in the cabin to ask how I was and had my condition improved. a nice touch. Fortunately for me I wasn't confined to the cabin (not norovirus!). What I would say to the nigglers and complainers about Costa cruises is this - they are exceptionally good value - don't expect the Ritz from what you have paid If you are travelling in Europe, the ship will probably be full of Italians, Spanish, French etc. what did you expect. These passengers will probably not speak English, why should they. Do you hate the presence of visible children, especially in the dining room. if you do, choose another line, or an adult only ship. Going on holiday should be an adventure, it won't be totally under your control and like it is at home. that is the joy of a holiday. if you really can't stand it that there may be little things that are not exactly as you might like them to be, then better to stay at home. We have travelled on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and NCL as well as Costa and independent travel throughout Europe and the USA. There are things about each one that have been specially nice, and things that we were not too sure of. That applies to probably every holiday we have ever been on. Keep an open mind, be flexible and you will have a wonderful time, on Costa as on any other cruise line. Moderate your expectation to what is realistic and do some research first (and not just bad reviews). Be grateful you can afford to cruise, and are fit enough to do so. There are many out there that would give their right arm to be doing what you (and we) are fortunate enough to be able to do .   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We cruised with Costa Serena to Civitaveccia,Olbia,Palma de Mallorca,Ibiza and Toulon.The last port should have been Marseille,but was changed because of the weather. That was a disappointment. Anyway,this was our first cruise,and I'm ... Read More
We cruised with Costa Serena to Civitaveccia,Olbia,Palma de Mallorca,Ibiza and Toulon.The last port should have been Marseille,but was changed because of the weather. That was a disappointment. Anyway,this was our first cruise,and I'm glad we choose this one.Many places to visit, cabin with balcony, all inclusive :) For one of us,the meal service wasn't what he expected, he waited more variety for the meals. I was satisfied though,even I look very closely what I put in to my mouth. You don't get starved in your trip,you could eat almost at any time you wanted. When the ship arrives to the land,there's no horry. All day long the transfer goes on,and you have plenty of time to explore everything. That's why we choose not to take any excursions,we didn't want to ''relax with a clock'' . The crew on Costa Serena was awesome! They are always ready to serve and help,even they're English wasn't 10+,and that was something I noticed every place we visited. That is why I wouldn't recommend this cruise (or any other cruise on Mediterian sea) to someone who doesn't speak English. Most of the people were Italian. They know how to enjoy and have fun! You can't see many children on board,and my opinion is,that this cruise wasn't made for them. Lots of partying and lots of alcohol,which didn't mind me,even I don't drink. I loved the ship! So beautiful and luxurious,clean and big,many things to do! Staff was cleaning and serving all the time,with a smile :) despite few ''angry birds'' I liked the staff. All together, I would go back if I had a chance! The only thing I didn't like,was the buss transfer from/to Milano-Savona-Milano. It was so long way,and we didn't stop to have a break when we traveled from Milano to Savona. It was a scary road and driver drived so fast. But otherwise this cruise was awesome experience!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
What a pleasant surprise this cruise was after reading the poor reviews!! The ship was very clean and the staff was very friendly and made my husband & I feel very welcome. The food was very good and the the service was ... Read More
What a pleasant surprise this cruise was after reading the poor reviews!! The ship was very clean and the staff was very friendly and made my husband & I feel very welcome. The food was very good and the the service was excellent. We were ated with other English speaking couples at dinner who were also enjoying the cruise. The tips are billed at the end of the cruise but we felt the service was so good that we gave an additional tip to the cabin steward and the waiters. We had a balconey cabin on deck 7 & our cabin steward Reina made sure that our cabin was always and & inviting to come back to. If you can afford it the balconey is the way to go! A couple at our dinner table were on deck two and they said they were awakened at 4AM every morning for the staff wake up call. We are not smokers even though smoking is allowed in the cabins for those that do, there was no odor from any previous smokers. There is no smoking in the eating areas or the lounges and it is enforced. We were a little disappointed that a few excursions were cancelled due to low sign up. Most of the excursions we went on were pleasant, but unfortunately we did not go on the one that everyone said was fantastic-the excursion to Monaco. There are mostly Europeans on this cruise so the announcements are in several languages, English being the last. Some staff spoke much better English than others, but all the staff we met spoke enough English to be helpful. Holly is the hostess for the English speaking and is very helpful and readily available if needed (She also has a great singing voice!). There were 2 formal nights; most men wore suits & not a tux, most women wore evening dresses and a few wore gowns. The shows wee not Broadway quality but were enjoyable, especially the ventriloquist. There are no washcloths for the shower, I brought a bath sponge which worked out very well. A must to pack is Downey wrinkle releaser-it works fantastic on wrinkled clothes-no need for pressing! There is an outlet in the room that does not need a converter. The hair drier works well enough. Don't forget to pack an umbrella and light raincoat-you never know if you need it. Our weather was beautiful but we did get one day of rain. Happily, overall it was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We booked this cruise at the last minute (2 days before sailing) as it was only a 5 hour drive to the departure port. We got one of the last outside staterooms available and found ourselves on deck 1 about 5 cabins from the front of the ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute (2 days before sailing) as it was only a 5 hour drive to the departure port. We got one of the last outside staterooms available and found ourselves on deck 1 about 5 cabins from the front of the ship. It was a great cabin (1218) and we'd take it again. There was no through traffic from other passengers so the hall was very quiet. Even though the ship is going on about 7 years, I saw no difference in quality to the very new Favolosa. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth! We were off the ship, had our luggage and retrieved our car in about 30 minutes. This was true at the ports as well - on and off with no trouble. Even when the ship was diverted towards Sardinia for a medical emergency, we still made our next port on time. The food at meal time was excellent....only let down by our rather dour waiter! Housekeeping was superb as were all the staff at the Squouk Club. It was quite a full cruise and my only complaint is that the public areas can be extremely crowded between meal times. However, I think this would be true on any large ship. We will happily go on another Costa cruise in future! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Costa Serena Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.0 3.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 2.0 3.1
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 3.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.6

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