Where do I start? After reading many terrible reviews of the Costa Serena after I had booked this cruise I should've learnt my lesson & cancelled it!
Several times I tried to contact Costa by email prior to departing with some requests but to no avail, they don't seem to acknowledge any sort of email enquiry. So why was I suprised that when I tried to call them they didn't answer the phone either?
To my better judgement we decided to go ahead with the cruise, as we particularly wanted to see this side of the world & with only Costa available to this area we had no choice.
We spent 3 wonderful days in Dubai staying in a lovely hotel before boarding the Costa Serena. (Wish we had stayed in Dubai now!) we wanted to board the ship during the day but all the information we had told us we could only board after 8pm. What utter rubbish!!
We decided to go to the port early & try to get on board. Evidently people had been boarding since about 1pm, we got there about 4pm. My first impression was at the port, there was one girl doing the check in with a face like a fish and no courtesy what so ever.
On other ships we had to leave a deposit on either on a card or cash, nothing was requested here? On arrival into the main atrium I found it dowdy and gloomy with not much light. The decor was appalling!! Then I noticed what sounded like drilling and chipping noises, LOUD!! When I looked up on the next deck there were maintenance men working on what would've been the shops? I just assumed that perhaps it was something they done when in port?
How wrong was I, the work was continuous the whole duration of our cruise. The noise limits were endless. You couldn't sit to relax with a drink you couldn't hear the music being played for the horrendous sounds coming from the workforce above. We then ventured to other parts of the ship to find some areas divided where some areas were not accessible, workmen were walking around the ship carrying huge boards of plasterboards over guests heads??
What have we come to I asked myself??
As our cabin was not available until 8pm & we couldn't access our bags as all the doors to the cabins on each deck were not only shut but locked?? We had no choice but to arrive in the dining for our evening meal in the clothes we had travelled in.lucky for us we had a table of 6 & we were all English ( not many on board) the waiters were very attentive but we did seem to wait a while between each course. The choice was not very large (compared to other cruise ships) & the food was not very variable and tasteless. We were on the all inclusive drinks package & it was worth every penny as the drinks on board were expensive. Only trouble was you were not allowed a bottle of water it had to be a glass!
The dining room was fine for the evening meal we ate in Vesta restaurant, but forget having breakfast or lunch there, it was a nightmare! We went twice to each then forgot it. The service was appalling & so was the food. Once I waited 20 minutes for a coffee??
So we went to the self service restaurant on deck 9. Although it was the same choice every day, breakfast was continental, cereals, fruit, pastries,anything that was suppose to be hot clearly was not & the waiters made no attempt to clear the tables until you walked away & had finished. At lunchtime there was pasta, carvery, salad, bread, soup & desserts of fruit, cakes of some description. It was not horrendous but the only trouble is after getting your food there were no tables available so by the time you found a table your food was cold!! The bar staff that continually parade around the restaurant conveniently chose to ignore the British guests unless you were lucky enough to grab one & ask them to serve you.
The entertainment team were very amateurish & the shows were the worst I've ever witnessed. The first was a magician, we walked out half way through it was unbelievable!
Most of the staff had a couldn't give a damn attitude & it became very stressful!
The noise & dust from the continuous Maintenance going on around the ship really ruined our cruise along with the attitude of the staff, the dim gloomy cabins and dreadful decor on board, together with the awful entertainment and plain unimaginable food made this our worst cruise ever!
The jacuzzi turned my new swimsuit brown (far too much chlorine in the water) when I complained to the guests services they were not interested & told me to claim on my insurance?!
After a lengthy argument with them I demanded to see the Captain, who obviously doesn't deal with such trivialities!! I was told it will be dealt with & a letter will be with you within a few hours with a decision as to what can be done. After 8 hours I had heard nothing so returning to see them I demanded to see someone of higher authority. When speaking to her I was told nothing can be done on board & it has to be dealt with when I get home. With my previous experience of trying to contact Costa I don't hold out much hope?? There attitude was unbelievable & they really couldn't care less. The queue was so long when we had finished our meeting with her & everyone was complaining about one thing or another.
There were several pools on board, we decided to use the "Adult Pool" at the Aft of the ship on deck 9. Unfortunately though this was not adhered to as plenty of European kids decided they would use it "bomb" every guest using it! The pool attendant asked them to use but as in the case of many situations they decided to ignore it!!
The pool slide was out of action the whole duration due to maintenance but actually no work was seen to be done?
The 4D Cinema was not in English & had no sound!!!
Unfortunately for everyone on board on Thursday we experienced a sandstorm which meant that we couldn't really get off the ship back in Dubai. This meant it was another day we had to endure the ship! There was no additional entertainment to enjoy and soon the ship became very full with lots of disgruntled guests hanging around.
im not convinced that the ports of call in Oman were of any interest, in particular Khasab! We thought as many guests did that they should forget Khasab and have 2 days in Abu Dhabi where there was so much more to see & do & not enough time for only having 1 day. Probably though knowing all the savings Costa was trying to make this was just another?
So to sum it all up, would I do another Costa cruise?
NO WAY NOT IF THEY PAID ME!!!
Someone recently wrote saying this was the Ryanair of cruise ships, this is an understatement!!
The cabin was small with a decent amount of storage. The bed was comfortable & Marco kept it very clean. The bathroom was adequate but lacking toiletries! The shower was good but soaked the floor each time you used it!!
The TV was ok but we found it difficult to find any information about what was going on aboard the ship?
The decor was dull & dreary & the lighting poor.
Unfortunately our cabin must have been near either a generator or air conditioning unit near by as the noise levels were high and the bed had a constant vibration, making it difficult to sleep.
It was near the stair well hence making it easy to access the restaurant & pool both on deck 9.
I loved Dubai. We stayed here 3 days prior to the cruise. The Burj Kaliffa is amazing & definitely a must do! The scenes from the top are awesome! The fountains near the Burj are lovely to watch but be warned it does gets packed!
The Shopping Malls are out of this world but way too expensive for the average spender! Great to see though! The Atlantis Palm is amazing & even has its own aquarium worth seeing! We took the hop on hop off bus tour for 48 hours & it was great. Plenty to see & do in Dubai & everyone we met was pleasant. They have a great metro system, cheap, clean & very easy to use. Taxis are plentiful & very reasonable.
I will surely be returning.
Muscat was not really on my list to want to go to & to be honest there wasn't really a lot to see. The Palace was nice to see but not a lot else. Again we took the hop on hop off but even that was a bit uneventful.
Abu Dhabi is the up & coming place of UAE, they are trying hard to accommodate tourists. There is plenty to see & do. We done the Ferrari World trip on our own getting a taxi off the ship was 85 dirham. It was agood 30 minutes journey. It was great to see the Ferrari World but I do think £59pp was a bit steep. There are about 20 rides & even though they are included in the entrance price I still maintain it was expensive, but glad I done it!