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Sail Date: February 2014

The Costa Atlantica has recently started operating out of Shanghai, targeting the Chinese market. One of my wife's friends had booked up to go on the ship and so my wife decided that we would go too. The cruise was from Shanghai to ... Read More

The Costa Atlantica has recently started operating out of Shanghai, targeting the Chinese market. One of my wife's friends had booked up to go on the ship and so my wife decided that we would go too. The cruise was from Shanghai to Korea's Jeju (Cheju) island and then to Busan city, one sea day and then back to Shanghai again.

The ship uses a new cruise terminal in the Baoshan area of Shanghai, rather than the Internation terminal in the centre of the city. Baoshan is easy enough to get to by subway and then a short taxi to the terminal, but it is quite a bit away from the city centre and about as far as you can get from airport.

Boarding the ship was relatively strait forward though I had never done this before and everything was in Chinese, I had to rely entirely on my wife to get through. Nobody at the terminal spoke any English and it would be quite difficult to navigate without a Chinese speaking guide.

The ship itself is staffed with a very multicultural mix. All spoke English fluently but only a few spoke Chinese, thus the roles were reversed as I translated for my wife.

We were travelling in February, so the outside parts of the ship were cold and windy. The outdoor pools were closed. Only the pool in the fitness centre was really usable.

Chinese people don't go in for formal/casual dress distinctions. Thus at evening dinner everyone dressed in their jeans and sweaters as they had during the day time. The five course evening meal consisted of western style food which not all the Chinese guests appreciated. On the first night, the other guests at our table only ate ice cream. The second and third nights they didn't show. We noticed that a great many people were eating at the buffet counters on the 9th floor rather than the formal dinner. However, everyone attended for the final nights formal dinner which was Italian fiesta themed.

The shows on the first two nights were excellent professional performances, though the male signer mist a few of the high notes. The third night's show was Cabernet by the staff, rather than professionals. It was a bit hit and miss and some of the acts just didn't work at all. We missed the fourth night's show because we had the later 8pm seating, which was late starting that night, and the dinner overran considerably.

The excursions were included in the cruise package by our travel agent. We had to wait for the Costa excursions to leave first then we were taken out by the agent. The excursions themselves were poor quality. Much of the time was spent in duty free shops rather than attractions or wasted on the bus driving to the duty free shops.

For example, on Jeju island, the boat docked at 2pm and we were disembarked within 30 minutes of that time. We spend 30 minutes in a museum, 1 hour in a duty free shop and 20 minutes at the sea shore in the city. The remaining 3 hours of the excursion was wasted on the bus driving to and from the duty free shop. A great shame as Jeju island was listed as on of the new7wonders of the world with volcanic craters, lava pipes, waterfalls and dramatic coastal scenery and we saw none of that.

The cabin was sufficient for our family, my wife, two daughters and I. It consisted of a double bed and a set of bunk beds. The verandah was large enough for two to sit however, what with it being February, we didn't sit out much. We did spend a little time outside looking a the sea but not too much.

The internal areas of the ship are finished to a high standard and the staff are always polite, happy and attentive. My youngest, two year old, daughter loved going up and down the glass lifts in the foyer. However she was too young to take part in the children's activities.

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Sail Date: June 2013

EMBARKATION

Those unlucky enough not to have priority waited in a queue for up to four hours to board the ship.

LUGGAGE

3.5 hours after boarding one of my two suitcases showed up. I eventually found the other one ... Read More

EMBARKATION

Those unlucky enough not to have priority waited in a queue for up to four hours to board the ship.

LUGGAGE

3.5 hours after boarding one of my two suitcases showed up. I eventually found the other one on the wrong deck.

DINNER AFTER BOARDING

We were allocated an 8.30dining time. The queue at the dining room took 20 minutes to negotiate. At 9.30there was compulsory lifeboat drill. Much of the meal went unbeaten. This wasn't such a bad thing as it was barely edible anyway.

