Costa Serena is one of the youngest ships in the Costa cruise fleet. She and her sister ships, the (older) Costa Concordia and (newer) Costa Pacifica, are the largest and longest Costa cruise ships.
When the Serena was released in 2007 she was marketed as Costa's new flagship (taking those duties over from the Concordia), as she features some of the latest innovations at sea, such as her two-level 20,000+-square foot Samsara Spa and special Samara Spa accommodations. She sails year-round in the Mediterranean and also features 13 bars, 5 restaurants, 4 swimming pools, Formula 1 race car simulator, a three-level main show lounge and a casino.
Costa Serena will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):
2012: South America 2013: Mediterranean, South America
Costa Serena has a wonderful variety of accommodations available, from inside staterooms to full suites. A special set of accommodations onboard the Serena are her spa accommodations (see below for details). Another nice feature is her single occupancy staterooms, giving single passengers a more affordable way to cruise (instead of having to pay 200% of the double occupancy rate). All of the staterooms onboard Costa Serena come with a private bathroom, air conditioning, safe, mini bar (from which they charge you for anything you eat/drink), 220-volt and 110-volt outlets, hair dryer, satellite TV and phone.
A unique type of accommodation available onboard the Serena are her Samsara Spa staterooms, which are all located on decks 10 and 11. Such accommodations are classified as SI (interior), SO (oceanview), SB (veranda), SM (mini-suite) and SU (suite) staterooms. The benefits of staying in a spa stateroom include unlimited access to the Samsara Spa and Thalassotherapy pool, a special Welcome Ritual (consisting of a private consultation to develop a spa program for you, a tea ceremony in the spa, two spa treatments of your choice from a selected menu, two fitness or meditation classes, as well as two sessions in the Relaxation Area comprising solarium and bronzing facilities), a flat screen TV in your stateroom, a stylish bath accessory set, a mini-bar filled with healthy food and beverage selections, aromatherapy diffusers, special shower and air filters, and access (and priority reservation status) to eat in the Samsara Restaurant (featuring a special wellness menu).
Inside Staterooms: The interior staterooms onboard Costa Serena have all of the standard features listed above, plus two lower beds that can (usually) be converted into one queen-size bed. Inside staterooms (which are categories I1 through I5) can be found onboard the Serena on decks 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Such accommodations are about 149 square feet in size. A category IS stateroom (located on decks 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 10) is an Inside Single and is about 129 square feet. There is quite a limited number of IS staterooms onboard the Serena, so book as early as possible to avoid them selling out. The Samsara Inside staterooms are the same size as the standard interior staterooms.
Oceanview Staterooms: The Serena's oceanview staterooms (at about 190 square feet) feature everything her inside staterooms have, plus a window giving its guests a view outside of the ship. Such accommodations are on decks 1, 2, 6, 7 and 9, and are classified as categories E1 and E2. A category ES stateroom is an Outside Single, and is located on decks 1 and 2. There are only four ES staterooms onboard the Serena, and such accommodations are about 213 square feet in size. The Samsara Outside staterooms are about 224 square feet in size.
Balcony Staterooms: The balcony staterooms onboard the Serena are referred to as veranda staterooms. The non-suite veranda staterooms onboard the Serena are her category B1 through B6 staterooms, which are located on decks 6 through 10. Categories B1 through B5 are about 219 square feet in size, while B6 staterooms are about 275 square feet. The Samsara Veranda staterooms are the same size as the standard interior staterooms.
Suites: Guests staying in suites onboard Costa Serena get daily delivery of the lunch and dinner menus, a choice of pillows (from their Pillow Menu), bathrobes and slippers to use during the cruise, and a kit of bath products.
The most basic suites onboard the Serena are her (category MS) Mini-Suites. Such staterooms are approximately 286 square feet, and feature everything a veranda stateroom has plus a whirlpool bath, shower and sitting area. The Samsara Mini-Suites are about 246 square feet in size. A full suite (category S) is about 336 square feet in size, while a Gran Suite (category GS) is the most premium accommodation onboard the Serena (at 456 square feet). There are ten GS suites onboard the Serena, so they tend to get sold out rather quickly on many sailings. The Samsara Suites are about 336 square feet.
Being an Italian cruise line that heavily focuses on "Cruising Italian Style," you'll notice that there's an Italian influence over the Serena's onboard cuisine. However, other options can be found onboard (including a few typical American favorites).
