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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.  

Great experience on Costa Serena

Costa Serena Cruise Review by jillyp4perfect

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
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.
 
jillyp4perfect’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7364
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
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