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Sail Date: March 2012
We were a group of six, having chosen this cruise because of the itinerary. Having read some of the reviews online our expectations of the cruise were really great low. Consequently we were pleasantly surprised and really did wonder what ... Read More
We were a group of six, having chosen this cruise because of the itinerary. Having read some of the reviews online our expectations of the cruise were really great low. Consequently we were pleasantly surprised and really did wonder what people were talking about with some of the negative reviews. We are not novice cruises and would easily rate Costa Atlantica up there with other cruises we have taken. The ship was very nice,clean,decor,nice although a bit on the gaudy side. Staff were attentive from the main lobby,to cabin steward( probably one of the best stewards we have had, efficient, attentive, pleasant), to the evening time wait staff in the dining room were top notch. We had signed on for late dining but found 9:00 a bit too late and had no difficulty switching to early dining( 6:15, found that a bit too early, time now Costa for open dining!!)Our itinerary did not disappoint, enjoyed some wonderful beach stops. Did two excursions from the ship, very pleased with those.Entertainment was excellent, their singers and dancers were very professional. Best price yet on any of the cruises for internet connection, 1 hour, $10.00. What we did find unusual, not really considered negative but different from other cruises, a surcharge for room service at breakfast between the hours of 5:00am and 11:00 am with no surcharge after that time.Breakfast in the dining room included, menu service as well as a buffet. Service at breakfast could be improved upon. Food selection in dining room at lunch was limited but not so in the evening. Food quality was good to very good.I guess every cruise has one or two things that you might not like. Given the recent difficulties on Costa we did have to take part in two Safety demonstrations while on a ten day cruise. At least we felt it had something to do with those difficulties. We have certainly been on cruises before over 7 days and only ever had to do one safety demonstration. Given these incidents we felt this to be quite appropriate!!Would certainly do a Costa cruise again!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
This ship when brand new must have been spectacular, too bad they don't seem to be able to keep it clean. Dirty windows, dirty carpet, dirty drapes, furniture, Sticky tables to eat or just read or play games on. But it had some good ... Read More
This ship when brand new must have been spectacular, too bad they don't seem to be able to keep it clean. Dirty windows, dirty carpet, dirty drapes, furniture, Sticky tables to eat or just read or play games on. But it had some good points as well and I'll discuss them first but it will be hard to do considering the limitations and exceptions we noted. Our dinner waiter and bus boy were outstanding! They always remembered to bring my wife and I a pitcher of Iced tea at dinner and plenty of cream (not just milk) for our coffee. The Dinner entree choices were very limited, and no steak or lobster was ever offered to us. What they did make available was generally very tasty, though often the meat was overcooked and tough. The limited choices available for appetizers, soups, salads, pasta and desserts, however, were generally very good. Just don't count on Haute cuisine or many options. The cruise staff, those people who provide daily activities, danced with the passengers in the ballroom dancing lounge and participated in a few of the shows, were probably the hardest working group we've ever had. They did their best to keep us entertained. That said, however, there were many long periods during the day when no planned activities were available on the ship. Thank goodness they provided us with a scrabble game to use while on board. If you love Ballroom dancing either as a participant or as a watcher, this is your ship. All evening long, every evening you could dance your night away. Unfortunately that was about all you could do. Don't get me wrong, they did have shows every night but not all were worth attending. For example, the first night they showed a Frank Sinatra concert movie. That's it, a 45 minute movie of a 1970's concert. There was the obligatory crew show, the passenger talent show, three song and dance shows performed by the on-board troupe (who were good but not spectacular), and only three "professional" acts (one magician, one soul-gospel singer who sang as loudly as she could to make up for her merely adequate voice, and an Italian crooner who couldn't hold a long note.) In ten days only three (two mediocre) professional acts? That's what you might expect on a seven not a ten night cruise. The cruise staff did on several evenings put on games for the cruisers and did their very best to make them amusing and fun events. Overall, there was little to do in the evenings unless you like to dance or if you like to spend a lot of money drinking, drinking at the many bars on the ship where they did provide musicians and sometimes singers to entertain you. But for those who don't or can't drink a lot, all you were left to do is gamble in the casino. The rooms, we had an inside room. were adequate in size, larger than on some ships we traveled and the water pressure of the shower was among the best we've experienced. The TVs were relics of the 80's or 90's and were both poor in visual and audio quality. The cabin steward did an adequate job, but did nothing exceptionally well and had to reminded several times to bring us extra towels. The level of cleanliness was barely adequate, as ground-in dirt was evident everywhere you looked. This is an international ship. Those of us from the US were in the minority. 