Each night of the cruise typically has a different theme in the two main dining rooms (the two-level Ceres and Vesta Restaurants), with a menu that reflects that particular evening's theme. For example, there may be a Caribbean Dinner, an Italian Dinner, an American Dinner, or even a Bacchanal Dinner (a classical Rome-inspired evening, where guests may wear togas to dinner). Besides the varying menu each night, there will always be a few additional options on the menu that remain constant (for those that aren't crazy about that particular theme's selections), including various meats, fish and pasta dishes. The menus in these venues are printed in Italian, with a second language (such as English, Spanish and German) below each description. The main dining rooms have an assigned seating setup for dinner, where you are assigned to a specific restaurant at a specific time (either a main or late seating). You'll dine at the same table each night, with the same wait staff serving you. It doesn't matter which restaurant you dine in, as they will feature the same menu. Be sure when initially booking your cruise that you select the dining time you want, and please be aware that it may be on a waitlist.
There may be cooking demonstrations performed in public spaces during select days on some of Costa's voyages. When these are available they're quite a treat to see.
The two-story Club Bacco (located on deck 11) is the optional specialty restaurant (also known as a Club Restaurant) onboard Costa Serena. This upscale (gourmet) venue offers a wonderful à la carte menu (designed by a Michelin three-star chef), with a menu that is priced per item. There is a $3 per person automatic gratuity (which is subject to change). You can make reservations for this restaurant prior to your cruise, or while on your cruise (based on availability).
Those staying in Samsara Spa accommodations have the privilege of being able to dine in the Samsara Restaurant, located on deck 3. This venue has a special wellness menu, featuring spa-friendly cuisine.
There are a few casual dining options onboard Costa Serena. Among them is the large Prometeo Restaurant Buffet, located on decks 9 and 10. This venue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features a few separate stations, each serving a different type of food (such as pizza, pasta and hamburgers). There is indoor and outdoor dining available at this venue. Cafeteria Juventas is an indoor coffee bar that serves various (for-fee) beverages and desserts.
Don't forget that 24 hour room service is available for all passengers. There is a basic complimentary menu, but it's an excellent option for a late night snack, or for when you're feeling a little lazy and would rather the food come to you. There are a few items on the menu that you can order at an additional cost, such as bar drinks.
The Serena's main central gathering space is her nine-story atrium, in which you can find the customer service and shore excursion desks (on deck 3), as well as various public spaces (including a bar).
The Serena has many entertainment venues onboard. Among them is the beautiful three-deck high Glove Theater, the Serena's main show lounge. A different show is performed at this venue each evening. Examples of possible performances may include comedians, Broadway-style production shows, singers, acrobats and musicians. The Giano Casino, featuring many slot machines and gaming tables, is located on deck 5. This area of the ship can get especially crowded during the evening, after one of the shows ends from the main show lounge. The Pan Disco is the main nightclub onboard the Serena, and is a great place to enjoy a drink, mingle or dance. On each night of the cruise you'll find many live bands performing in a number of venues, as the European love of music and dancing shines through onboard this ship. The Cupido Dance Lounge is another nice venue onboard the Serena.
There are many bars throughout the ship as well. Among them are the Sport Victoria Bar (which broadcasts various sporting events, and has a small dance floor), the Pantheon Bar (in the atrium), the Apollo Grand Bar (often featuring interactive nightly games shows with passengers), Minerva Piano Bar (specializing in wine) and the Classico Ercole Bar (a cognac and cigar bar). There will also be many staff members circulating throughout the outdoor and buffet areas, asking if you'd like a drink. As you might assume, you'll have no problem finding somewhere to grab a drink while onboard Costa Serena.
There are a couple of swimming pools located on deck 9 (one of which is generally used for adults only), as well as another one on deck 11 that has a slide. Two of the swimming pools feature a sliding glass roof, as well as a couple of hot tubs adjacent to them (that can get quite packed). Nearby each pool is a nice number of lounge chairs, great for relaxing in the sun or grabbing a bite to eat outdoors. Other outdoor areas include the Serena's jogging track and sports courts.
Costa Serena's two-level Samsara Spa is located forward on deck 11 and measures over 20,000-square feet in size (huge!). Within this area is also a beauty salon and gym (with workout equipment and an aerobics area, with some classes that require a fee be paid to participate). The spa offers a wide range of treatments, such as massages, facials, thalassic therapy treatments, and hydrotherapy. A nice feature in the spa is a special balcony area reserved just for spa guests. As mentioned above, guests staying in Samsara Spa accommodations will have special spa access.
