Costa Serena Cruise Review by Debbie A
- Sail Date: September 2008
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
There were 700 British passengers on the ship and those we met during the course of the cruise and on the flight home had similar complaints to those I have set out below.
Embarkation: We used the free shuttle bus to get to the port. Once we arrived at the dock side there were no porters or Costa reps to assist with luggage or to point us in the right direction. This resulted in us (and many other passengers) walking into the embarkation hall to discover that we had to double back on ourselves down to the ground floor and past the bus to drop off our luggage. The whole embarkation process is a farce with some people waiting around for their number to be called for 3 hours. Costa seem to have created an disorganized and ineffective embarkation procedure which has resulted in passengers queuing to embark the ship, then having to queue again to register a credit card. They do not operate a system which links your photo to your cruise card which means you have to carry your passport around with you when you are in port in order for you to get back on the ship!
The Serena: This was far from the best ship we have been on. The layout doesn't seem to work, with Deck 5 being the only deck which you can walk from one end of the ship to the other. We've never felt so disorientated on a ship - you have to walk up and down stairs to get to where you want to go. The facilities on board are only just adequate for the number of passengers on board and we often felt that the ship wasn't really big enough for everybody on board. That said it is a clean and bright ship. Cabin: The cabins are clean and of a good size. We were in a Cat 5 inside and it was comparable to other cabins we have stayed in previously. Considering the ship is only a year old the cabins are a slightly older style to what we have experienced on other ships.
Food: Food is usually the highlight of a cruise but not with Costa. The selection available for breakfast is unsatisfactory. On the first morning we visited the Ceres Restaurant for table service to discover that it was only the very limited choice of hot food which was served to the table with a buffet of cereals, breads etc in the centre of the restaurant. We ordered some items from the menu, only to wait for over an hour for them to arrive.
The buffet is repetitive and doesn't cope well with the number of people passing through. There were often plates left on tables and empty spaces on the serving sections waiting to be filled.
The menu for dinner was average and the food was hit and miss. We didn't have an evening where each course was of a good standard but some of the courses, though tasty, were nothing special. Overall the quality of the food was not comparable to what we have had on other cruise lines and was more comparable to an average 3* hotel.
One thing they do get right however is the pizza, but then you can't live on pizza for a week! Service: The standard of service is mixed. We got the impression that the staff aren't as well looked after as they are perhaps on other cruise lines and maybe this shows in the level of service they deliver. The cabin steward, waiters, and bar staff did an excellent job and worked really hard. However, the staff at the Customer Services desk were not particularly courteous as well as some of the other general staff you see around the ship. The personal touch was somehow lacking with no 'good mornings' etc.
Entertainment: There's not much to say about the entertainment as there wasn't much entertaining on board. The best entertainment was the waiters singing and dancing during dinner service in the restaurant. Some of the entertainment was only delivered in Italian and was not inclusive of the other nationalities on board. The piano and keyboard players in one of the bars played the same set every night and not much seemed to happen in the lounges.
Smoking and behavior on board: There does not appear to be an enforced smoking policy which means that smoking seems to be allowed anywhere on board. Not good if you are non-smokers like us. There were groups of teenagers on the ship who would run around with no challenges from staff. This was sometimes dangerous in the buffet for example where people were walking around with hot drinks.
Advice: If you haven't cruised before I wouldn't recommend Costa as it will give you the wrong impression of what cruising is about. Equally, if you have cruised with any other cruise line before you will likely be disappointed with Costa.
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