SHIPBOARD ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Repeated in 5 languages through a crackly intercom.

DISEMBARKATION

The ship docked at 2.00 pm but cabins had to be vacated by 10.00 am leaving 1500disembarking passengers wandering the decks and public areas with overnight luggage in tow. Overcrowded lounges and bistro resulted.

TENDERED PORT

2 hour wait for a tender. There has to be a better way of allocating times so that the passengers need show up when their transfer is to take place rather than waiting in the theatre for an hour and a half before their allocated number is called.

BRIDGE PLAYERS

My wife and I are bridge players. There was no process for identifying other bridge players. Surely a notice board in the card room would suffice!

MEALS

Generally poor selection and very questionable quality. The bistro was ok but the main dining room was very mediocre. The charge for plain water in the premium dining room was outrageous.

CREW

Generally polite and helpful.

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Sail Date: May 2013
Went on this cruise in May 2013. Short one along the Straits of Malacca with stops at Malacca and Penang. Boarding and final disembarkation took really long time, over two hours, which was a bit of an issue for my mum. Ship facilities on ... Read More
Went on this cruise in May 2013. Short one along the Straits of Malacca with stops at Malacca and Penang. Boarding and final disembarkation took really long time, over two hours, which was a bit of an issue for my mum. Ship facilities on the whole were clean and well kept. As noted in some online reviews, there is a decisively cheesy, retro feel to the décor, which was not a bad thing for me. I kinda enjoyed the Venetian/Pompeii elements scattered here and there, and the way corridors and alleys lead you abruptly to new facilities. Gives the impression the ship has lots for you to discover. Cabin was comfortable and clean. Nightly entertainment was of very high standards, and what I looked forth to each day. The food, however, disappointed. I'm not a fussy eater and I don't mind repetitions. But watered-down coffee and tasteless broth for noodles, amongst others, were being served day and night. Standards improved a little after the second day but generally, meals still weren't anything to look forward to. Shore excursions were managed by local agencies and on the whole, efficient and well priced. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013

My husband and I decided on this trip as the itinerary was right up our street - visiting all the places we have on our bucket list. We booked 10 months previously and only then were there two inside cabins left. We thought long and ... Read More

My husband and I decided on this trip as the itinerary was right up our street - visiting all the places we have on our bucket list. We booked 10 months previously and only then were there two inside cabins left. We thought long and hard about the cruise line but were assured that Costa had put in several safety measures on board each of its ships. We really shouldn't have been worried at all as the whole cruise was better than we had ever thought.

We had met some people on the cruise forum (high recommended) and joined with them on some of the excursions. We learned a lot from them as they had been on several cruises before. We arranged to meet on the 9th deck just after sailaway on the first day in Dubai. We hit it off straightaway which is unusual for four couples to do so.

The ship's embarkation procedure was really easy - we arrived in Dubai docks about two hours earlier and there was a small cafe to buy drinks and snacks which we did and sat and chatted to other couples who were as excited as we were. We were onboard within a couple of hours but weren't allowed in the cabins til 8pm. However, this didn't stop us wandering around the ship, the self service restaurant was open and we tucked into a lunch. As we had the all inclusive drinks package, which by the way, worked out really well for us, we were happy. We found that if you had one cappuccino, a couple of sodas, wine and a cocktail a day, you were quids in, so to speak.

The itinerary was amazing - we visited Mumbai, Goa and Cochin, Maldives,Sri Lanka, Phuket, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. All places were wonderful and apart from the very high humidity, as the trip went on, nothing could have stopped us from enjoying ourselves. During sea days of which there were 7 days, we met and chatted to other passengers, kept ourselves busy with cards etc and went to some very interesting talks.

The downside of the trip was trying to disembark at ports when you weren't on a Costa excursion. We had pre arranged for people to meet us at ports and we weren't allowed off the ship until all Costa excursion passengers had disembarked and this made us late for a couple of people who were meeting us. This should have been made clear to us on the website, under excursions, although i can't see any point in separating passengers so long as all get off in an orderly fashion.

