Home coach Sinisa Mihajlovic sent out an attacking line-up featuring four forward players but they were unable to find a way through against their third-bottom opponents.
Stefano Okaka passed up the chance to pounce on some slack Cesena defending inside the first minute, while Luis Muriel skied a Samuel Eto'o cutback from 10 yards.
Djamel Mesbah was the next Sampdoria player to prove wasteful with the goal at his mercy following promising work from Okaka, who was a touch fortunate to remain on the field when he was only booked for appearing to catch Massimo Volta with an elbow.
Cesena defender Stefano Lucchini made a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny Alessio Romagnoli with 15 minutes to play, before home goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano prevented Gregoire Defrel from stealing the points for the visitors.
Sampdoria lie fifth in the table, level on points with Napoli in fourth as they chase European football next term, while Cesena are six points from safety with seven games to play.
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