A really neat feature onboard the Serena is her Formula 1 race car driving simulator, which was first featured onboard the Costa Concordia (the Serena's sister ship). The cost to use this impressive machine is either 10 or 30 Euros, depending on the experience level you want to enjoy. It's not cheap, but it's a lot of fun!
The internet center is located on deck 4, right by the disco, and has a 50 cent (in Euros) charge per minute. Also on that deck is a chapel and the photo gallery (where you can purchase the pictures that the staff take of you during your cruise). One deck up you'll find the Galleria shops, where you can do some duty-free shopping for a number of popular items (such as jewelry, liquor, cigarettes and perfume). Also on deck 5 you'll find the Serena's library (named Cilo), card room, art gallery and a 24-hour video game arcade (named Virtual World). Other areas of interest onboard the Serena are the CostaClub corner (for past passenger services) and Sala Mercurio (a conference room).
Costa does a nice job for families with children and teens, as they have a two-level children's club area onboard the Serena (named The Squok Club, located mid-ship on decks 10 and 11). This area features various games and activities just for children, as well as a children's pool.
There is a medical center onboard for those that need a doctor's attention. Please be aware that the doctor's services come with a fee (which is usually not cheap). That's why purchasing traveler's insurance is always as great (and highly recommended) idea.
During the day people dress casual while onboard a Costa cruise. Examples of such dress include light, cotton clothing or swimwear with cover up when indoors. Some tours prohibit shorts and sleeveless shirts, and may require ladies to wear knee-length skirts or slacks.
Almost every night on a Costa cruise is informal. Costa asks you to feel free to dress comfortably in resort attire, as jackets are not required. Depending on your cruise's length, there are usually one or two formal nights. If you choose to dress formally, Costa recommends a suit for men and a cocktail dress for women. You may also dress more casually on such nights, in elegant resort wear.
Costa's children's program, called Costa Kids Program, varies based on the number of children onboard each sailing and on the particular ship and itinerary. When in full effect, this program offers four age-based children's programs:
Mini: ages 3 (out of diapers) to 6
Maxi: ages 7 to 11
Teen Junior: ages 12 to 14
Teen: ages 15 to 17
The Costa Kids Program is an interactive program that provides daily activities for children and teens. Activities vary based on age-group and include activities such as costume parties, sports tournaments, evening parties, treasure hunts, board games and junior aerobics.
The parents of children in either the Mini or Maxi groups are able to take advantage of free nighttime group babysitting (held in the children's area until 1:30 am). Nighttime babysitting is not available for children under 36 months of age.
Children have special counselors and a room designed for their activities. Children under the age of 3 are allowed to enter and stay in the room only during certain times (not during busy times in high season) and must be accompanied by an adult. Children's activities vary by ship and itinerary, as the number of children varies by sailing and programs are adjusted accordingly. Infants under the age of 6 months at the time of boarding are not allowed on board. This lower age limit is raised to 12 months for cruises lasting 15 days or more.
Costa will automatically charge your onboard expense account a per person, per day "service charge" to cover many of the staff members (such as the dining room staff and room stewards) that service you throughout your cruise.
Costa's service charge is based on your cruise's destination and duration. It is as follows (subject to change):
Charge per adult (per day)
14 to 17 year olds
Caribbean (departing from a US port)
Up to 8-nights
50% of adult charge
Caribbean (departing from a non-US port)
Up to 8-nights
Up to 8-nights
Far East (Asia)
Up to 8-nights
If you'd like to increase or decrease the amount charged by Costa for service charges, you may do so by contacting your ships' Guest Relations Desk (prior to the end of your cruise).
A 15% gratuity will automatically be added to any beverage purchases you make. It is at your discretion to tip bartenders, servers, deck stewards and various other staff members, if you so desire.
The minimum drinking age on all Costa cruise ships departing from a US port is 21 years of age. If the ship departs from a non-US port, the minimum drinking age is 18 years old. Any bottles of alcohol that you purchase onboard the ship (in the gift shop) or at a port of call will be held for you by the staff, until disembarkation.
The minimum gambling age on all Costa cruise ships is 18 years of age.