80% (or more) of the passengers were European, with Italians and Germans accounting for the majority of the European passengers. Hence all announcements had to made in FIVE languages, Italian (this is of course an Italian ship) German, French, Spanish and English. Problem was the crew, who is mostly Italian, when speaking in English, did so with a hard Italian accent, putting emphasis on the wrong syllables and often speaking English at the same very fast rate Italian is spoken (English and German are among the slowest spoken languages) AND to complicate matters more, once the Italian and German messages were read, those passengers would begin to engage in conversation thus drowning out the messages spoken in the other three languages. Only when the made the announcement first in English, or right after the French and/or Spanish language messages were spoken, did we have a decent chance to hear our English spoken messages. PS most of the English speakers on board were Canadian. They were a great group of people to hang out with and we often formed teams of "North Americans" to compete against the Italians and Germans during the games of skill and knowledge put on during the day light hours. If it wasn't for our Canadian friends we would have had difficulty in finding any English speakers on board, though Costa did their best to try to seat people at the restaurants by the language they spoke, and organize the excursions similarly. Then there is one more observation we made about our Italian and German shipmates. Many, many many of them were rude, often pushing and elbowing you out of the way to get to something they wanted, to get a head of you, cutting in on lines, etc. Generally they were both obnoxious and unaware of the words "excuse me" (or the German or Italian counterparts which sound very much like excuse me). If those of us from the US are the so called "Ugly Americans", then the Germans or Italians should be known as the "Medusan Europeans!" Be prepared. I'm originally from the NY metropolitan area so I know how to apply defensive skills when I have to and I found myself resorting to them way too often. We had two life boat drills while on board. I wonder why? Could the Concordia incident have anything to do with that? Food other than dinner. Breakfast - unless you waited on line at Omelet Station in the buffet restaurant the eggs were usually runny and undercooked. The bacon was dead the sausages undercooked and everything was luke-cool (luke-warm would have given it more credit than it deserved) to downright cold. The restaurant was no better for breakfast. No cream only milk or skim milk for coffee. No pancake syrup for the cold tough pancakes and french toast. An overall underwhelming experience. Lunch - In the Restaurant was not bad. Food often was warm. Variety was very limited but it was warm. At the buffet, well it often looked as bad as it tasted. Best lunches we had were off the ship in port! Midnight buffet - what buffet? There was none! They served the leftover pastries from Dinner and only at the Casino. Wonder why they make you go to the casino to get them, hmm, could it be they wanted you to gamble! There was a pizza station at night, but usually it was a simple cheese pizza or vegetable pizza, rarely did it contain any meat toppings. Oh, if you wanted ice tea at night, you had to hunt for it and often there was none. So your choices were plain water or Soda at $2.75 plus tip (added automatically to the cost) per CAN of soda! There was no soda package for adults and if you wanted a drink package each member of your party, whether they drink or not, had to buy it at $26/day for every day of the cruise. This was considered an 11 day cruise and that meant shelling out over $275 per person. Or you could buy individual cocktails at $7.80 (plus the mandatory tip) per drink. Despite the above, we liked the ports we went to and we meet some very nice people on board which made the journey a pleasant one despite the shortcomings of the ship. One final point and it is a personal issue that upset me and may or may not seem to be a big deal to others considering cruising on a Costa ship. On the 7th day of the cruise my foot was injured when the plastic drainage grate surrounding the hot tub collapsed as I tried to enter the hot tub. I believe that the individual 8" long grate pieces which were held in-place by plastic male connectors fitting into the female receptacles of the next piece of grating had broken repeatedly before I tried to enter the hot tub. Each time breaking of more and more of the male connectors until there weren't enough to maintain the structural integrity of the grates. My foot was cut in two places and pieces of the few remaining male connectors broke off and punctured my foot. I had to receive medical attention by the ship's doctor who had to remove these pieces of plastic where they punctured my foot. The medical treatment I received was very good. I understand accidents can happen, but the ship's crew needed to have repaired this grate long before I stepped on it. Even after my accident, they merely shifted the pieces of the grate around, leaving gaps in the grate, where another incident like mine could happen. What upsets me the most was at first the ship's Purser told me that I would be charged for the medical treatment I received (which turned out to be wrong as I was reassured 12 hours later by the Ship's Chief Medical Officer that I would not be charged since my injury was not my fault), but even worse, neither while on board the ship or to this day (6 days after I disembarked) has anyone from the ship's crew (company) or from Costa (or its parent company Carnivale) contacted me to ask me how I was feeling or doing!! Even though I filled out the ship's Security accident report, not one word!! Its as if they simply don't care. Maybe they don't! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Embarkation: We were three hours late for embarkation, due to mechanical failure on one of our flights. We called the emergency number located in our cruise documents and to our suprise were told not to worry, ship is also delayed and wont ... Read More
Embarkation: We were three hours late for embarkation, due to mechanical failure on one of our flights. We called the emergency number located in our cruise documents and to our suprise were told not to worry, ship is also delayed and wont be leaving port until midnight. Lucky for us. When we got to the port, embarkation was easy, we were told Atlantica never leaves port on time and they were still waiting for over 200 guests. Food: Food was okay, not the best, but we didn't starve. The buffet was typical, breakfast was redundant, but many selections. Lunches were good. Dinner at the main restaurant was also good, but took a while being five courses long, not so good for our 4 and 6 year old. Dinner service was great.Srver accomodated all kinds of requests for us. If you have young kids stay away from the kids menu and order of the regular selections. When we finally found the Tuscan resaurant on board (indicated in our newsletter as open seating for dinner) we found out that it was actually called Club Atlantica, required reservations and a surcharge of 33 dollars per person. Room service also came with a$7 per person charge. Not a big deal, but we were told room service would be included. Furnishings: Ship was beautiful, cabin was also nice. Mattress and pillows were just about unbearable, but our 4 and 6 year old loved the bunks.Ship and room were clean. Activities: Kids had fun at the Squok Club, and asked to go back even though most communication was done in Italian. There were English speaking