Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Costa Cruises
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeSmall

Introduced in 2007 as a Concordia-class ship, Costa Serena features contemporary design mixed with décor elements meant to evoke the characteristics of Classical Greek and Roman mythology. Costa Serena voyages are concentrated in the Western Mediterranean.Read More

The largest ships built for an Italian cruise line are larger versions of identical sister ships Costa Magica and Costa Fortuna, which were derived from parent Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Triumph and Carnival Conquest. But Costa has pulled out all the stops with these vessels.

The Samsara Spas are far from ho-hum, both in facilities and amenities. Some of the largest at sea, they span 20,500 square feet. Luxurious, Samsara staterooms and suites are located adjacent to and one deck below the spa itself. A health-conscious Samsara Restaurant is reserved for their dining pleasure on deck 3. Other cool features are not one, but two swimming pools with retractable roofs, a huge outdoor movie screen, and a Grand Prix racing simulator—just like the ones Formula One race car drivers use for training.

Europe’s number-one cruise line combines a Continental experience, enticing itineraries, and Italy’s classical design and style with relaxing days and romantic nights at sea. Genoa-based Costa Crociere, parent company of Costa Cruise Lines, had been in the shipping business for more than 100 years and in the passenger business for almost 50 years when it was bought by Airtours and Carnival Corporation in 1997. In 2000 Carnival completed a buyout of the Costa line and began expanding the fleet with larger and more dynamic ships.

An ongoing shipbuilding program has brought Costa ships into the 21st century with innovative large-ship designs that reflect their Italian heritage and style without overlooking the amenities expected by modern cruisers. Acknowledging changing habits (even among Europeans), Costa Cruises has eliminated smoking entirely in dining rooms and show lounges. However, smokers are permitted to light up in designated areas in other public rooms, as well as on the pool deck.

  • 13 passenger decks
  • Specialty restaurant
  • 3 dining rooms
  • buffet
  • pizzeria
  • Wi-Fi
  • safe
  • refrigerator
  • 3 pools (2 indoor)
  • children’s pool
  • Fitness classes
  • gym
  • hot tubs
  • sauna
  • spa
  • steam room
  • 13 bars
  • casino
  • 2 dance clubs
  • library
  • show room
  • video game room
  • Children’s programs
  • Laundry service
  • Internet terminal

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Channel your inner speed demon and drive like a pro in a Formula One race-car simulator
PlayStation World for kids is equipped exclusively with PlayStation 3 machines
Samsara Spa accommodations have convenient direct access to the spa
At maximum capacity these ships feel crowded
Midnight buffets are sumptuous but are scheduled shortly after late seating end
Announcements are frequent and made in several languages

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Cabins
Bathrooms
Accessibility

Accommodations generally follow the outline of recently introduced fleet mates. More than 60% of outside staterooms have a balcony with chairs and a table. Every cabin has adequate closet and drawer/shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves; suites have generous walk-in closets and come with the services of a butler. Connecting staterooms are somewhat scarce, but can be found in ocean-view categories. Light-wood cabinetry, soft pastel decor, mirrored accents, Murano-glass lighting fixtures, and a small seating area are typical in all categories; all accommodations have a small refrigerator, personal safe, and hair dryer. Some outside cabins have only a lower twin bed and a sofa bed. There are 99 of the popular Samsara Spa accommodations on each ship in the class. Passengers who reserve Samsara suites and staterooms adjacent to the spa facility have direct access to the spa and exclusive access to Samsara Restaurant.

Bathroom extras include shampoo and bath gel in shower-mounted dispensers. Additionally, suites feature a whirlpool tub and double sinks.

Twenty-seven staterooms are designed for accessibility.

Food & Drink

Food

Two restaurants serve open seating breakfast and lunch; dinner is in two assigned seatings. An upscale alternative, reservations-only restaurant carries à la carte charges—a perk for suite passengers is a complimentary dinner for two there. Reserved for passengers in Samsara Spa accommodations, the Samsara Restaurant serves light fare at lunch and dinner. It is open to all other passengers on a very limited space available basis by reservation and with a surcharge. The Lido buffet, pizzeria, and 24-hour room service are alternatives. Costa ships retain the tradition of lavish nightly midnight buffets.

Entertainment

Performances by the resident production singers and dancers as well as guest entertainers are scheduled most nights in the main theater. Secondary show lounges feature singers and musicians and are the venues for Costa’s signature parties, during which the entertainment staff encourages passengers to participate. There is a quieter and intimate piano bar as well as other lounges with music for dancing and listening as well as a disco.

Spa & Fitness

The Asian-inspired Samsara Spa includes a thermal suite with heated loungers, two steam rooms, and a hydrotherapy pool—available at no charge for occupants of Samsara accommodations and for a fee to all other passengers. A complete menu of treatments includes facials, body wraps, and massages. Special treatment options for men and couples are featured. Steam rooms and saunas are complimentary in men’s and women’s changing rooms.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2007
Number of Cabins
1,500
Passenger Capacity
3,000
Crew Members
1,100
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.73
Gross Tons
114500
Width
116 feet
Length
951 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
954/266–5600 or 800/462–6782

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