Now where do I start. Having done dozens of cruises with the likes of Princess, P&O, NCL, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean I have learnt that apart from small differences in presentation, the typical fair of different ships and lines is pretty much the same. Happy friendly crew, excellent food from the buffet from breakfast to last thing at night, pool side burger bars, elegant dining rooms with silver service with the best food available, specialty restaurants, lots of great bars, to show and entertainment everywhere. This is NOT what you get on COSTA!!! Having just returned from a weeks cruise on the Costa Serena I can honestly say it has been the worst cruise I have ever been on (after completing 15). Ok the ship is clean and much to the best efforts of the staff (who look shattered due to the long long shirfts Costa make them work), things just don't flow like a good cruise should. I'll go through the points that will show how poor Costa now is: Grumpy shattered staff - Talk to staff on any ship you understand how they work for lengthy contracts without any days off, but at least they get decent down time and breaks, the odd half day and rewarded for service by tips and staff competitions. On Costa staff have two shifts and one being 11 hours long and they even get diddled out of their automatic tips by the company. Even with their best efforts you can understand why they are how they are. Closed, closed, closed - If you like taking your watch off when on holiday and eating/drinking at your leisure forget Costa. During the day the buffet is your main option, but only for short time slots for the serving of hot food. Open for breakfast, 1030 closed. Then open at lunchtime, but be quick as two hours later is closed again, and the Dessert will always be fruit salad! They do rolls around 4ish, but again they are not great. Other than that, the buffet is closed. No evening meal option. The poolside burger bar, only open for an hour or so at lunchtime, but don't worry, as you wouldn't eat from here anyway with its grey meat. The beef and chicken burgers look and taste the same. The best description being cheap meat. Food - The food on board is limited, after the cheap bland delights of the day time buffet, you have the option of your evening meal in the main restaurant. Poor service, no banter with the waiters as they have too many tables to serve, and the food.... Bland bland bland.Specialty restaurants (where you have to pay extra) consist of pizza, the same that was free during the day, or an Italian. No snack bar, no cafe in the atrium, but there is room service, if you pay. Drinks packages - The all inclusive package should be called the 'some included' drinks package. It costs the same as other lines but virtually everything is excluded from the deal. Water - Costa will serve you alcohol all day and all night, but you can only get a glass of water if you pay. Even with your dinner no iced water. And just to make sure they can get some more money out of you, they turn the water fountains off in the buffet when it closes after lunch. Captains drink reception - Nope there wasn't one. Bridge updates - No announcements from the captain giving you an update on your voyage. "Just for Crew" "Just for Crew" - Crew safety drills being piped in full volume lasting for hours into passenger cabins. TV - Cabin TV film channels not operating, instead showing safety drills on loop. The ship - It is clean, very clean. But good is it ghastly. It's decor looks like the inside odd a sea-side amusement arcade with dark blue walls and ceilings broken up by red or blue lightsvand neon coloured tin metal strips. In the atrium they have these strange mannequins bolted to the ceiling. Apart from that, it's not too bad. So much potential just poorly run. Other customers - It would be rude of me to count this against Costa, but the majority of customers are rude, they just push in everywhere. The only people queuing will be the brits. Entertainment - there was certainly plenty of singers and bands on board, but after a day or two you got this de ja vu feeling as the next repeated the same sets night after night. It wasn't all bad, but so much was it did takeaway from the glamour of cruising. The best advice I would give to anyone thinking of going on a Costa cruise would be to go onto another cruise line.
A good sized cabin. Well appointed.