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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
So a group of 7 girls decided to go on a cruise for one of our friends 40th birthday, only 2/7 people has done a cruise before so it’s an amazing idea on something different to do. We boarded at Barcelona, everything went very smooth, ... Read More
So a group of 7 girls decided to go on a cruise for one of our friends 40th birthday, only 2/7 people has done a cruise before so it’s an amazing idea on something different to do. We boarded at Barcelona, everything went very smooth, the check in staff were helpful and informative, so sat at the bar waiting to be called. After looking at the info the check in desks give we head into our room, collect the cards and walk out. We then go to reception get a drink, go for an explore, then head to the top deck. That’s when it goes slightly downhill, no one knows what to do next, we didn’t know about the entertainment information or the timetable as we were so excited to go exploring we seemed to miss the little pigeonhole right next to the door, I finally understood on the last night. Not Costas fault but it’s not explained very well once onboard the ship. Also being a group on girls on a birthday weekend I think there was a few more drinks flowing than normal. At 6.30 there was a safety demonstration which lasted about 20 odd minutes, then off to dinner for 9.15pm, that was a definite eye opener so very busy, the waiter we had wasn’t at all friendly (although we later found out they can work up to 8 months and that’s without a day off), even I don’t think I could plaster a smile on my face everyday. While dining in the main buffet Michael Jackson started blaring on the loud speaker, then up out of no where all the waiters start jumping about dancing. That was amazing as it comes out of nowhere!! Food was good, although the menu can get confusing as the waiter never did explain that you can order anything and everything if you choose. We all dance the night away and that was a great first night. Next morning with a slight hangovers and an early morning wake up call as someone managed to get locked out of their room and went off with another friend in another cabin, we all shower and up we get for a buffet breakfast. I can see from the choice of breakfast that they do try to cater for different nationalities but the breakfast isn’t great to be honest. I try some pancakes and bacon and that’s it. The coffee also isn’t great as unlike the bars where they have a machine and a milk frother they don’t have in the buffet, so water or orange juice is the way forward, also they don’t have a toaster, and the bread is rock solid. You could kill a bird with it. Off we go to marseille, hmmm next time I won’t bother as there’s not overly a lot to do there, walked around, saw some buildings, forced an alcoholic drink down our neck and back on the boat. lunch at the buffer, again it wasn’t too great, rock hard bread again, some warm focaccia, pasta, and a big lump of beef with potatoes, not great if you’re a vegetarian (I’m not, but 2 of our friends are). Go to dinner at 9.15pm, this time the waiters dance to some latin songs, ver well done again. Then another repeat of the night before, more drinks and dance the night away). The 3rd morning head off to the buffet again, this time no pacncakes, I don’t eat eggs so not a lot to choose from, I grabbed 2 pieces of French bread with cinnamon and some pineapple, that will do. We get off at Savona, 1 MASSIVE tip, other than supermarkets everything else shuts at 1.30 and opens back up at 4.30, unfortunately we have to be back on the ship by 4.30 so we spent an hour walking in a group of 7, with different people trying to find a restaurant just so we can get a pizza, it didn’t go down too well but got there in the end. Back on the ship, more drinks, a lot more passengers so the bar on deck 9 was a complete nightmare, then off we go again. Down to shower, off to the 9.15pm dinner, waited until 10pm to ask the waiter what time will the dancing be on tonight, he tells us there won’t be any, shame, so we all thanked him, 3 went off to bed, 4 of us decided to pop off to the casino. Within half hour our 50€ was spent and off to the bar we go. A few more drinks down our necks an the conversation turned to the bar staff. When we took 5 minutes out of our busy lives to see the amount they work, the stuff they have to put up with, and the hours they work on a daily basis, I’m so grateful for my life. The amount of time they’re away from home, they don’t see their families for months and months at a time. While we go on holiday they’re there at our beck and call when we want a drink or service. So thank you Henry and Danny for that night. So last morning just before we go to Barcelona, we set our alarms to make the restaurant breakfast. I do wish I’d gone there before but to be there by 9 is a bit of a deal breaker, unfortunately again we had a not so friendly waiter and had to be called about 3 times before he would come over to serve, at least it was nice. Back to the room to get our stuff as we had to be out by 10. We decided to go back to deck 9, as we started off from there a few more Prosecco to finish up the holiday, and off we go to the shops, pay our bill at the desk and get ready to leave. As they bleep mine and my roommates cats and unfamiliar buzz goes off, we’re not allowed to leave but everyone else disembarked, so back off to the desk