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Old December 8th, 2007, 12:06 PM
J&L J&L is offline
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We just returned from the Serena's West Med/Canary Island 11 nightmare cruise and conclude that Costa is not interested in a long-term relationship. Although the ship was beautiful and new and the itinerary was good, it was an absolutely abominable cruise - by far the worst of the 13 I've been on and our entire table of eight Americans (well over 100 cruises total) agreed on one thing -we'll never go on Costa again. Embarkation was dreadful - upon arriving at the ship, crowds of guests were in large tents with no seating available and Costa told us to get a shuttle bus to town and shop or go to a restaurant for lunch and return in two hours for our number to be called. After boarding they confiscated all non-European Union (including all American) passports and gave us a receipt and these were not returned until the morning of the last day as we left the ship. I’m not even sure if that is legal! Also, after boarding you have to wait in another line to register your credit card with your sign and sail card as this is not done yet. Food in the self service restaurant – it was cold to barely warm, dripping of grease and oil, at times touched by other passengers' hands and the same at all food stations. Breakfast was identical everyday- bacon/ham/corn beef hash floating in oil, cold scrambled eggs and no omelet station to have it your way. Juice had lots of added sugar and the coffee was the worst I’ve ever tasted. This cruise is not for English speakers - no English programs on TV and the English language announcements and programs were not always clear and at times inaccurate. For example, our table missed one show because the time put in the announcement was an hour later than the show start time. One person complained and was told the staff already knew about the error but consciously did not make an attempt to notify the English speaking guests. This seemed typical. If you aren't Italian, you are left out and they don't seem to care. Ship had so many smokers that secondary smoke seemed to be present everywhere - my wife's eyes were irritated the entire cruise. Children are free so there were lots and they ran all over with little supervision. Dining room entrees were frozen and heated on site per the menu notes. Quality of dining room food was acceptable but serving sizes were small. Dining staff got our table's orders wrong every night in one way or the other. For example, one night I ordered fish and got beef; two others ordered duck and got pork, etc. This was a nightly occurrence. Forget that great chef- he doesn't exist on Costa. No Eggs Benedict, lobster, escargot, Beef Wellington or Steamship Round. Rooms were good and roomy enough and stewards did a great job but no chocolate on pillow and no towel animals - just basics. Itinerary - Casablanca was dirty and polluted but if you go, for safety's sake take a tour, Canary Islands were only "OK" - just some volcanic islands, pretty but nothing spectacular. Best stops were Barcelona and Malaga but only had a few hours in Malaga. Overall, despite the above, my wife and I enjoyed ourselves as we meet some wonderful people from the USA, Ireland and other places. We kept our table because the Americans at it enjoyed each others’ company so much. Nightly, we let the mix-ups role off our backs and joked about them. But there are many choices out there. If Costa gave us a cruise, we would turn it down - life is too short and there are better things to do!
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