Just a little background. We are a family of 4 (2 adults, a 9 year old, and a 6 year old). We have cruised on Costa before and are Coral members of the Costa Club. We have also sailed on NCL, RCI, Princess, and Celebrity.
This was our first Christmas cruise and hopefully not our last. We had a great time on the Costa Atlantica.
We arrived at pier 19 in port everglades shortly after 11 am. We had to get luggage tags at the dock since we had upgraded our room since our edocs were generated. There was a little confusion since it was still early but got the tags and bags checked in no problem. Checkin began and 11:30, and after a little confusion about the self checkin process we were on the ship before noon. Rooms weren't ready until 1:30.
The buffet on deck 9 was still quiet and we enjoyed our meal looking out the window at the Oasis of the Seas docked next to us. It was just so huge!
Our room was a category B9 balcony room 7295. It was quite roomy for the 4 of us and it had a extra large balcony as well. We proceeded to decorate our cabin for Christmas. We brought a small tree, battery powered lights, and decorations for the door.
The kids were enrolled in the Squok Club, which is divided into the Mini club and the Maxi Club. The Mini's were 3-6 and the Maxi's 7-12. Overall, our kids were disappointed in the kids club activities and said they were boring. However, the 9 year old really enjoyed the sports activities they did like the Olympics, fooseball tournament, and Squokaboard (an indoor version of shuffleboard due to rain). They have enjoyed the kids programs on RCI and Princess much better. This is a place we have felt that Costa could improve on. The Squok Club facility was very small for the number of kids onboard.
We had early sitting and ate dinner in the dining room every night. The service was very good. There were very good choices amongst seafood with lamb and veal too. However, the beef and chicken items weren't too exciting looking. The kids also had their own menu every night with several choices that were the same such as: spaghetti, fish fingers, hot dog, hamburger but then they also had a special one or two items that varied every night. One night the had lamb chops on the kids menu (not the same night rack of lamb was on the adult menu either), my 9 year old loved them. Several of the entrEe's and pasta dishes came with roasted eggplant. It was delicious. If you like eggplant don't miss it.
We ate breakfast in the dining room twice and lunch once. They meals and service were good with the occasional wait to get water refilled (I drink a lot of water).
We didn't go to any of the shows so I can't comment on them.
Arts and Crafts were held on most days (at least once) and since it was a Christmas cruise we did a lot of Christmas themed crafts.
On Christmas eve, we received a Pannetone in our room (A Traditional Italian Christmas cake). They had a Christmas eve midnight mass and another mass Christmas morning. Christmas morning they also had carol singing in the atrium then the arrival of SANTA! All of the kids were invited to come see Santa and he gave each one a gift. It was the cutest box shaped like a barn or house with windows and everything. Inside was a small stuffed animal and chocolate eggs with small toys inside. It was very nice. The staff went out of their way to greet and say Merry Christmas to everyone. The ice carvings at the lunch buffet were a santa and a snowman, with fruit carvings of snowmen and Merry Christmas as well.
There was one adults only pool and hot tub in the back of the ship. The two main pools and hot tubs are in the middle of the ship. There were very limited chairs right around the pools and the chair hogs were out in full force. However, if you went up a deck or were away from the pools chairs were always to be found. Our kids loved the water slide on the back of the ship. It was usually open 10-4 and on port days we were the only ones there a lot of the time.
There were 3 happy hours most days, 11-12, 4-5, and 7-8, in which all bars had two for one drink specials. We really enjoyed this and have not seen this on any other Costa cruise or anyone else.
We didn't do any excursions as we have been to St. Thomas and San Juan before. Grand Turk was nice but it was windy and the water was a little rough. The beach and the facility right at the pier seemed nice. We wandered off to the right of the pier and went around the point and had a beach all to ourselves. However, the bottom was rocky and water shoes would have made it a lot more comfortable since the water was a bit rough. I would enjoy going back there.
Overall, we had a great cruise and would go back in a minute. We love the international flair you get with Costa.
Ciao! For now...until next time.