to sort the cards out. Cards done and out we go. The 2 of us are last to pick up our luggage go through everything and my friend realizes she’s had some money stolen from her case. Do not leave any money in your case. There’s signs around saying the same so I don’t know what was going through her mind at that time when she left the case outside the door the night before. You HAVE to leave your cases outside of the room the night before for them to collect it. They advise to leave the cases the night before by 12 midnight and no later than 1am, but I witnessed them not coming until 3.30 am. Do not leave anything valuable at all. There’s always people workers and non workers wandering the hallways so could have been anyone. I also had stuff taken but luckily not money. Anyway other than the little hiccup at the end it all went well. I also missed the last day lunch as I was too busy booking my next cruise onboard. This time as a family, so hopefully the next one will be a little less partying and a little less hangovers. On the last note, be aware that if you suffer from rocking on land, It’s been 48 hours and I still don’t feel great and I’m still rocking and swaying. Maybe I was a little hasty in booking the next one but I’m sure I’ll be over it then. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
'Costa Luminosa' is a classic cruise liner, 8 years old, with a more traditional form, compared to newer ships. Interiors appeared to me like some sort of 'Art Deco', with lots of colorful illumination and warm colors. ... Read More
'Costa Luminosa' is a classic cruise liner, 8 years old, with a more traditional form, compared to newer ships. Interiors appeared to me like some sort of 'Art Deco', with lots of colorful illumination and warm colors. There were always lots of free sun loungers on the spacious sun decks, and the ship did never appear crowded. Everybody on board was friendly, caring and attentive. After arriving at about 11:30am, it took me nearly 3 hours from the port gate through the entire embarkation process to my stateroom, long waiting times again and again, but I was repeatedly addressed in German language. The staff and crew was always doing a good job in talking to their guests in each their languages. The security drill took less than 30 minutes and was held in Italian and English languages; movies with other languages were available on the TV in the stateroom the entire cruise. I found some clocks going wrong on board, and generally, light wear and tear. Since I am a buffet type of passenger, and I generally try to avoid long sessions in the main dining rooms, I did not visit the main dining room. In the evenings, the 'Ristorante Andromeda' was open from 07:30pm to 09:00pm usually, a very limited time for a buffet restaurant, not so Italian like, and there were queues sometimes, since the buffets are arranged on long bars with a narrow alley, not allowing guests to jump. Plastic table ware was used, but the offered food was among the best things on the cruise, although two typical Italian foods like pizza and ice cream were not included in the cruise fare. Choice of food was very good with a big variety, not just pasta, but also different kinds of fish and meat, even the best possible Bratwurst, always very freshly prepared opposite to the buffets, and very delicious small desserts from the patisserie. The spoons and forks at the buffet had greasy handles sometimes, and food was partially the same for lunch and dinner or dessert and 'La Merenda' on some days. Not so bad, since it tasted always very good. I had the 'Pranzo & Cena' beverage package, since only different beverages for breakfast and tea time were included in the cruise fare. Usually, only one side of the restaurant with each 2 different buffets was used in the evenings, thus there was always more free seating on the other side of the restaurant. At rush times, the restaurant was full, and it was hard for me to find free seating. 'Costa Crociere' offers some very few beverage 'Vending Machines' in the 'Ristorante Andromeda'. The guest can insert the 'Carta Costa' and choose between 6 different refreshment drinks. The given price on the monitor will then either be added to the board account, or was already paid with a beverage package. I tasted cool water instead of the expected lemonade, and was also astonished about the amount that came out of the machine, it filled the plastic cup only half, an estimated of 150ml. The guest can also get beverages at the end of every buffet line in the 'Ristorante Andromeda' at lunch and dinner, manually served by always very friendly staff, a full plastic cup with 250ml to 300ml out of cans or bottles. The 'Carta Costa' must be shown or handed over to the staff for paying therefore, any purchased beverage package is noted with its code on the card. Tap water is free, available from dispensers in the 'Ristorante Andromeda'. The 'Samsara Spa' crew was always very busy with promoting their offers, paper ads were delivered to the stateroom and handed out to guests near the gangway when returning from excursions. Hand disinfection was available at every buffet, but was not taken very seriously by most guests on this cruise. The entertainment program offered something for everyone, every day, with live music sometimes. Entertainment was as multilingual as the entire cruise, a charming Babylonian language jumble. I had purchased the Internet M package with a bandwidth for the entire cruise, and the