A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a ... Read More
A little background. Experienced cruisers, have cruises with most of the main lines, and this was our fourth cruise with Costa in the past 2 years. We have cruises twice on the NeoRomantica, and once on the Magica. This was a bit of a "bonus" cruise (as we have a lot of travel plans this year) so we did this on a budget which for us, meant no suite, but instead a premium balcony.
Being Costa Pearl members - we had no problem - We were very pleasantly surprised to have our table for two, late dining, aft Ceres Restaurant - ALL fulfilled! Great 5* start!
Embarkation was the easiest ever. No big port - No queue - no lines, just sign here, photo and "on".
We had a premium balcony which is just a regular "Carnival" style balcony. The cabin is showing its age - few cigarette burns on the carpet, and it really is obviously in need of an overhaul.
The balcony - sorry to say, was filthy - the gutter in the balcony had long strands of black human hair - I didnt mention it first day, but after the next clean, when it was still there, I did call.
The cabin steward was prob the biggest disappointment. he finally did clean the balcony - but it was "an effort". I requested face flannels a few times - he always told me "yes" - but they never ever did appear.
He also missed the blue pool towels a few times - just little things which we had to call about - which when one happens after another - starts to grate on you - as I said, not the best steward we have had.
It is the first time ever we have not given extra tips(above the standard gratuity) to our cabin steward. I am afraid to say he did nothing to warrant it.
The toilet OMG - blocked daily - that did become a pain in the butt (literally) - to a point where one morning we were given a key to a spare cabin three decks below us - not nice - These cabins honestly are in need of dry dock... time for a full overhaul.
The ship itself - actually, although gawdy, loud and totally OTT - I liked it! Its all Bling and has aged better than the cabins. It is a bit "1990s" - BUT - it does somehow have a much nicer feel to it than say the Magica.
The staff - excellent - For a big ship - one can tell from embarkation that the staff are happy. Thats coming from the top down. Every area has its team, and each team seems to gel well and in general - lots of happy staff. THAT makes the Serena special - and to us, warrants its high rating.
We met many staff on board whom we knew from previous cruises, one in particular, Peter, is lke our lucky mascot at Sea, For some weird reason, on every single of our last four cruises, different ships, embarkation day, Peter has always been the first waiter we have seen - bizarre - and wonderful!!
FOOD: Buffett - dont even go there - its madness - just a battle of hands and feet and rude rude rude guests - seriously - I am appalled at the manners of these people - animals have more decorum. We settled for continental breakfast in our cabin (Gluten free pastries provided) - Lunch we chose to have in the Ceres Restaurant - I am Gluten Free and anyone with special diets will find the Ceres restaurant IS open daily for lunch - there is a section specifically for special diets. Gluten free choices are a HUGE plus for Costa - I just adore all the choices available for Gluten Free - 11/10 Costa!
Dinner at night could run just a tad too late - even for we, who are late diners. However, first class service, table for two aft, what more could we ask for
We chose to dine in the Club Bacco Restaurant twice this cruise and loved every moment. For a truly civilised dining experience away from the maddening crowd - at only 25 euro per person - this is well spent. The Club on Serena is magnificent - awesome views over the sea, and a live pianist entertaining throughout
The Lobster Caesar was fantastic - The shrimps - just amazing - so fresh - succulent - and what is a simple meal is made into a feast. Favourite mains - the Veal and the Lamb - the lamb especially - perfection on the plate. Special thanks to Chef Lara - what a wonderful young lady who is passionate about her food. She is happy to stop by your table if you wish, and happy to have a gourmet chat. As food producers ourselves - we appreciated this gesture.
Shows we dont do. Musicians - as ever Costa excel.
I think our only regret on this cruise was the timing. It was already into Italian vacation time, and honestly - the only fault in the ship lay in the guests, some seriously rude and appallingly bad mannered guests.
Oh and we were a bit pd off at the Ecig rule. We both stopped smoking two years ago, and use a zero nicotine shisha pen - It is the rule that these are used only in smoking areas - how awful to be made to be back in "lepers corne" once more - We did use our ecig - very discretely - and low key. We did however see smokers smoking in the NON SMOKING areas, and also some idiots throwing a LIT cigarette butt over the side in port waaaargghhhhhhhhhh
Other appalling guests included babies in the jacuzzis in nappies (diapers) -
We stayed out of the pools - lot of suspect cloudy "water" going on if you get my drift.
We would sail the Serena again - but woulc choose a quieter off peak season -
Surprisingly great though - BIG ship with staff with BIG HEARTS!
Well done Costa! - You treated our loyalty beautifully, granted our wishes, and threw in some nice perks -incuding a lovely gift at the end of our cruise
See you soon!