Built in Italy in 2007, the decor of this 3,000-passenger Concordia-class ship is inspired by the gods and goddesses of ancient Roman and Greek mythology. Although part of the Miami-based Carnival Corporation, Costa Serena rocked a distinctly European vibe for years, with announcements made not only in Italian and English but also in Spanish, French, German, and a handful of other languages — reflecting the multicultural makeup of its passengers. That all changed in April 2015 when the line moved Costa Serena to a new home port in Shanghai to cater to the Chinese market.
What We Love
The Pasta and Other Italian Specialties: Costa Serena’s bustling two-story dining rooms have traditionally focused on the cuisine of its mother country — the pasta course was especially delicious — so guests eat quite well for a budget cruise fare.
The Thalassotherapy Pool: Located in the Samsara Spa, the large jetted pool is an ideal spot to relax before or after a massage.
Best Known For
Jam-Packed Itineraries: Cruise passengers who want to see a different city every day — in three or four countries — will appreciate Costa Serena’s fast-paced itineraries. That said, the ship might only be in port for five or six hours.
Kitschy Decor: Despite the ship’s name, its vibrant, playful décor is the exact opposite of serene. Designed by Miami-based Joe Farcus, the nine-story atrium features mannequin-like Greek gods and goddesses floating amid plastic clouds and elevators lit up like gaming arcades, while the nightclubs have whimsical furniture in bold color combinations.
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Who It's Best For
Budget-Conscious Travelers: Costa cruises traditionally offer good value and a casual ambiance on the line's Mediterranean and Adriatic itineraries, giving them wide appeal, especially with multigenerational European families.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
This Crowd Likes to Party: Passengers on Costa cruises seem to be on a mission to have fun — and this ship obliges by entertaining kids in the Pan Disco until well past midnight so parents can enjoy after-dinner nightlife.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.