employees who talked to and played with our kids. Our kids enjoyed earning Squok dollars and got a nice gift from Costa at the end of the cruise.Pools were nice, but kids were not allowed in the hot tubs, this was very disappointing to our kids, especially in the evenings. We were kicked out by security guards several times. Because of the dinner times, we could not enjoy going to the shows as they ended up being to late for our kids. Safety: We missed the fist emergency drill. There was a review for passengers who missed this drill the next day, but it was not in the newsletter and no staff member could tell us were it was, we found this inexplicable considering that one of their ships recently sank. There was a second drill later in the cruise that everyone participated in again. Ports: We chose this cruise mostly for it's ports of call. Ports of call were great and we did some fun stuff like river tubing, although we booked our excursions independently. AS with the other lines we have cruised, when tendering, those who book excursions on the ship get to leave, while th rest of us wait. Disembarkation: A nightmare. We had to be out of our room by 8am. There was a early breakfast until 9am. We had to wait until just before twelve noon to get off the ship. We were not allowed to leave any earlier, there was nothing to do except buy drinks at the bar, I admit, lost interest in trying to keep my 4 and 6 year old well disciplined. We did try to leave but were told we had to stay on the ship. The employees than blocked the deck door so we could not get off. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We were on Costa Atlantica from February 17th to 27th, 2012 If you were thinking about cruising with them, I hope to help you with your choice. If you already booked with them, I wish you have better service than we did. Too many ... Read More
We were on Costa Atlantica from February 17th to 27th, 2012 If you were thinking about cruising with them, I hope to help you with your choice. If you already booked with them, I wish you have better service than we did. Too many languages are spoken in each announcements, Italian, Spanish, German, English, French 2 evacuation drills (first time we see that) in a 10 day cruise, in... 5 languages each, is too long Crew members do not seem to be happy being there. They do not smile (I could count on my 10 fingers those who did during our 10 day cruise). They do not make us feel welcomed. What we liked on our previous 8 cruises was that crew members made us feel like prince and princess and always ready to do something to make our day. Not on this ship. No inside (quiet) pool Almost no lounge chairs under shaded area Too much smoking areas = too much smoke. Even on the balcony No news paper recap, from the rest of the world. Although it is written in the book in each stateroom that it should be provided The safe in each stateroom, locks with the use of door card. But must be unlocked with the same card used to lock it ... If the other one went for a walk with this card... just too bad So and so cuisine, sometimes not good. What we always said about cruises was that you always eat well (sometimes too well). Not on this ship. Waiters don't introduce themselves on the first diner Waiters have too many table to serve to give good quality service Waiters never came back to ask if the meal was good Waiters never said (like on other cruise lines) that if we do not like a meal, that they will be glad to serve another one They do not serve coffee at diner in Dining room. They say they do not have time to do so. They do not serve tap water at diner in Dining room. Only bottled water from... Italy. Not very green, in my opinion. First diner at dining room, instead of being welcomed by the waiter, he was upset because he heard all of us speak french (we are french Canadian). We said that we all can speak English and that it was no problem to us. Well, he insisted that it said on his list that we were English speaking... He was rude taking our orders, like we were never fast enough for him to tell him each meal we wanted. He was rude serving our plates, and literally threw parmesan cheese on my plate before I finished saying yes I wanted some, and droped some of it on my arms, since he had no manners So after the very first diner we went to see maitre D (being followed by our waiter to hear what we would say) Maitre D was not very welcoming either, and when we told him we wanted to switch for another table, he was not very receptive, asking why we had that request. So we told him that we did not like our waiters. He made no fuss about it. The second diner we were at another table, but the service was barely improved... One of us did not like one main course meal and the waiters never realised that he did not eat. They asked him, as they were taking away other's plate, if he was finished... He said he was not please with it, and they said nothing. So he asked them to see maitre D. Well maitre D came... the following night... and never inquired about the problem. If you go to an island with tender, do not book a tour with a private tour company at a fixed time. We had to argue with cruise employees to get on a tender 45 minutes before our excursion and we finally got on land 50 minutes later. Needless to say we missed our tour and lost our deposit. When we got back on the tender at the end of the day, we were stucked on it, next to our ship, during 30 minutes, without being said a word from the tender crew why we did not get to the ship. We found out later the it was because the ship had to move closer to shore because of rough waves. A simple explanation wouldn't have cost much... Because 3 or 4 tenders waited next to the ship for so long, a long line built up on the sidewalk at pier waiting for the next tenders. Because Costa did not think of using ropes for the people in lines, some people got into the line, from everywhere, in front of those waiting. Arguments and almost fights started and the security agent had to call the police to calm people. Of course we enjoyed ourselves, besides all that. I said during these 10 days, that there are worse living conditions in the world, than that. But there are better cruise lines. We had to try Costa to know about them. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, make you happy thinking of your next cruise. It is sad that for the same price, Costa do not care about it or about you. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
I sailed from Miami on February 27th for 10 nights in the Western Caribbean on COSTA Atlantica. Let me start with the few good things about the ship. First, its a beautiful boat especially the 10 deck tall main lobby...very impressive. ... Read More
