For many years my wife and I have read Crusie Critic and Trip Advisor finding them helpful tools when planning a getaway. This is the first time we felt the need to post a critic to try and guide others.
On January 28, 2012 we sailed on the Costa Atlantica for a 10 day cruise of the western carribbean. We have sailed many times in the past on the leading cruise lines. This was our first trip on Costa which we have always heard good things about. We found this a truly unique experience due to the demographics. There was about 85% European (Italian, French and German mostly)and 15% Canadian and American passengers. We really enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from all over. The crew spoke all of the languages and almost ever passenger spoke English so there was no problem communicating.
This ship held about 2,100 passengers which having sailed on the largest and some small ones, we personally feel is the perfect size. While the Atlantica is soon to be refurbished, it was exceptionally clean and well appointed.
The ports of call are difficult for us to comment on. We have been to all of these islands before and hardly ever disembark there now. Our true love is being on the water. For that very reason our cabin with balcony was the highlight of our trip. Our cabin was a Panorama Suite. This was a comfortable cabin, larger than most but small for a suite. The balcony however was huge and the perfect place to take in the sun while enjoying the beauty of the sea and sky.
For the most part the staff was very plesant and accomodating. The cabin steward, bus boy, waiter and matre'd were amongst the best we ever had. The entertainment was extremely high quality for a cruise ship. The Costa entertainment staff was good and the headliners superb.
Our only negative comment is about the food. We realize that this ship must cater to the european market and their tastes but do not feel that means no variety or spice. The buffet was only open for dinner on two nights, and breakfast and lunch only the rest of the time. There was an ample number of stations however they each had the same basic 5 dishes for every meal. There was usually chicken, fish, veal, lamb and pork and some pasta dish along with bread, cheese and a vegetable. All of the meats tasted the same even though each day they were presented with a different sauce. All of the fish seemed to have a fishy taste. All you could really taste as a spice was salt and tons of it. The pasta a veggies at the buffet were always mushy and very overcooked. The soups, which we love, also had no taste and were all basically the same. There were two pasta stations which made eggs during breakfast which was probably the most decent item there. The formal dining room open for breakfast, lunch and dinner was all more of the same. While the staff went out of their way to please by making us off menu items, unfortunately those had no taste either. Basically we lived on bread, butter and pasta for 10 days. Even the pizza held no flavor for our palete. Their speciality steak restaurant was very pretty but the food was no better. We spoke to many other people from Europe, Canada and the U.S. and almost all were in agreement about the food. Many had sailed on Costa numerous times and felt the food has really gone down.
We are not people who are hard to please with food and generally never had this problem on any other cruise. It is ashame because if not for the food this would have been our perfect cruise experience.