You couldn't fault the meals and restaurant services. The staff were all very attentive, polite and helpful.

The evacuation and drill practice, which obviously needs to be done, took a long time as about 5 different languages were spoken and we had to stand through all of them. For some people, the sun was shining right on them and they were looking very hot. It must have taken about 30 mins. Some of the elderly people were complaining that they felt ill after this.

The entertainment, generally, was very good, especially the ones who were not part of the animation team. One or two of the shows were particularly outrageous and although some of the audience were enjoying it, most people left and had we been at the end of the row, we would also have left but to be courteous to the other guests, we stuck it out.

The English speaking rep, Danielle, was great and very helpful. She had a lot to do and probably a great deal to deal with but coped well.

The dining times changed from 7pm to 6pm when we boarded which was a little early but the second sitting was at 8.30pm.

The cabin was very spacious and every time we went out of the cabin, it seemed to have been cleaned again. Towels changed and bathroom tidied up regularly.

The wifi was very expensive on board but most ports had a wifi corner or else we found a local cafe offering free wifi if you bought a cuppa. Singapore airport was something else. We got there fairly early but we explored all three Terminals, finding the Sunflower garden, the Butterfly garden where you can walk through a load of butterflies and they land on you... and the koi carp pond, free leg massage machines, free movies and free wifi!

Another slightly annoying thing was the compulsory tipping at the beginning of the cruise. We felt quite bad that we didn't tip people that we had seen on a regular basis and who had helped us and we wanted to know that the tips were evenly spread out to the whole of the ships company and we weren't given any info on this. I know we could have but that would have defeated the object of paying the tips upfront at the beginning. I don't believe there would have been any refund if your cruise was bad.

Smoking was kept to one side of the ship (!) but it drifted over the other side. There were designated areas for smoking but you had to walk through them to get to the dining room etc.

There are so many brilliant points to this cruise and not many downsides. If you go with an open mind, with the ship looking good and intending to have a good time, you will. We loved it but as we don't have any more leave left from work, we won't be booking til next year....

