Had a lovely time on the Costa Atlantica, made all the better by the staff. Boarded in Heraklion at 13:30, had no queues at all, entered terminal and on board within 30 minutes. Noticed long queues late though.
Cabins were 6 level, balcony, we booked 2 cabins with interconnecting door, so we can have kids in one and parents in another. We were upgraded to these cabins, initially we booked 5105 which is an inside cabin at the front of the ship with no window despite it being on the outside, and 5107 which is a balcony with the interconnecting door. No idea why they upgraded us.... we did pass the other cabins on the way to the kids (Squok) club, and they were occupied.
Cabins were spacious and light, beds very comfortable. Air con seemed to be having some trouble but with the door open it was lovely. We sailed with the balcony door open to our cabin a lot, but the kids door locked shut. There is a lock far above small kids reach that we used.
Settled in and unpacked, we went to lunch and started our holiday!
Cabin staff attentive and kept it clean and spotless.
Food was plentiful, we dined in the main restaurant, lunch and dinner in the buffet. Food was good, not exceptional. Some dishes were really good....some were a bit bland. Plenty of choice and by the end we were reducing the number of courses we could eat!
Breakfast was a little hit and miss. We weren't early risers, getting up to the buffet at about 9-9:30. The main restaurant had finished by 9am...a little early we felt, and some of the choices in the buffet had run out by then as well. But we always found something...and it did the trick. Nothing to complain about.
We agonised over the all inclusive package, not being big drinkers and with 3 kids, I was unsure we would get value. We went for it and it was good not to have to worry about drinks cost. Kids had lots of soft drinks and non alcoholic cocktails that they loved and we, or I, had a bottle of nice wine with each dinner. I wouldnt normally drink a bottle with dinner....ended up leaving at least 25% each night, but it was good wine, not cheap rubbish. So I drank it! We also drank lots of water....and the all inclusive allowed us an endless supply. We took it off ship as well.
After the first night we had our normal drinks order on the table waiting for us to arrive. Great service from the table stewards, good shows during dinner and we all had a great time. Kids were well looked after. Clearly the stewards have families and they like to treat the kids...perhaps they miss their own?
Kids clubs were good for the under 12s, we had a 4 yr and 7 yr old, they enjoyed going, when we chatted to the club girls, they said we can take them at 9am...leave them until 11:30 pm if we want. If we wanted to do excursions we could leave them on ship. They have a full programme...march them to dinner and lunch, disco etc....its all very well done. We didnt, we prefered to have them with us for food and going off ship. They have a couple of special dinner nights for the kids that coincide with Gala nights, so us adults can be alone. However, our kids loved to dress for dinner so we took them. There was no pressure not to take the kids anywhere.
We were lucky enough to be on the table next to the captain, he kept saying hello...offering high 5s and winking at them all evening! In fact we kept bumping into him at various different places, even off ship! Always personable, always smiling.
Couple of gripes, but like i said, nothing that ruined our holiday. We have a 14 yr old, the teens club is mainly after 9pm. The disco doesnt start for them until 11:30pm at the earliest. They had things like, Miss Atlantica, for 12 yr olds to 17yr olds? Too young for all that i think at 12 to 14. They were up until 2am..... Being a responsible parent I felt that was too late and so had a grumpy 14 yr old....however I noticed there was ever only a max of 20 kids at these events so it looks like most parents didn't let kids out that late.
Cabin security was lax. We forgot something in the cabin after we left, went back....probably 30 minutes after we left the ship, only to find balcony maintenance in progress, our cabin door locked in the open position....an no one in sight. Any one could have got in, through the balconies of from the front cabin door. We raised it but no one seemed concerned.
So all in all a good, no a great time was had by all. Kids loved it, we had a few evenings out alone, food was fine, drinks were good, staff were fantastic.
Wanted to try the extra Club restaurant but ran out of time.
Will we go back? Yes. Looking already.
Had a couple of rough nights, winds to 60 knots, 120kph, a bit up and down...side to side....but nothing extreme....spray was over the side at deck 6....so rough sea. But it felt very stable and we slept fine. Despite my 4 yr old wanting to sleep with her life jacket on....but we convinced her other wise.
Finally, I don't wish to be alarmist. But no matter who you travel with family wise, make a plan in case of an emergency. We did, we attended the life boat drill, which petrified my 2 small kids, but it had to be done. We decided which kid would go with which adult. Where we would go. And how. I would have hated to be in a situation like the Concordia with no plan. I stood on the balcony as we passed the Island and Concordia....I cant imagine how I would be with 2 small children in the dark and cold and wet.