I sailed from Miami on February 27th for 10 nights in the Western Caribbean on COSTA Atlantica. Let me start with the few good things about the ship. First, its a beautiful boat especially the 10 deck tall main lobby...very impressive. Second, the price was right. For an inside cabin the base cost of this cruise was about $70 per person per day. Third, the beverage package offered on board was a very good deal. For a total of $520 two people had unlimited drinks for 10 days. It excluded some premium liquor and only allowed a limited selection of house wines, but the drinks were good and very cheap. That exhausts the good things I have to say about COSTA. If I had to summarize my experience in one word that word would be incompetence. Let me be specific. Embarkation - We arrived at the boat quite early because of our flights from the northeast to Miami. We were at the pier by 10:30 am. i knew that we could not board by then but was hoping we could drop off our luggage. There was mass confusion, with no one able to tell us when and where we could leave our luggage. Multiple COSTA employees on the pier gave us conflicting information, and suggested that we stand on the sidewalk and wait for an announcement. After we did that for quite a while and no announcement was made we saw some porters who were taking luggage. Finally we were able to drop off our luggage so we could walk to a near by shopping area and kill some time prior to boarding. When we returned and went through the boarding process the facility had very little seating available (less than 5% of the people waiting could sit down). When we finally got on board I knew the experience would be less than what we had come to expect when cruising on lines such as Celebrity. There was no one to greet you with champagne and no one to offer to show you to your room or to offer to help with carry on bags. Instead you were directed to go to deck 9 where the buffet was open. The whole experience was disorganized and reeked of being treated like cattle. Your Fellow Passengers - My estimate is that 70% of the passengers were Italian, about 20% were French, and the balance was German, Canadian, and American. There were MANY children. I deliberately booked at this time of year to avoid the U.S. school vacations, but it didn't occur to me that there would be so many European children on board. This meant that it was basically impossible to enjoy the pools on board, since they were almost always mobbed with lots of loud and unruly children whose parents seem to let them do whatever they want. There was virtually no attempt by the crew to control children running in the pool area on the decks or in the corridors. Also, I must say that in virtually all the public spaces on the ship the din of very loud conversation (mostly Italian) was overwhelming. In fact the whole atmosphere was one of course rudeness. People routinely cut in front of you in lines, smoked in non-smoking areas, and were generally unpleasant with no attempt by the staff to control this or enforce the rules. When I spoke to the "English Language Host" on board and told her that I wish the staff would try to enforce the smoking rules she herself expressed frustration with it but did not offer to in any way intervene.The Food - The food was, at best, fair. The variety was poor, particularly in the buffet room. Many items from the steam trays were cold. Don't expect high end items on this boat like sushi, lox, eggs Benedict, lobster, artisan breads and pastries, or other things which you have come to expect on quality cruise lines. Tipping - In conversations I had with staff I was told they they do not get any of the tip which the cruise line routinely adds to your bill. For two people on a 10 night cruise COSTA automatically adds $220 to your bill. If you know enough to dispute this they will take it off your bill, but otherwise you just pay it and it does note effect the pay of the stewards, or waiters at all. This seems like a scam to me. Debarkation - This was as much a nightmare as embarkation. Instead of lining the luggage up by color code in a large space and allowing people to claim their luggage in an orderly way (like Celebrity does) they had hundreds of people jammed in a small luggage carousel area struggling to pull their bags off the line. There was pushing, shoving, yelling and a general sense of disorganized incompetence. If this cruise was an example of the management oversight of COSTA I must say that I am not surprised that the COSTA Concordia ran aground in the Mediterranean! The take home message is....spend a couple hundred dollars more and sail on a Cruise Line like Celebrity, or Princess, or Royal Caribbean where they treat there customers right, and where the focus is on quality Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I am an avid cruiser and I had sailed on virtually all major cruse lines including Costa before I took my Dec29-Jan8 Caribbean cruise on Costa Atlantica. The good: like all other cruise lines, Costa follows its itinerary, the ... Read More
I am an avid cruiser and I had sailed on virtually all major cruse lines including Costa before I took my Dec29-Jan8 Caribbean cruise on Costa Atlantica. The good: like all other cruise lines, Costa follows its itinerary, the rooms/bars/restaurants/shows are OK compared to the other mainstream cruise lines. The bad: they have been absolutely disorganized, careless about customers and have messed up things we could have not even imagined. Below are only the facts from my real experience: 1. Booking. We couldn't book Costa cruise on the weekend. Their computers were rejecting all reservations and their agents didn't work during the weekend. This issue was confirmed by travel agencies and fellow passengers on the ship. Good side: my room was still available on Monday, as they nobody could buy it over the weekend. 2. Embarkation. They didn't properly process our documents and on the way back the officer at the border couldn't see that we had ever left USA for the cruise. Not a big deal for me but it could have created immigration problems for those on visitors visas. 3. Missing room credit. Our cruise was sold with the $100 room credit but on the ship they just said that "our computers don't see the credit". I spent 7 days in a row talking and escalating and every day the response was "come back tomorrow". After 7 days, they finally admitted: we cannot solve it, essentially meaning "we have stolen your money, go to hell". 4. Internet service - they may mislead you and steal your time. To disconnect, they said to type "logout.wifi" from any browser. So we did, and got confirmation "You've been logged out" But our internet time still disappeared. Through trial and error we found a way: after typing "logout.wifi" there's one more "logout" button to click which they never told us about. After clicking there I got a message "you have been properly (!!!) logged out. The counter has been stopped". They never advertise this as the way to PROPERLY log out. 5. Finally, their port service. I was unfortunate to forget some items in the stateroom after I disembarked on Sunday. I already knew that Costa doesn't work on the weekends, but in the daily bruchure they posted a telephone of their Miami port agent "for emergencies" while on shore. So I called that number and discovered that they were all out for the weekend. Nice EMERGENCY service, thank you Costa! Thank you for the time spent reading this long review, I hope it would be helpful for future travellers. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We cruised with our sons (1,2 and 6) and some friends and their kids. We were about 10 adults and 7 kids and had a good time, but it could have been better. The service was between mean and very bad. We booked this cruise about 9 months ... Read More
