After having a great initial cruise experience to Norway on Costa, we had a cruise from Hell the last time we went on this line. We swore we would never set foot on Costa again, however, the itinerary -- Greece, Turkey and Israel-- and the time of year made us consider this cruise line again.
If you read my previous post, we were put-off with the incompetence of the staff and the rudeness of the the fellow passengers. This time, we decided to try to control our experience with these variables by getting a suite, We figured that a larger room would serve to isolate us from the frenzied masses, and that a butler would help navigate our problems with incompetent and uncaring staff. By and large, this strategy helped.
While I know that a suite option is not possible for all cruisers, being in the larger room enabled us to comfortably dine in privacy and avoid being assaulted in the buffet lines (truth be told, however, that we we did try the buffet at times, and there were fewer assaults this time!) When we did have problems that needed staff attention, our butler helped at times, and on other occasions, the staff appeared to give us better service. Not sure whether this was due to better training, or because they recognized us as suite passengers.
We did try the main and speciality dining rooms, and the food as usual was pathetic, and the servers this time were the worst ever. We have low expectations of cruise line food. And the Serena lived up to our expectations.
The ship appeared clean and modern. The cabin was subdued and not garish like some we have been in. The entertainment was awful, but this is a cruise line, yes? We took several Costa excursions, and they actually went out with English-speaking guides! However, we really enjoyed the other excursions we arranged with private guides.
Our basic needs were met: We got the ports we desired safely. We did not contract Norovirus. Embarkation
and disembarking were orderly in Rome (unlike our previous experiences).
We enjoyed ourselves, so the experience was great. Costa is not a first-class line, so you get what you pay for. Our experience improved since our last try with them, and I hope that if you go on Costa, these tips will help you too.