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Sail Date: October 2012
Just back from the Costa Atlantica cruise.We got such a good deal with the cruise that we upgraded to the All Inclusive, which was well worth the money. Most drinks are covered unless you like really special whiskeys or brandies, gins etc. ... Read More
Just back from the Costa Atlantica cruise.We got such a good deal with the cruise that we upgraded to the All Inclusive, which was well worth the money. Most drinks are covered unless you like really special whiskeys or brandies, gins etc. We embarked at Heraklion, Crete and visited Santorini, Haifa, Alanya, Limasoll and Rhodes. This was out 3rd cruise and we really enjoyed it. Most of the ports were nice apart from Haifa in Israel. This was not nice with nothing much to see. We tend not to book excursions and just have wander to see what's in town. We enjoyed the food. There was a 5 course meal in the evening-you didnt have to order all 5 but the portions were just the right size. Being an Italian ship there was always a pasta course.The self service buffet was especially nice with a good selection. The staff were all fab and we enjoyed the cruise staff show in the theatre the most. We had a balcony cabin at the back of the ship which gave us an larger balcony but to be honest you didn't really get a view of the ports from here so we wouldnt choose this option again. We will definately go on another Costa ship-already looking at next year. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
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, ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Good points: The Food was FANTASTIC, I've put on 1/2 stone! The room was spacious and clean, thanks Gilbert The staff were very friendly and efficient The itinerary, of course The extra inclusive drinks package Good value for money ... Read More
Good points: The Food was FANTASTIC, I've put on 1/2 stone! The room was spacious and clean, thanks Gilbert The staff were very friendly and efficient The itinerary, of course The extra inclusive drinks package Good value for money all round Bad points: Our TV didn't work the whole week and no apology No self service laundry We didn't like that there was no buffet in the evening, this means that you're stuck with the main dining room unless you want pizza. Also, we requested a table for two but didn't get it, our dining companions were lovely people thank goodness, but say they hadn't been? This would be the only reason that we'd have second thoughts about booking Costa again. ------------------------------------------------------ We chose Costa because of their relaxed smoking policy but then stopped smoking! I think I'm in a position to give an objective view of the situation because I know it's a hot topic. I think that Costa have got the balance right, there are some smoking tables but it's not horrible for smokers or non smokers. It's certainly not as much as a free for all that I had expected ( and worried about since stopping) Our cabin didn't smell bad and there was only a slight whiff in the corridor on a couple of days. We found travelling with the majority of non English speakers to be a refreshing change,we didn't have to listen to folk whining for the sake of whining! Contrary to what I had read we found our fellow passengers to be gracious and polite. There was no more of a scrum at breakfast on this ship than there was on our other cruises. We were really sad to leave the Atlantica and would have happily stayed on for another month! If they changed the dining options I would book again tomorrow P.s We had a bottle of vodka in our luggage and it was confiscated until the last night. They take the no food and drink policy seriously. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Recently we travelled to Europe for the first time. As new retirees, and having disposed of children, we decided to travel for a month encompassing a cruise around the Greek Islands and then onto a European River Cruise, which I will rave ... Read More
Recently we travelled to Europe for the first time. As new retirees, and having disposed of children, we decided to travel for a month encompassing a cruise around the Greek Islands and then onto a European River Cruise, which I will rave about in another review. As I said, new to travelling so the first mistake was to fly without a break from Adelaide (Sth Australia) to Singapore, 6 hours layover then an 11hr flight to Athens. Another 4.5 hrs layover before a short flight to Heraklion (Crete). Singapore Airlines was fabulous, second leg was Agean Air and ok. By the time we got to Heraklion we were tired, hungry, smelly and ready for bed. Not really the thing to do when boarding a ship at 1:30pm. Embarkation process was long even though we were the only two people waiting to board Costa's Atlantica. Other passengers were trickling in slowly that day, most had boarded in Rhodes. Although our luggage left for the ship long before we did, it arrived an hour after we did. So the shower & fresh clothes had to wait. Italians don't do anything in a hurry. Our cabin was roomy with a balcony and a few hundred dollars more than an internal cabin. Worth it in the long run although Australians get charged a lot more than Europeans booking the same cruise, as I found out from fellow passengers. The bed was comfy, two large singles pushed together to make a king. Airconditioning was controllable and quite often needed to be turned down even though the weather was warm, September and 35-38 degrees Celsius. The Costa Atlantica is very spacious, holds 2680 passengers and 'over the top' with italian gaudiness. But their demographics are the Italians and they love all that stuff. As with most cruises, you have a choice of either restaurant (waited on) or buffet (all you can eat) venues for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you queue in the buffet, watch out for elbows and pushing and shoving. Australians, English and Americans are not used to the rudeness of these people (mainly Italians and Germans). But for variety we tried the buffet a few times and learnt to dive in like the rest of them. The food was high quality