My wife and I recently finished our twelfth cruise. This one was aboard the Costa Atlantica. The seven day cruise embarked from Copenhagen Denmark on July 16, 2005. I note the following in providing our personal review of the cruise.
Embarkation was fairly smooth, once we knew when we could embark. We were told at arrival at the cruise terminal that we would have to wait about two hours before our embarkation number would be called. As it turned out, our embarkation number was called in about 20 minutes after we arrived. There was no "theater line", so we all just moved in a large group toward the embarkation point. It went smooth though, and we were on the ship in about 15 minutes after our group number was called.
The Ship Atlantica is one of the most beautiful ships we have traveled on. She is decorated in beautiful woods, breathtaking marble and bright cheery colors. Shops on the ship are plentiful, well appointed, and well-stocked. We did not use the bar service as we do not drink alcohol. Passenger cabins are large by the standards we are used to, with plenty of room for storage, large bathrooms, and they have a roomy feel. We had a mini-bar instead of a regular refrigerator, but that presented no problem. Our room steward was prompt, communicative, and kept our room very clean and orderly.
Dining on this cruise was a "mixed bag." The Botticelli buffet on the 9th floor was huge, with every imaginable food available. Three problems with the buffet are (1) very limited availability times for meals (it seemed like it was always closed when we wanted a meal), (2) the food was of medium quality compared with other cruises we have taken, and (3) it was difficult for us to find which food stations served what types of food. There were no indications, for instance, where one could find an omelet or fresh fried eggs. In fact we never did find that one out before the seven day cruise was finished. The main dining room was beautiful, very well decorated and organized, and the service was excellent. Main dining room dinner times and table assignments are fixed for everyone on the ship. It did seem however, that our waiter had too many tables, which decreased his ability to give us his best service at dinner. The food in the dining room was about average. The steaks, of which I had three, were tough, and this was disappointing. The desserts are of inferior quality compared to Princess, RCCL, and Norwegian lines which we have traveled with recently. Most of the main dinner cuisine was, of course Italian and generally pretty good. It was disappointing to me however that they did not offer simple spaghetti and meatballs (my favorite!) We were also disappointed to learn that there is a charge for room service meals. I am surprised that Carnival has started this tradition of charging for room service. I do not think it will go over well with passengers. We also were surprised at the high cost of soft drinks, for which we were charged in Euros. I think the total cost in U.S. Currency is something more than $3.00 for a soft drink. I did not see drink cards available. I think we bought maybe over $100.00 worth of soft drinks on the cruise.
Entertainment by the ship's onboard entertainers was excellent. Other entertainment was also very good. The showroom is beautiful, with excellent sight lines and good acoustics. We never had a problem finding a seat for the evening shows. The Cruise Director was one of the least effective I have ever experienced aboard a ship. She spent about five minutes at the beginning and ending of each show translating the passenger greetings into about seven languages, of which English was about he fifth on the list. I thought this strange because of the universality of the English language. All of the entertainers sang or otherwise entertained in English. We were very disappointed in the Cruise Director, and never saw her once mingling with the passengers. Our destination was the Norwegian Fjords. The itinerary and tours off the ship were very good, with excellent guides. The Norwegian Fjords is breathtaking in its beauty, and we recommend it highly for a cruise destination.
Debarkation from the ship went smooth, with passengers leaving in a orderly fashion with little or no lines.