internet speed was good on board. Excursions; I only booked a transfer from Katakolon to Olympia, the fare was ok, the bus on time, the journey times shorter than announced, but the stay of only 2 hours was too short for an interested visitor like me. Generally, short stays of the ship in the harbors with only one single full day stay at Mykonos. As on most ships, orientation support lacked on 'Costa Luminosa' as well. No port and starboard signs, and no stateroom direction signs in the staircase halls. I learnt after dinner on the last evening of the cruise about the departure procedure for the next morning, about only 3 hours before I had to put my baggage in front of the stateroom door at midnight. Staff at the 'Hospitality Service Desk' was very friendly and gave me an earlier disembarkation slot, since my assigned time was way too late for catching my flight. Disembarkation then proceeded very quickly the next morning. On-board accounting was correct. Thank you 'Costa Crociere' for a wonderful cruise with so good food, charming multilingualism and your warm Italian hospitality on bella 'Costa Luminosa'! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Overall a very good cruise with tending to excellence for me as a single passenger. Boarding was a bit delayed, because of some officials for boarder control hadn’t been in time, but however I was onboard within 35 minutes from official ... Read More
Overall a very good cruise with tending to excellence for me as a single passenger. Boarding was a bit delayed, because of some officials for boarder control hadn’t been in time, but however I was onboard within 35 minutes from official start of boarding. Costa succeeded to get me onboard within 20 min on an earlier cruise elsewhere, but for me the second fast boarding ever anyway. As I didn’t stay in my cabin I don’t know exactly when my luggage arrived, but for sure not more than two hours after my boarding. The ship is a huge one with a capacity of about 3800 passengers. But although the MDR was pretty full most evenings I hadn’t the impression of an overcrowded ship. There are way enough facilities to find a spot for everybody, only that passengers are reserving “their” deckchairs before breakfast with their towels is ongoing, although Costa forbids it expressively. General the service is great, especially in restaurants and bars. How can it be that some people in bars, serving hundreds or thousands guests a day, remember already the second day your name and the drink you had the day before? By the way: be sure that you have a drinking package that suits your needs, otherwise you’ll pay a fortune instead of a moderate price for a package. I got the first seating for dinner, but my request to change to the late seating was honoured the next day. The meals were in most cases delicious Italian kitchen, completed by some local courses. Nearly everything was done between very well prepared and just perfect - just two courses disappointed me personally - on a cruise of three weeks. Generally Costa could do something with the cheese offered with dinner. The cheese itself varied daily and I enjoyed it, but it was every evening “cheese with dried fruit” and dried fruit were three weeks just raisins. Overall I really enjoyed the meals offered and at home I know more restaurants I dislike than those I’d recommend to you. The excursions I did with Costa were as mostly in the industry: well-prepared, all as promised, but without the special touch. I only use ship excursions if there is no alternative locally - with local providers or on my own. As usual ship excursions were much more expensive than locals were. The opportunity to arrange things on my own wasn’t available in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Tenerife and for single passengers in Barbados. Absolute the best excursion during this cruise I did with an independent operator on Martinique, who is for me personally on a very good second place of all tour guides ever (Christelle from Karambole tours). Indeed Costa cancels tours if there aren’t enough participants, it happened to me twice. Once without any acceptable alternative for me, the second time I was able just to change the language and I got my excursion. The only very cheap offer I booked with Costa was an excursion from Marseille to Avignon on my disembarkation day. Costa generally offers excursions on disembarkation days (sometimes with flight time limits e.g.). My online booking has been accepted and I was happy to fill the gap between arrival in Marseille and my hotel check-in. I went to hospitality service to ask about my luggage tags and they wanted to know the exact excursion times for giving me new tags and as I didn’t know they sent me to the excursion desk. There I met the only arrogant staff member aboard who first did a phone call in Italian language (which I don’t understand), cancelled my ticket and thereafter (!) told me that it is forbidden (!) for me (!!!) to book that excursion. I returned to the excursion desk, wrote down her name and reported her to Costa as such a behaviour can ruin the name of an entire cruise line. I can handle a mistake if a booking is accepted and it turns out to be impossible by some reasons, but arrogance of service staff I just don’t tolerate. Because of her behaviour excursions got the lowest rating of all I gave for this cruise. But for the rest I recognise that she is just one member of a crew of 1500 and not representing all of the Costa