We cruised with our sons (1,2 and 6) and some friends and their kids. We were about 10 adults and 7 kids and had a good time, but it could have been better. The service was between mean and very bad. We booked this cruise about 9 months beforehand and reserved/asked for a table for all of us. On the first night, we were given two tables, apart from each others. No Maitre was there to talk to- we tried everything and were told to come back the next morning. Again: No one there. So we were told to ask again in the evening. We did and finally met the Maitre, who asked, why we did not complain right away? Well... In the end after long discussions and begging - we did not get a table together, which was very annoying as the group had to split every evening, which was especially for the kids a problem. In the end we found out, that they would have to rearrange the tables for the second seating and did not want to do that. I was kind of disappointed about this. The service was ok and I expected less as we paid less than on the Christmas/New Year cruises with Celebrity or HAL, and we got less. As soon as it came to special request or a problem, the crew could not/did not want to/was not interested in dealing with it. This was probably the greatest disadvantage compared to other lines. BUT- the standard service was ok and our steward was great. Out Butler was an impertinence, but we learned to avoid him. The room was very nice and spacious and we enjoyed the sweet suit life. Food: Mediocre to bad, except the pasta and risotto dishes. I would compare the standard of food to NCL, but with better Pasta and pizza. I am a foody and not even very impressed by HAL or Celebrity, so again I did not expect much. One could find something and we always ordered the whole 6 or 7 courses, so if something was not nice, we just did not have it. Other passengers: Interesting. Many italians, who were a bit rude (compared to americans) but also a lot of fun. I 'd say about 70 % were italians, the rest was a mix of Europeans and few Americans. I personally prefer (now I know that) American ships with anglo-american passengers. I saw some Germans, complaining all the time, which was nearly funny. Still- no German ships for us. There weren't very many children on board, more than on HAL, but less than I expected, considering they are free. The new years eve party was ok, but not great. They did not care in preparing a lot, but we had our friends and enjoyed the evening a lot- the children also had fun and we all partied until 2 on deck in the tropical warm night. Ports: Grand Turk - we knew the island and so the guys went to dive and the girls to Pillory Beach. We had a great time and wonderful Conch salad. Jamaica: As it was the 1 of january, everything was closed. We had arranged a tout with Jamaica VIP, which was amazing. Ochos Rios did not look that great, so we left for Robins bay and had a really great time. Alfred provides a great service. Grand Cayman: Some of us rented jeeps and toured the whole island, found a beach for ourselves in the south western part, had a picnic and snorkeled. Great day! Seven miles beach was nice, but too crowed for me. The national park was nice. Roatan: We did a tour with our group. Went to see Carambola Gardens, met the monkeys, the guys did the big Zip-line (Priates of the caribbean, girls went to Parrot Beach and later we all had some lunch in a local restaurant in Coxen hole, right at the water. Cozumel: 10 of us rented Jeeps, visited San Gervasio, stopped at the beach on the west coast for food and swimming, went to the Park del Sur, saw the crodiles and had a great time at the beach at the light house. We went to a local restaurant for some seafood (as we did not like it on the ship) and had a nice meals , viewing the sunset. Nassau: We rented a car and toured the island, as we had been in Nassau before for several days. Found a nice spot near Coral habour and spend the afternoon on paradies island. Embarkation was smooth, disembarkation a mess- and our group could not leave at the same time. We asked for this well in advance but we could get off at nine, others at 10 and the rest at 11. When we asked again, we were told that this can not be changed. Well.... Would I go Costa again? Probably not, but I might if the itinerary and the price is good. You get less if you pay less. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Itinerary: Naples to Naples with port calls: Messina, Rhodes, Limassol, Marmaris, Santorini, Katakolon, Savona, Naples (10 nights) I booked this cruise based on its itinerary leaving and returning to Naples, very close to where I ... Read More
Itinerary: Naples to Naples with port calls: Messina, Rhodes, Limassol, Marmaris, Santorini, Katakolon, Savona, Naples (10 nights) I booked this cruise based on its itinerary leaving and returning to Naples, very close to where I live. This was a back-to-back cruise for me because I was on the previous cruise to the Aegean and Black Sea with final destination Naples where my wife would be joining me. I was pleased to be sailing again on the Costa Atlantica, a ship I had always read favorable comments about on Cruise Critic and other cruise sites. It has been judged to be one of the best ships of the Costa fleet, if not the best. I thoroughly agree. Much of this review is a repeat of the one I wrote for the first cruise. Both my wife and I are Costa Club members; I being Gold Pearl while she is still Coral category. Embarkation: For this cruise most all the passengers had embarked at the day before at Savona from where I remained on board for the extension to Naples. I met my wife outside the Naples cruise terminal about 16.30 and helped her with check-in and boarding. I had brought with me her cruise card and of course already had my own which covered the period of