Whilst not a major cruiser we have completed enough to know this was the worst of our experiences and total rubbish. We will never cruise with Costa again. As part of a package advertised on cruise critic we spent 4 days in Dubai then 7 days aboard the Costa Serena. Our first dissapiontment was being transferred from hotel to port embarkation arriving just after midday to be told we could not gain access to cabins untill 8pm. Whilst annoyed and frustrated we did notice some passengers sleeping on the more comfortable seats who had arrived around 9am following overnight flights from the uk. Imagine how they felt. We couldn't understand this as the ship had docked the previous day early morning. At app 5pm we were allowed to board to gain access to the buffet restaurant to at least get something to eat. Getting to our cabin at app 7.50pm we found it to be a reasonable size and comfortable. At breakfast we chose the Al la carte restaurant preferring not to get involved in the rush at the buffet counters. Orange SQUASH was available but when I asked for orange juice I was told there is a charge of normally €4.50 (but was on offer of €3.50).
At the end of breakfast, filter coffee was served but a choice of say, cappuccino or latte etc incurred a charge of €4.50. It was interesting to note that following breakfast orange SQUASH machines were switched off and not available at any other time although orange juice could still be purchased. Again at dinner, coffee was only available if purchased.
A drinks package was available to purchase at (alcoholic) €25 pppd or (non alcoholic) €15 pppd. I did experience many passengers complaining that having purchased the alcoholic package, were disappointed to find that when selecting wine it was house red or white. If you wanted a particular wine, say a Chardonnay or Cabernet, you would have to pay for a bottle (not even a glass was available).
There was a staff service charge of €8 pppd, and whilst I did not have a problem with this I objected to a 15% surcharge on all and every other purchase. Why not just add it to the price. Even to request a bottle of water cost €4.50 plus 15%. Water was available in the cabin but again only from the mini bar at the usual cost. There was a cinema available but again a charge was made. A small pizza restaurant was available but again, at a charge. There was a large amount of maintenance work going on and many passengers made complaints although we were not personally affected. Talking to fellow passengers it became apparent that almost everyone was dissatisfied with the whole experience. Talking at breakfast to an elderly retired Italian lady professor and a seasoned Costa cruiser, she was most disappointed. She had made numerous complaints and vowed never to sail with Costa again. The evening dinner was excellent and could not be faulted and we were fortunate to have a table of 4 other very pleasant passengers. We were very puzzled as to why the farewell dinner was held on the Tuesday when the cruise didn't end untill the Friday
. The entertainment provided by our waiter/catering staff was most amusing and enjoyable.
The evening entertainment in the theatre was ok, not great but not bad. Shore excursions were expensive and as usual, could be purchased at dockside considerably cheaper, particularly the "Big Bus" tours.
I elected to complete a customer survey/questionnaire online via an email to be sent to me by costa, interesting to note, no survey/questionnaire has been sent to me. Maybe they don't want to get my opinions.
Clean, comfortable and although boasting 45 TV channels only BBC 24hr news was English. The sky sport channels plus movie channels were all dubbed in Italian.
Half day city tour I did not want to spend 1 hour in a shopping mall having spent time shopping in Dubai. The commentary was in both English AND Italian despite being informed it was English commentary only.View All 17 City Tour Reviews