Favolosa staff. Entertainment is various, I think everybody can find something suitable. The problem of the many languages spoken onboard is solved by concentrating on music and artistic entertainment. Readings on one topic are done in one lounge a couple times a day, but in always in different languages. Great if you are fit in languages, when I missed something I had the opportunity to listen later in another language. The staff is able to communicate in English and at least one other language - although an Italian vessel the many nationalities of the staff is usually talking to each other generally in English. For every language there is one hostess you can visit daily at scheduled times or during information events. The Favolosa is a six-year-old ship without any notable tear and wear, undergoing works permanently I noticed, but didn’t mean any hinder to me. Thousands of people course a lot of dirt, but when there was anything visible at all it was cleaned up in no time, the house keeping was really very alert, some cleaning was going on all the time. I found one small technical problem in my cabin (from my own job I know these things just happen), called the reception and left my cabin. It was solved within half an hour. I noticed it myself when returning to my cabin, but also had a notice in my letterbox and was contacted by phone with another time excuses for the inconvenience. My cruise was at the very end of the winter season and a large part of the staff was going home one day after I left the Favolosa. But except the one exception mentioned before everybody was extremely friendly, helpful and service orientated, greeting with a smile and nobody seemed to be overworked after months of just working. Overall: I really enjoyed and I’d do it again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Overall a very good cruise with tending to excellence for me as a single passenger. Boarding was a bit delayed, because of some officials for boarder control hadn’t been in time, but however I was onboard within 35 minutes from official ... Read More
Overall a very good cruise with tending to excellence for me as a single passenger. Boarding was a bit delayed, because of some officials for boarder control hadn’t been in time, but however I was onboard within 35 minutes from official start of boarding. Costa succeeded to get me onboard within 20 min on an earlier cruise elsewhere, but for me the second fast boarding ever anyway. As I didn’t stay in my cabin I don’t know exactly when my luggage arrived, but for sure not more than two hours after my boarding. The ship is a huge one with a capacity of about 3800 passengers. But although the MDR was pretty full most evenings I hadn’t the impression of an overcrowded ship. There are way enough facilities to find a spot for everybody, only that passengers are reserving “their” deckchairs before breakfast with their towels is ongoing, although Costa forbids it expressively. General the service is great, especially in restaurants and bars. How can it be that some people in bars, serving hundreds or thousands guests a day, remember already the second day your name and the drink you had the day before? By the way: be sure that you have a drinking package that suits your needs, otherwise you’ll pay a fortune instead of a moderate price for a package. I got the first seating for dinner, but my request to change to the late seating was honoured the next day. The meals were in most cases delicious Italian kitchen, completed by some local courses. Nearly everything was done between very well prepared and just perfect - just two courses disappointed me personally - on a cruise of three weeks. Generally Costa could do something with the cheese offered with dinner. The cheese itself varied daily and I enjoyed it, but it was every evening “cheese with dried fruit” and dried fruit were three weeks just raisins. Overall I really enjoyed the meals offered and at home I know more restaurants I dislike than those I’d recommend to you. The excursions I did with Costa were as mostly in the industry: well-prepared, all as promised, but without the special touch. I only use ship excursions if there is no alternative locally - with local providers or on my own. As usual ship excursions were much more expensive than locals were. The opportunity to arrange things on my own wasn’t available in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Tenerife and for single passengers in Barbados. Absolute the best excursion during this cruise I did with an independent operator on Martinique, who is for me personally on a very good second place of all tour guides ever (Christelle from Karambole tours). Indeed Costa cancels tours if there aren’t enough participants, it happened to me twice. Once without any acceptable alternative for me, the second time I was able just to change the language and I got my excursion. The only very cheap offer I booked with Costa was an excursion from Marseille to Avignon on my disembarkation day. Costa generally offers excursions on disembarkation days (sometimes with flight time limits e.g.). My online booking has been accepted and I was happy to fill the gap between arrival in Marseille and my hotel check-in. I went to hospitality service to ask about my luggage tags and they wanted to know the exact excursion times for giving me new tags and as I didn’t know they sent me to the excursion desk. There I met the only arrogant staff member aboard who first did a phone