both cruises. The ship itself was docked about 500 meters east of the terminal at the Calata di Massa port but Costa had free shuttle buses running back and forth. We boarded at 17.15 without problems and went immediately to our cabin and her bag was delivered about a half hour later. The Ship: The 86,000 ton Atlantica was built by Costa in 2000 (and was followed in 2003 by its sister ship, the Mediterranea). It has twelve passenger decks of which six have the cabins (which number 1057, most with private balconies). The Atlantica carries a crew of about 900 members and has a total passenger capacity of around 2,700 but only with every bed and bunk occupied (the passengers on this cruise numbered 2,060). The decks all are named after famous films directed by Federico Fellini. The first deck has the cheaper cabins (insides and outsides with port holes), the main kitchens, infirmary, and a large ballroom in the bow. Decks 2 and 3 hold all the public areas, i.e. the two deck main dining room, shops, offices, bars and lounges, casino, library, disco, and theatre. Decks 4 through 8 have all the balcony cabins and suites plus a few insides. The Squok Club for kids is at the bow of Deck 8. Deck 9 has the spa, gym, pizzeria, self service restaurant and three swimming pools, one of which has a moveable overhead cover. The elegant Club Atlantica specialty restaurant is on Deck 10 which is perfect for long walks because it wraps around the entire ship - two laps around and you've walked or run a kilometer. The 11th and 12th decks are for the sun loungers when there isn't too much wind. The captain on this cruise was Giuseppe Russo from Sorrento while his first officer was Francesco Parisi who divides his time between the ship and his home in Tupelo, Mississippi, USA. The cruise director was Petra Malin. The Cabin: Our cabin was number 7218 on Deck 7 named the Intervista Deck. It was a standard outside cabin with balcony which turned out to be quite nice and comfortable and more than adequate for our needs. It supposedly measured 23 square meters but this included the balcony and bathroom. The king size bed was quite comfortable as were the pillows. The air conditioning worked fine but was too chilly unless the thermostat was turned a little toward the warm side. We tended to keep the balcony door open when in the cabin (including night) because we preferred the outside sea air to the AC (which automatically shut off when the door was opened). The day area of the cabin had a three person couch, small table, and a hassock for the wide desk. Lighting in both day and night areas was good and there were two large mirrors. The dressing area by the entrance door was very good with a three-door wardrobe (a third of which contained shelves and the electronic safe) with lots of hangers. The desk had drawers for clothing and miscellaneous with a new hair dryer in one. The bathroom wasn't huge but was more than adequate. The shower worked great with plenty of hot water and excellent pressure except in the evening before dinner when it was necessary to increase the hot setting. The inlaid sink had a large mirror above it with shelves and compartments to hold everything. Good lighting, and two hooks on the door. The Gold Pearl perks were especially nice: Thick fluffy bathrobes by Frette, slippers, luxury bath toiletries and soap, after sun creme, and even face cloths! The towels (two bath and two hand) were changed as necessary twice a day and were generally fluffy but frequently the hand towels were a bit worn. Our excellent cabin steward was named Marnie who hailed from the Philippeans. Both his Italian and English were very good and he provided outstanding service. As Costa Club members we always had a bowl of fresh fruit in the cabin which was frequently replenished. The cabin was quiet, no vibrations, and even when the sea was rough I noticed only minimal movement except for one night. I always book a mid-ship cabin with cabin decks above and below which usually ensures low noise levels and minimal ship movement. In conclusion, we were very satisfied with this cabin. Service and Staff: The staff members in the Customer Service and Excursion offices to be professional, friendly, and very helpful whenever I had a question or had need of their services. It was interesting to learn that Costa personnel are divided into four different classes. The first are the officers that sail the ship, with gold rank insignia (bars with a circle). Next are the sub-officers and specialists with gold insignia (only bars) most of whom are in the engineering department. The STAFF run the hotel services, administration, customer service, excursion office, kitchens, restaurants and bars. The staff officers and sub-officers wear the same rank as the superior officers but with red and gold insignia. Last class is the CREW who make up the majority of the ship's personnel; the waiters, barmen, deck crew, pool attendants, warehousemen, cargo handlers, baggage service, laundry, etc. Each class has their own mess which are located on Deck 1, known as the "white area" because of its white walls and flooring. Department chiefs, chefs, maitre's and bar managers are staff while their assistants are crew. Interesting. Passenger Mix and Demographics: Even though all the cabins were occupied, there were only 2,100 passengers aboard for this cruise. The figures given to me by one of the staff at Customer Services showed the French to be the dominant passenger load with over 900 aboard. Italians and Germans were well represented. There were 64 British, 10 Americans and six Australians among the minorities. Most all of the passengers were aged fifty-plus but there were also a good number of families with small children. Cleanliness: Like all Costa ships, the policy on the Atlantica was to clean and polish every surface and corner possible constantly. There were hand sanitizers at the entrances to the restaurant and buffets, as well as at the boarding points. Smoking: As non-smokers we had no problems on board the Atlantica. Even in lounges where smoking areas were present, there was very little smell. The casino which is usually the smokiest area of a ship seemed almost pleasant. Smoking of course was prohibited in areas like the restaurants, theatre, shops and corridors and in the bars and lounges was permitted only at designated tables. Restaurants and Bars: The Atlantica had one main dining room (MDR) called the Tiziano Restaurant located aft on two decks, the 2nd and 3rd. The upper portion was a wide balcony overlooking the tables below and was connected with stairways. The MDR was open for breakfast and lunch with open seating, and two closed sittings for dinner at 18.30 and 21.00. The ship's specialty restaurant was called the Club Atlantica, an elegant venue