We chose Costa because of the itinerary; the first time that they had sailed into New York. We started in Savona where embarking was frankly shambolic! It took over 3 hours to embark with no announcements as to what was taking so long. Once on board we were very impressed with the 10 deck atrium and the public areas on the Atlantica are very impressive.
English speakers were definitely in the minority with the rest of the guests being Italian and French. This didn't bother us but where a film would be shown in English in a small meeting room the Italians and French got comfy seats in the theatre and inexplicably the muster/safety video on the TV was never shown in English! There were some lectures (about NYC, the history of the Atlantic crossing, etc) on sea days which were very good but again not all of them were done in English. The lectures and films were subsequently shown on the TV in the cabin but again the English version was missing. You could pay to watch a film in your cabin but at Euros 8.95 we thought it a bit steep especially as the films weren't that good anyway.
The cabin was of a good size with plenty of wardrobe space and generously sized comfortable bed. Cabin steward service was excellent. Our only problem was that (as we were on late sitting for dinner) the water wasn't as hot as we would like in the evenings, but was fine in the mornings.
We were a little disappointed with the food on the Atlantica. It was not very tasty and sometimes wasn't particularly warm but it was plentiful with lots of choice. We ate at the Club Atlantica (which inexplicably turned into the Tuscan Steakhouse half way through the cruise with a different menu and was always shown in the "Today" magazine as fully booked - we think it was solely for the use of Costa Club members then). We weren't impressed with the Club Atlantica; the food was cold - served on cold plates which is a particular bug bear of mine - and we didn't feel it was worth the Euros 20 per head extra it cost, but it was our wedding anniversary and with a nice bottle of fizz we had a very nice evening.
Service in the main restaurant was excellent if a little rushed (the waiters would clear plates of those who had finished before the others had finished). The waiters were friendly as you would expect. The buffet restaurant was a bit of a nightmare at first with a lot of shoving and pushing by (I have to say) the Italians, but over time they did calm down and it was quite civilised. The buffet food was OK but again nothing special really. The desserts were particularly disappointing - they looked different but seemed to taste the same.
Traditional Afternoon Tea served in the Cafe Florian was nice especially as you were able to get your tea in a proper cup rather than the plastic ones in the buffet. We had breakfast once in the main restaurant and it did make a nice change to be served and the eggs benedict were excellent (as were the breakfast muffins).
The entertainment was a mixed bag really. The usual glitzy shows in the theatre which aren't our thing although the Tenor Alberti Jelboni was excellent. We never watched the entertainment in the Piazza Madame Butterfly because the quiz/games/competitions were geared solely for the Italians and it didn't look like any English was spoken at all. The Corello Lounge was not very popular but the band that played there at the beginning of the cruise were excellent. The pianist in the Atrium bar was excellent as were the classical trio in Cafe Florian. You really could wander around the ship and take your pick on the music being played. We usually settled for the Atrium bar and we were well served by the Head Barman Joel.
Ports of call were good being Barcelona, Lisbon, The Azores and then the wonderful arrival into NYC which although earlier than billed (4am rather than 6am) was a wonderful experience. The atmosphere on the boat as we entered the harbour was magical. Sailing out of New York at dusk is something I would recommend and was worth the whole trip on its own. We then went to Newport Rhode Island which we loved; a great place to wander around. The next stop was Charlottetown on Price Edward Island which we were not impressed with at all (it should have been Boston but they had to change it before the Cruise). We ended up in Quebec City which was another nice place to wander around.
Most of the English speaking excursions were cancelled because the numbers were too low which disappointed some people but we prefer to do our own thing so this didn't worry us but many of the English speakers were not happy about this. The port information provided was not that good (we have received much more comprehensive information on other boats which would give more details about getting taxis, etc. The port information Cost provided was simply about the history of theport).
Our only real problem with the cruise was the price of the drinks at Euros 7 (which included a 15% service fee which was put on every drink). There was also a Euro 10 service charge per cabin per day which meant that it was not necessary to tip any of the staff at the end of the cruise. This meant that our tips (being the service charge on each drink and the daily charge) came to over Euro 300, so you didn't really feel like tipping any individual staff members
All in all we enjoyed our Cruise on the Costa Atlantica. Would we choose Costa again? Well quite frankly we are not particularly loyal Cruisers having been on four different cruises with four different companies, so it is the itineraries that attract us rather than the company. If Costa had an itinerary which we fancied doing we would sail with them again.