call in Italian language (which I don’t understand), cancelled my ticket and thereafter (!) told me that it is forbidden (!) for me (!!!) to book that excursion. I returned to the excursion desk, wrote down her name and reported her to Costa as such a behaviour can ruin the name of an entire cruise line. I can handle a mistake if a booking is accepted and it turns out to be impossible by some reasons, but arrogance of service staff I just don’t tolerate. Because of her behaviour excursions got the lowest rating of all I gave for this cruise. But for the rest I recognise that she is just one member of a crew of 1500 and not representing all of the Costa Favolosa staff. Entertainment is various, I think everybody can find something suitable. The problem of the many languages spoken onboard is solved by concentrating on music and artistic entertainment. Readings on one topic are done in one lounge a couple times a day, but in always in different languages. Great if you are fit in languages, when I missed something I had the opportunity to listen later in another language. The staff is able to communicate in English and at least one other language - although an Italian vessel the many nationalities of the staff is usually talking to each other generally in English. For every language there is one hostess you can visit daily at scheduled times or during information events. The Favolosa is a six-year-old ship without any notable tear and wear, undergoing works permanently I noticed, but didn’t mean any hinder to me. Thousands of people course a lot of dirt, but when there was anything visible at all it was cleaned up in no time, the house keeping was really very alert, some cleaning was going on all the time. I found one small technical problem in my cabin (from my own job I know these things just happen), called the reception and left my cabin. It was solved within half an hour. I noticed it myself when returning to my cabin, but also had a notice in my letterbox and was contacted by phone with another time excuses for the inconvenience. My cruise was at the very end of the winter season and a large part of the staff was going home one day after I left the Favolosa. But except the one exception mentioned before everybody was extremely friendly, helpful and service orientated, greeting with a smile and nobody seemed to be overworked after months of just working. Overall: I really enjoyed and I’d do it again! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was my first ever Costa cruise so I had no idea what to expect. The check-in went smoothly on my arrival in Barcelona with my bags taken, given a boarding card and told to await for boarding on the first floor at my allotted time. ... Read More
This was my first ever Costa cruise so I had no idea what to expect. The check-in went smoothly on my arrival in Barcelona with my bags taken, given a boarding card and told to await for boarding on the first floor at my allotted time. I was two hours early and sat in the cafe (nice) and had some lunch. I started to join the queue for boarding and found that I was meant to have checked in (again) at the desk on the first floor and have my health declaration checked. Why do a check in twice? There were lots of people behind me and the same thing happened to them and we had to leave one queue and join another and return to the original queue. Chaos! The Diadema is a beautiful ship and looks amazing as you walk around. I was aboard for a week and think there were areas I still haven't seen. She is massive! The food really lets the ship down. The buffet at lunchtime and evening on the 10th deck is horrible with inedible food, dirty tables and not enough staff. If you have a restaurant on your card (I was Coruna Blu) then have your evening meal there. It was open dining so I could go there at any time. Best time is immediately after 7pm as many of the other passengers seem to opt for eating later in the evening. I never found more than 5 people waiting in front of me to get entrance in to the restaurant. The food was usually cold when delivered to the table but there was no point complaining as the staff were so rushed off their feet. I spent an extra 10 Euros on a beef steak on my final night and it was superb. Breakfast in the Fiorentina restaurant was nice if you just want an alternative to the buffet, but don't expect the hot food to be hot. They have an English breakfast but it was cold every morning. I had breakfast delivered to my cabin on 3 mornings and it was fine. You pay 5 Euros for the privilege but better than sitting in the dining rooms in the midst of breakfast chaos. The highlight of my trip was a meal in the Teppanyaki restaurant where the staff, food and overall atmosphere was exceptional. It was wonderful and I should have booked it every night! If you make the reservation on the Costa website, it doesn't automatically make it with the ship as I found out to my cost. I turned up to find that there was no reservation in my name. Fortunately, I got a table. The internet is expensive but very reliable. It worked out at about 120 Euros for heavy usage for 7 days. I did several excursions and they were all very good. The trip to Rome was horrible as the seats on the coach were that close together, I couldn't even sit properly in the seat. I am only 6'1" and it shouldn't be that bad. We had a 90 minute journey and it was horrible. I wasn't the only passenger to feel the issue with the seats but there was nothing that could be done to sort out the problem. It is definitely worthwhile getting the drink package from the outset as it will save you a fortune if you have a couple of glasses of wine, unlimited soft drinks/coffee/tea and the odd cocktail at night. Always a good buy is the laundry service which was on offer at 20 Euros for 24 items. It was done overnight and appeared the following day beautifully cleaned and pressed. Check you final invoice as mine had several mistakes. They were fixed by the hospitality team without any problems. I thought the entertainment was very good. The bands playing in the bar was exceptional and the couple doing acrobatics were fantastic. A great atmosphere in all the bars and very attentively looked after by bar staff. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