with a piano bar up on the 10th and 11th decks. There were eight principal bars with three on the upper decks and one each in the main lounges on Decks 2 and 3. The most appreciated bar was the Caffe Florian, modeled on the Piazza San Marco bar of the same name in Venice. MDR: As always, we ask for the second sitting in the MDR which we find more relaxing, quieter, and more to our normal style. We were assigned to table number 234 on the restaurant's upper level with a Peruvian waiter named Omar, friendly and competent; less so his assistant who may have been fairly new. We share our table with three other couples. Our maitre d' was the ever friendly Gennaro from Naples. The food from the Atlantica's MDR kitchen was better than on the other Costa ships we've experienced. Regarding drinks at the table, we had our choice between jugs of free iced tap water or pay-for bottled. We drink wine with our meals and found the wine list to be good with prices for Italian reds in the 17 to 28 euro range. One bottle would last us three evenings and the waiter would cork it and save it for the next time. Self Service Restaurant: This was the Bofficelli buffet which occupied almost half of the 9th deck aft. We used the buffet for breakfast and lunch and had little problem finding an unoccupied place to sit with my tray. The breakfast selections were generally always the same but there were so many things to choose from it was difficult to find fault, with the various nationalities finding items to their liking. There were several omelet stations for eggs cooked to order and everything from cold sliced meats and cheeses, pickled herring, scrambled eggs, french toast, pancakes, sausages, bacon, potatoes, etc. as well as sliced and whole fruit, cereals including muesli, corn flakes, etc. and various juices, American type coffee, tea, and water from the dispensers. The buffet lunch always had Italian salads, pastas, and meat/fowl/fish dishes, as well a carvery and daily ethnic items. In keeping with the Costa policy of appeasing all cultures, the water, coffee and tea dispensers were open all day long and in the late afternoon, sliced pizza was available and from 21.00 onward, whole pizzas were served by waiters in the pizzeria on Deck 9. Bars: As far as the bars went, we found the best espresso coffee to be had at the Aurora Bar aft on Deck 9 and the Dolce Vita Bar in the central atrium on Deck 2. In the evenings the Caffe Florian was great for an aperitif before dinner while enjoying the music of an excellent piano/violin duo. There was live music and dancing in one of the main lounges. Every afternoon there was tea and little pastries or sandwiches at the buffet and a midnight treat in the evening. Once during the cruise they put on an "Elegant Tea" in the Club Atlantica that was really special. We had dinner one evening in the Club Atlantica which wasn't bad at all but with a limited menu that never changed. My gold pearl status meant the meal was free for us, otherwise a €20 per person charge is levied. Library and Internet. The Library on Deck 3 was open for an hour or so twice a day and had an excellent collection of English language books (as well as many other major languages). There were also six or seven computers available for internet use. I had my own laptop with me so I registered on-line for the wi-fi package three hours for €24 (minus 20% for Costa Club members) which worked fine in our cabin or any public area aboard. It wasn't the fastest internet connection but considerably better than a few years ago when shipboard internet was really slow. Laundry: I always use the ship's laundry when I cruise so I can pack less and keep the weight down in my suitcase. Rates were similar to the laundry service of hotel chains plus Costa Club members got a substantial discount. The service was very good and fast. Gym and Spa: The Atlantica's gym was large with much space and many machines. An instructor was on hand daily, usually in the mornings. The spa was well equipped and used mainly by guests in the wellness cabins but others could use it as well paying a daily fee. There was also a large beauty shop. I only used the spa for massages. One hour massages with Costa Club discount worked out to about €75 each and were done by an excellent professional named Jacklyn from the Philippines. Entertainment: The Atlantica's animation team worked full time to keep passengers entertained with games and quizzes during the day and silly variety shows in the evening. Also in the evening were musical performances, classical singing, shows, and reviews by the beautiful ship's dancers and other groups which either appeared regularly or were embarked for a day or so. Passenger participation appeared to be quite good. The huge Theatre was the venue for the evening's shows presented by the cruise director - after dinner for the first sitting and before dinner for the second. Most evenings there were also later shows either in the Theatre or one of the lounges. Ship's Tour: We signed up for the special tour of the ship one day called "All the Secrets of the Costa Atlantica" which at €55 a person (Costa Club price) certainly wasn't cheap but turned out to be well worth it. About fifteen passengers met at the Excursion Desk at the prescribed hour where one of the security staff searched us to insure we had no cameras or cell phones. The group was divided by language, mostly French and just three Italian speakers. I presume the Germans and English speakers had a tour at another time. While the French hostess guided her group, Mary, a wonderful young lady from the Excursion office took we three under tow. Our first stop was the bridge where we were welcomed by Captain Russo and First Officer Parisi and offered drinks and pastries as well as the inevitable photo (free). Captain Russo was particularly attentive with us since he was from Sorrento and we live three miles away at Capri. He explained how the ship was operated, the mechanisms for steering and docking. He also gave us a heads up that very bad weather and sea conditions were expected in the next hour or so (How true it was!). As we were leaving I stuck my head into the Captain's apartment which was right behind the bridge - very nice indeed, just like a grand suite. After the bridge Mary took us down to the first deck to the engineering command center whose staff monitored most everything on the ship from temperatures in every compartment and cabin, fire suppression, engine operation, etc. We walked through the warehouse area where meats, seafood, and fowl was stored each in a separate temperature controlled environment, as were all the fruit and fresh vegetables. The waste treatment area, plastic and glass crunchers, and garbage disposal (certain things could be ejected from the ship but