in both venues but aimed at Italians with very little fresh leafy greens. Most salads were covered in dressing of some sort and most contained pasta & potatoes amongst the various european vegetables. Food was plentiful and it was sad to see plates initially piled high and left half empty for the rubbish. Service by Cabin and Restaurant staff was excellent, mostly Phillipinos and they are excellent in making you feel extra special. Happy, always smiling and go out of their way for you. We did not attend the evening entertainment, most of it was in Italian and like everything else, not aimed at other nationalities. All messages over the 'loud-speaker' were in 5 languages - Italian, Spanish, German, French and English last. If the ship was sinking, you would feel the water before you heard the message. The main reason why we chose this cruise line was for the ports of call and the excursions. We embarked in Heraklion and visited Kos, Samos, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Izmir (Turkey) and disembarked at Heraklion. Of the 2100 passengers, 250 were classed as English speaking and most that we spoke to had pre-booked their excursions. The excursions were Costa's downfall. Of the 6 we pre-booked, 3 were cancelled. Another Australian couple had booked 8 and 7 of theirs were cancelled. On asking the excursion director, the reason was "Not enough English speaking people booked the excursions" - sorry, that didn't cut it with us. Many other English speaking passengers had theirs cancelled and no discussion, no other options, no alternatives were given to us. Yes, we got a refund but this didn't help us get to the sites we wanted to see. We had to make our own way around some of the islands, which was better and cheaper but we had no help from the cruise line. In fact, quite often we were given wrong information about what was available on the islands. Quite a few of us agreed, after discussions with many other 'english' passengers, that they just couldn't be bothered obtaining English speaking guides for the excursions. Strange, as English is second language to the Greeks. If I had the chance again, I would hire taxis in most locations and find our own way to the excursion sites. Example: Costa charged 56 euros pp for a 2hr trip to Lindos (which was cancelled for us) We hired Mike, taxi driver who used to live in Adelaide!, had him for 5.5 hours, visited Lindos, Butterfly Valley and other sightseeing places for 50 euros each. That day worked out in our favour. Disembarkation was smooth and quick and I was glad to move onto the next part of our holiday. To summarise, I would definitely revisit the Greek Islands but I will never bother to cruise with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
The overall experience on Costa Atlantica was poor. Most of the crew were not very friendly with exception of Room Steward, some bar staff and Wait staff at dinner. I thought that cruise line took advantage of exchange rate as all items ... Read More
The overall experience on Costa Atlantica was poor. Most of the crew were not very friendly with exception of Room Steward, some bar staff and Wait staff at dinner. I thought that cruise line took advantage of exchange rate as all items charged on ship were in Euros vice dollars even though most of cruise ports in Caribbean take dollars. Additionally, this is the first cruise line that charged 5 Euros/person for room service - I guess that have to make their money anyway that they can. Breakfast in ship dining room was disappointing as they serve buffet style that was almost the same food as buffet upstairs. When asked for menu, the staff gave you a disgruntled look and said it would take a long time for service (which was not true). I had eggs benedict one day and it came with rock hard toast (no English muffin). The upstairs buffet had a limited selection food choices when compared to other cruise lines. The wait staff in buffet area seemed lazy and not very proactive in providing coffee or juice refills. They had a limited choice of juices. The evening buffet was very limited in selection (e.g., hamburger hot dogs and some salads) and they did not have any tomatoes for hamburgers. Make sure you eat in dinner room or you will be disappointed. The evening meal was generally good food, although I thought they should have provided more choices and perhaps a light food menu. Our wait staff at dinner was excellent. I was disappointed they the ship did not provide a daily news of current events - for a price they will provide a newspaper to your room. Internet service was ten Euros/hour or three hours for 24 Euros. The wifi was a little slow downloading connection programs, but was ok. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
My wife and I have been on 30+ cruises and this ranks tops in our book. The good: Very smooth ship, never felt any movement at all. Best ballroom dancing at sea, excellent non stop ballroom music from 5:30pm - 1am on Deck 2 Madam ... Read More
My wife and I have been on 30+ cruises and this ranks tops in our book. The good: Very smooth ship, never felt any movement at all. Best ballroom dancing at sea, excellent non stop ballroom music from 5:30pm - 1am on Deck 2 Madam Butterfly Lodge. They have two groups there that plays continuously correct dance tempo music. Lots of quiet places to seat and relax. Great crew, very friendly. Great dining room staff. Very hard working entertainment staff, goes non stop morning to night, very funny and friendly. Cabin is clean and comfortable. Ship is in great condition. The crew cleans non-stop. Production shows are excellent. Fantastic dancers and singers. Extremely funny pool games, no need to understand which language is being used. The not so good: Most of the food is OK, the variety is limited. Vegetable selection is very limited. Bread, pastry and dessert is pretty bad. The worst room service food ever. TV and TV program is very poor. So don't believe all the negative reports, try it for your self and see. Read Less
Costa Atlantica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 3.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.2

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