it suited the destinations to Santorini BARI, mykonos , dubrovnick curfu..i really enjoyed the entertainment, the dancing troupe from HUNGARY were fantastic, the pool dancing and entertainment was great. daily buffet was only 7/10 as it ... Read More
it suited the destinations to Santorini BARI, mykonos , dubrovnick curfu..i really enjoyed the entertainment, the dancing troupe from HUNGARY were fantastic, the pool dancing and entertainment was great. daily buffet was only 7/10 as it was difficult to find to sit. i preferred the food on the Norwegian epic as there was more choice.the cabin was great . but you have to pay for the shuttle where free on my last cruise. this cuise is mostly ITALIAN people who are lovely but i cant speak italian and i will say it is not for those who travel solo. i was lucky to find an English couple to chat to but is is not geared up for singles i love the music on board and the dancing. boarding the ship at the beginning of the trip was chaotic and slow. it would have been nice to have water ,tea or coffee while you wait for nearly 1 hour for your number to be called. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Just back from my first Costa (have done Cunard, Princess, HAL, RCCL, Carnival before). Deliziosa is a new ship and a such was in excellent condition. Embarcation at Copenhagen was painfully slow. They had only 2 desks, manned by ... Read More
Just back from my first Costa (have done Cunard, Princess, HAL, RCCL, Carnival before). Deliziosa is a new ship and a such was in excellent condition. Embarcation at Copenhagen was painfully slow. They had only 2 desks, manned by ship's dancers who only had to check name on embarcation form you carried with your passport. No computer terminal or even a printed list to tick names. Still took them for ever. I stood in a queue for 1 hr 25 mins. An elderly lady behind me fainted, and I'd be surprised if she was the only one that day. Costa Card (combined room key/on board charge card) was in the cabin. Plenty of storage space in cabin, cabin steward excellent with high standards and desire to help when needed, cabin tv channels not good unless you speak Italian, French, German, Spanish. Only English-speaking channel was BBC World. Whole ship was very clean, most staff speak reasonable English, announcements were made in 5 languages but I got used to that and would just switch my ears off after hearing the first one I understood. Evening shows were ok - the multi-lingual ventriloquist (sounds painful) was a scream and I literally cried laughing. Excursions expensive but I do my own thing anyway - you can find everything there is to know and see about your destinations on line and don't have to spend a fortune on ship's tours. Food - well, compared to other lines it was disappointing. Buffet at lunchtime was ok, but nice to have waiter service in main restaurant at lunchtime if you're not ashore. It's open dining then so you can go when you want between 12 - 1.30 and don't have to sit at your assigned dinner table. Evening buffet not good, unless you like pizza. All they have is pizza, one pasta dish, one fish that to me screamed 'school dinners fish' and when I was there, the meat option was luncheon meat. Restaurant dinner menu disappointing but you can always get salmon or steak if you don't like that evening's menu. Hazlenut ice cream - now that really was Deliziosa. Room Service continental breakfast was ok and no extra charge. If you want RS any other time there's a 2 Euro charge. They don't do room service for lunch or dinner - I guess they're busy in the restaurant. Drinks very expensive. Even the Cocktail of the Day was 5 Euros which gets to almost 6 by the time they add the service charge and I don't think £5 for the day's cheap cocktail is particularly cheap. I'd gone on a last minute super-cheapie and had no budget for many extras, so stuck to normal water at dinner and didn't suffer from it. You can always get tea (lots of choice of fruit, herbal, normal, etc)or coffee in the lido buffet up to 11pm. Several bars to relax in, but none for peaceful relaxation as they all have some sort of live music in the evening. Casino - only takes your Costa Card, not cash, inc. the slots, so restraint needed there. Can get a bit smokey. There are smoking areas in the bars and one side of the pools. Less than half those dining had dressed to the "Gala" dress code on both those nights, so if you don't want to take fancy clothes you won't feel out of place. Internet's expensive but before I went I'd googled free wifi and found plenty of places I could use their computers (usually public libraries) or my netbook wifi for free. Some places you could get on line just off the ship - watch for where the crew go - when you see lots of Filipinos at their laptops, chances are there's free wifi. Would I go Costa again? If I got a good deal like this one (under £350 for balcony cabin for sole occupancy for a week including flights), Yes. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
