Probably the best vacation of my life was last year’s cruise my family and I took with Costa. We booked in May 2014 to secure good rooms with great locations as well. We requested a balcony, and for our particular room the option of having two kids with us. The recommendation was through Nakhal whom we booked everything with through email. The service was great and they answered our every inquiry. Last year the trip we wanted was on this particular ship but it changes every time and there are many destinations to choose from. I will try to let you in on our experience.
The route we chose was 7 nights and as follows: We board in Rome, then go to Napoli, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Marseille, Savona, & then back to Rome. We flew from Beirut to Rome at first and were guided by Nakhal the whole time, everything was on time. When we went on the ship, the cruise crew took our passports that we acquired with the help of U.K.ABROAD and replaced them with cards. Each person got a card that has all the info on it and can be used to leave the ship and go around in every country we land in. Also the bills etc.. were indicated on it.
The rooms were nice, spacious enough for a ship room. The photo above is the room we had. it has an extra bed and a bunk bed on top to accommodate the 2 kids. The balcony was lovely. I would highly recommend the balcony to not feel cramped, especially if you are more than 2 people.
The fees included full board meals, during lunch and dinner, however, drinks are not included. Anything you order will be added to your card and billed later. Below I will put a description of the Ship, which isn’t one of the very new ones. I am sure the newer ones are even more grand and nicer. Every evening, you would find the schedule for the next day with tips and information on events, shows, etc..
Costa Serena is the ship of the gods, made fascinating by the original elegance of its environments inspired by mythology and ancient Rome. Wellness, sport, entertainment and culture: a thousand different experiences on a unique holiday await you on board. Costa Serena is a true floating temple of entertainment.1.500 cabins in total, including:87 with direct access to the spa, 505 with private balcony, 58 suites, all with private balcony,12 suites with direct access to the spa.
Samsara Spa: 6,000 m2 on twolevels, with gym, baths,thalassotherapy pool, treatmentrooms, sauna, Turkish bath, UVA-raysolarium, Cabins and Suites
5 restaurants, including the ClubRestaurant and the SamsaraRestaurant at an additional charge*and by reservation only
13 bars, including a Cognac & CigarBar and a Coffee & Chocolate Bar
- 5 Jacuzzis
- 4 pools, two with retractable covers
- Multipurpose sports pitch
- Outdoor jogging track
- Theatre on three levels
- Grand Prix Simulator with single-seater racing car
- Pool deck with retractable glass roof and giant screen
- Water slide
- Internet Point
- Shopping Center
- Virtual World, Squok Club with children’s pool
At the theater there is a show every night, and all are different. The kids and adults alike enjoy them, they are usually before or after dinner depending on your selected dinner schedule. We selected from booking time that we wanted our dinner at 9pm instead of 7:30. We had the same table reserved for us at that time throughout the journey. The food was amazing, and there was always entertainment. Every day there would be a different theme. You could choose to be part of it, such as wearing white, or Italian Colors, or dressing up for Gala night. Everyday the theme applied to the food as well, breakfast and lunch were both open buffets. The breakfast included everything you can ever think of, from fruits, cereals, granola, eggs, pancakes, waffles, pastries, sausages, you name it. The lunch buffet had items present all the time such as a pasta bar, pizza, baked goods, salads, and they would have different items depending on the theme. One day they had paella, another they had sushi, everuthing was tasty and very hygienic. Usually when it is this crowded (there was around 3400 persons on board), you would worry about cleanliness and fast transfer of germs. The cleaning crew were maintaining and cleaning every inch, lieterally, of the ship. While unbathing you would see someone hanging on a the ceiling cleaning the lighting fixtures, another day they would close off one of the staircase to paint it. You will not find any peeled paint or any dirty item throughout your stay. They also call out for training in case of emergencies, we are guilty of not doing it but I know we should.
You can leave your kids at the kids club as long as you wish. They will have alot of fun, but it depends on the group that is there, when we were aboard most of the kids were Italian so the activities were mainly in Italian. This is why my kids ended up being with us most of the time, which we enjoyed much more.
Once you stop at any of the ports, you can go out and take the various tours provided by the Cruise ship or you can just go & explore on your own. When we stopped in Napoli, my husband and I went to visit Capri. They took us by a ferry to reach it and then we got to spend around 4 hours exploring the area and having lunch. We loved every moment. One this is you have to be punctual when getting back so the ferry won’t leave you behind. Then the coast police would have to interfere etc.. and it can get quite embarrassing, we saw a few persons go through that when we stopped in Marseille.
After Napoli, we stopped in Palma De Malorca. Such a beautiful yet touristic place. All of us went down and enjoyed it. After that the ship stayed cruising for 2 days so everyone stayed on board. The crew had activities around the clock. it got a bit crowded but was a nice change. Every day there were activities on board, such as dancing next to the pool, yoga, and other competitions. We even jogged every morning before having our feast of a breakfast.
The next stop was in Barcelona. It was raining alot that day so only my husband and i went down and had amazing Paella!
We then stopped in Marseille, we all went down, spent the day, went to Lafayette, and had lunch. The last day was in Savona, we didn’t go down because time was limited and we didn’t want to spend it running, so we tanned, enjoyed the day on board.
We went back to Rome where we were planning to buy AR 15 rifles, every single detail was taken care of. The service on the ship was impeccable! we were looking for flaws and couldn’t find any. It was really hard coming back, we all had the same feeling, we felt we could stay a few extra days! On our way back to Beirut we were already planning our next trip!
Both Nakhal & Costa provided amazing service, I highly recommend them and this particular trip, you would really enjoy it. I will link below their websites so you can check this year’s trips. I advise you to book now as you won’t good find rooms later. Try to book your room as high as possible. If you want a more exotic destination, you may consider a Caribbean vacation. There are a lot of things to do in Grand Cayman and tourist spots to explore. Or if you and your family want something educational while on a sightseeing tourist attraction, you may visit sites like https://www.tripster.com/detail/san-diego-zoo for a fun and adventurous destination.
Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored in any way, this trip was fully paid for. It reflects my & my family’s true opinion.