It was mainly the food the problem, they were limiting a lot the schedule for eating and many things like the icecream machines didn't work and then we have to make a súper long line to Get some icecream and besides they closed the bufet restaurant very often and then they only had food for sale, even the water was súper restricted and I think like this mostrar of the charm Of cruising was lost, besides the time for visiting places was so badly distributed as for example more than 15 hours in Palma de Mallorca, we left the port until 1AM and next day in Barcelona we only had 5 hours with debarkation and everything and it has much moré to see than Palma it causes a lot Of stress to try to Reach the ship and we did everything in half. In comparison to other cruises I've done I didn't feel the sensation to be pampered.
Food was just O.K. very small portions for dinner so it forced you to order more courses and made the staff work much harder. No buffet for dinner as other lines. Inconsistant wake up times. One day we didnt recieve one. One day we got one on time. Next day we got one a half hour early. Staff was unclear on common questions. Had a shuttle from the airport but not one returning. Airport an hour away had to get a taxi (100 Euros). Only one English speaking TV station (BBC) in room. All excursions were cancelled for lack of English speaking people.
I booked this cruise for Nov 2012 since I was traveling by myself and wanted a single cabin without paying double. The markup for the single cabin was only 20%. For that I got an inside cabin on front of the lower deck -- which was fine except for the noise/vibration from the side thrusters when the ship docked (not an issue if you're an early riser). Having traveled on most of the cruiselines I've realized that they all follow the same formula. No different here except that the majority of passengers were italian/spanish/french with a few germans/russians/asians/english. Almost no americans on the ship (which is ok by me). All communications were in italian/spanish/french/german/english and targeted towards your chosen language. NO language issues at all. I picked this cruise based in the itinerary and pricing and would do it again if the pricing were attractive. Would probably choose a different cruiseline if pricing/itinerary were the same. But no regrets. Italians has no sense of order or personal space and are always getting in your way, but you learn to deal with that soon enough. Just be a little pushy and get in their way and you'll be fine. They talk a lot but are mostly soft-spoken, not loud like we americans. The drinks package for 19.50 euro/day is great! Possibly a deciding factor on future Costa cruises.
There is smoking allowed in pretty much every public area of the ship (bleh!). I am still recovering from the after effects of a respiratory infections as a result. We tried to go on deck as much as possible but there was always someone smoking near us. The ports themselves are pretty decent - I don't recommend any excursions as you will be rushed through everything, you won't be able to get out and take pictures of everything. You can easily wait till you port and there will be people trying to give you flyers of the same thing the boat is doing for a fraction of the cost.
Overall, the ship's decor was outdated. The staff was rude and unwilling to help in many cases, let alone going above and beyond the call of good customer service. The food was substandard. I have never been in jail or prison, but I would assume that the food on the ship would be comparable to prison food. For the most part, I ate bread and butter on the ship. We were celebrating a birthday and the staff had to be reminded several times. When they finally did bring the cake, (for which they wanted to charge an extra 11 Euros), they brought it to the other family dining with us and sang happy birthday to them. The entertainment was also substandard and not much to choose from.
17 Cruises , 2 on Costa.
Considering the price this is by far the best italian cruise company.
Good meals, clean enviroment, well thought out itinerary
Water , coffee and tea available all day
Full ship but still enough room for romantic moments and quiet times
As an American, I expect a certain level of customer service. Costa Cruise lines did not meet my expectations at all. For example, we were sold a room directly below the kitchen. It was so loud that there was no chance of us sleeping. We complained at least 2-3 times/ night (I even cried I was so upset about my trip being ruined by lack of sleep). We were put off for 5 days being told that the manager would be leaving a note at our room to let us know what they could do for us. They never left any note and had no intention of doing so. It was just a way to get rid of us for the moment. Day 5 of the cruise we finally sat down with the boat manager who told us that there was nothing that he could do. When asked if they would compensate us in any way, he said that that is not their policy. Apparently, the customer is always right has not made it into their culture yet. It was the worst vacation of my life. And, we could barely walk through the ship because of all of the cigarette smoke. My advice--stick with an American cruise line.
Service wasn't necessarily bad, just failed to be excellent in some important cases. Guest services was at times unresponsive and always over-crowded, and there were fairly consistent language barriers when trying to resolve issues such as room maintenance needs and onboard accounts. Some staff --bussing service in buffets as well as onboard photographers-- were too aggressive at times. Room maintenance staff disregarded our "do not disturb" sign repeatedly and at one time walked into the room while I was not fully dressed and calling out "no". Food was not as available as we've seen on other ships-- after 10 PM there was nothing available other than a few kinds of pizza; open breakfast closed too early; ice cream machines were not run very often, etc. Time allowed at some ports of call was much too short; cruise itinerary attempted too many sites and therefore limited time at each. Excursion options were limited, and for those accustomed to active excursions, --hiking, kayaking, etc.--unfulfilling.
This was the rudest group of people I have ever seen!!!! Everybody pushing, getting in your personal space, stepping on your feet constantly. This ship is not prepared for this many people, especially rude people!!! During buffets, they acted like vultures who had NEVER had a meal before. The dinner staff never introduced themselves or asked how our day was and the service was extremely slow-not just Italian laid-back. Embarkment was so uncooordinated taking hours to get on the ship.
The ship was very decorative. The staff was helpful when we had a problem. However, because it was an Italian ship, the language was geared to them and even though English was spoken, there were many misunderstandings because of language. The "before trip" information was totally lacking. Many problems would have been avoided if we had more pre-sailing info. Costa was not quick to answer questions because we did not book directly through them.
This was our family's first cruise and we enjoyed the experience. We didn't take the ship excursions, simply went off on our own and toured or hired a guide. Enjoyed the stops, especially Turkey and Croatia. Food was fine, ship was great, embarkation slightly confusing for first-timers. Found additional fees added up - be sure to budget cold drinks, better coffees and bottled waters into your trip.
We were the 16th cruise on the new Costa Serena. The ship is superb, and the crew gives real meaning to the words "customer service." They were terrific. This is a big ship, holdiing over 3500 passengers, but the design makes it seem more intimate. The decor is something you either like or dislke depending on your personal taste, so I won't comment on that. With that many people on board you would think that it would seem crowded, but once again the design allows everyone the space they need without feeling cramped. We found the food excellent both in quality, quantity and availability. You won't be hungry on the Serena. If it is available we suggest you purchase the X-1 beverage package which was well worth it for us. Ask about it when you're making your reservations. Make sure you're outside on the highest deck for the sail-away from Venice. It's something you'll never forget. And its fun to watch the captain dock the ship in Bari. There are people who can't park their cars that well. Enjoy this great experience.
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