If you like Europe and can adapt to a European style of cruising then book a trip on the Costa Serena. This was my first cruise so I can only offer a review of how my trip went. I have no base to say if it is a good cruise ship or not, ... Read More
If you like Europe and can adapt to a European style of cruising then book a trip on the Costa Serena. This was my first cruise so I can only offer a review of how my trip went. I have no base to say if it is a good cruise ship or not, only how I see it. So here is a play by play of the trip, the ship and my thoughts. I stayed in room 7336 on a seven day cruise of the eastern Mediterranean. I am a 30 yom from California and have been to Europe numerous times. This was my first European cruise. Embarkation was an easy process. I caught the free shuttle from the bus stop in Venice. 15 minutes later I was checking my bag at the port and given an embarkation number. It was about a 1.5 hour wait to be called. If you plan on drinking alcohol listen up. There is a duty free shop on site. You can by one liter of hard alcohol and unlimited wine per person. Once you clear security they give you your booze before you get on the ship. After Venice you are not allowed to bring any liquids on board. Costa offers an unlimited beer and wine package, but it is only good during lunch and dinner service. They offer countless other packages but read the fine print before purchase My cabin was great and the steward was on the ball. Filled the ice and cleared the room twice a day. There is a 4 euro/person/day tip charged automatically Room service also will cost you 2 euro/delivery, so order a lot to make it worth it. The entertainment was good, considering the multi nation passengers. There were 3000 on my cruise with 400 english speakers. Announcements are given in five languages. If it does not concern you then you won't hear it in english. Don't travel Costa in the summer. Kids under 12 travel free. You can expect 500 to 700 kids on board running wild according to our english speaking cruise host. Apparently parent supervision is absent and kids are everywhere doing as they please. Breakfast was simple European/American blend. Same food is served in the buffet as in the table service restaurant. Same thing goes for lunch. I do recommend the restaurant seating because you will meet other english speakers. Dinner was mediocre at best, consisting of fancy presentation with frozen pre-prepared items. Very bland and often over cooked. I had one great dinner at the last gala night. Two of the nights I had a late lunch buffet and then got a pizza at night. Not the traditional American cruise cuisine. No steak, lobster, shrimp cocktail or fancy lavish buffets. Dinner was a big disappointment. No need to dress up. Slacks and a nice shirt will do. Bring a tie for the gala nights. Here is my run down on the ports of call. Bari: Don't buy an excursion. It's and easy walk to town and tours are offered off the boat at a cheaper rate by locals. I just walked around on my own and saw the old city in about two hours Olympia: Don't buy an excursion. Get off the boat and hire a cab to take you to the ruins. Once there look around for and English tour and just join in. I went to the end of the cab line and got a ride for 60 euro with and hour wait time. Not enough time to see everything. Try and catch a one way so you can stay for at least two hours or more. Then walk into town and catch a cab back. Izmir: Take the excursion to Ephesus. Well worth the money Istanbul: Take a cab to the palace in the morning and buy a self guided tour. Then return to the ship for lunch. Purchase the half day excursion from 1 to 5pm. However all the main sights are close so you can just spend the day on your own if you want to. I liked having a guided tour of the other big sights. Plus, if your tour is late getting back they will hold the ship for you. If you are out on your own they will leave you behind Dubrovnik: Don't buy and excursion. Take the shuttle to the city and just jump on an english tour or walk around on your own. The ship itself is very large but easy to get around. The amenities on board are simple. No big wow factor. The staff is always available to help you and was very nice. I did not find smoking to be an issue. The hot tubs were warm not hot and the pools were cold. The gym was great but I did not use the spa. There are two reservation only restaurants but I did not eat at either one. Try and get your room on the left side (even room number) of the boat. You get the best views of the ports. Be sure to watch to the two informational presentations offered in the beginning and end of the cruise. When you disembark, wait for your color. I left early and ended up standing around for two hours waiting for my luggage. I should have just stayed on the boat. Overall it was a very nice cruise. My only true complaint was the bad dinners. Everything else was fine. Just understand this is not a Carnival cruise ship, its Italian style cruising. If you can adjust to a European mindset then you'll have a good time. Read Less
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