most was compacted for elimination at the next port). We toured various workshops where the plumbers and painters, and where carpenters, upholsters, etc. were hard at work repairing the ship's furnishings. The ship's laundry and ironing was a hot steamy place where dozens of Chinese crew members worked, flashing us big smiles when I complimented their work. We took a break in the staff mess and club where we were served cups of excellent espresso - much better than that available up in the bars. Mary indicated this was where they had their crew parties. The staff and crew also had their own sun deck in the bow of the ship with a little pool which could be used when off duty. She then explained that bridge and staff officers and most of the sub officers had their own cabins with private baths. Staff personnel had either single or two person cabins with a shared bath, depending on rank or seniority. The crew personnel all had two or four person cabins with shared baths. Leaving the below decks, we toured back stage in the theatre where its operation was explained to us. Last stop was the MDR kitchen where the assistant executive chef, a young Italian, explained how everything worked to insure that excellent quality of food we so enjoyed. Over 150 cooks and their assistants were at work preparing the evening meal. The few senior chefs all wore a blue neckerchief to distinguish them from the sous-chefs who wore yellow while the third cooks and assistants had white neckerchiefs. It was explained to us that they are fairly accurate in judging of quantities of each menu item by experience and the nationalities of the passengers aboard for any one cruise: Certain nationalities prefer soups to pasta dishes, others prefer seafood items to meat, some (Italians) want their pasta strictly al dente while others like it cooked more, some want their meat well done, some rare, etc. etc. The individual waiters will then select the dishes preferred by their table guests and bring them up to the MDR to be served. In the bakery all bread, rolls, pastries and even the pizza dough is prepared fresh every day. The tour concluded back up at the Excursion Desk where we were give souvenir aprons. Truly an interesting afternoon. Weather and Climatic Conditions: We had excellent weather the first half of the cruise and fair to bad the second half. For the first five days the weather we encountered was sunny, warm with temperatures in the low to high 20's, and mostly calm to slightly choppy seas. On the return leg from Cyprus, conditions were decidedly different. Port Calls and Shore Excursions: Day 1 - Naples Embarkation. Sunny and warm with an afternoon high of 28 degrees. We pulled out of Naples about a half hour late but had smooth seas all evening. Day 2 - Messina, Italy. Nice day. We left the ship around noon and found a taxi to take us to Taormina which my wife wanted to see. The drive took about a half hour and brought us right up to the north city gate where the driver would wait for us. We wandered through the streets of this lovely town and toured the ancient Greek theatre, where a passing rain shower caught us. We took shelter under an arch and after five minutes the sun came out again. A little shopping, a stop at an outside caffè for coffee and cannoli, and then back to the taxi for the trip back to Messina. We walked around Messina a bit before returning to the ship. Day 3 - At Sea. Sunny, warm and calm seas passing from the Ionian to the Aegean. Costa Club Gold Pearl cocktail with the captain this morning in the Club Atlantica. Very nice pastries and prosecco, and good conversation with several of the ship's officers. In the evening the welcoming gala dinner. Day 4 - Rhodes, Greece. Great day, sunny, warm and smooth seas. We had been to Rhodes several times so we decided to take a do-it-yourself tour with a taxi. The driver, Sergou, and his almost new Mercedes, drove us along the western coast road to the ancient city of Kamiros. We toured the site for about two and a half hours and then Sergou took us to a beach north of Kalithea where he goes with his family. He came back to pick us up after an hour and a half and brought us back to Rhodes town. Total cost was only €120. A little bit of shopping and walked back to the ship. Day 5 - Limassol, Cyprus. Sea almost smooth, partly cloudy, and temperature 24 degrees. We entered the harbor on schedule at 13.00. Again, we had been here several times before so while I remained on board, my wife took the shuttle bus into the town for shopping, returning around 17.00. We left an hour later on schedule passing through a bit of rain. Day 6 - Marmaris, Turkey. The sea was choppy during the night and the day dawned with a threat of rain. Too bad because the entry into the bay of Marmaris was beautiful with pine forests coming right down off the hills to water's edge. Lots of tiny inlets and hundreds of sailboats and yachts along with seafront restaurants and smart hotels. We had booked the Costa excursion to Dalyan and Kaunus today and left with an Italian speaking group for the hour and a half bus ride to Dalyan. At Dalyan we boarded several small boats for a trip along a reed-lined river to Kaunus passing by some huge tombs carved out of a hillside which resembled Petra in Jordan. Kaunus was a very interesting ancient site with a remarkable theatre. Our return got us back to Marmaris with no time to wander through the town unfortunately. We boarded the ship which set sail almost immediately. We took dinner this evening in the Club Atlantica with our Costa Club invitations. It was a beautiful setting but service was a bit slow and the food not much better than that served in the MDR I thought. Day 7 - Santorini, Greece. The day on arrival was windy, sea very choppy, and rain threatening. The cable car was closed due to the wind so both excursionists and do-in-yourselfers were tendered to the ferry port of Athinos where free shuttle buses had been arranged to take us into the town of Fira. We had spent a week on Santorini several years ago so we decided to just walk around town a bit and enjoy a Greek lunch. After lunch in a little back-street restaurant called Nicolas (very good and inexpensive), we headed back to the buses because it had started to rain. Just as we got off the bus down at the port a heavy rain squall hit and the tenders could not dock. Most of the passengers had those cheap plastic rain covers on which immediately were ripped off by the wind and sailed away. Luckily some Coast Guard personnel opened up a large waiting room which we all herded into until conditions improved. When the tenders could dock we had a choppy ride back to the ship. An interesting experience! Day 8 - Katakolon, Greece. Sea choppy, overcast with a threat of rain, temperature low 20's. Our umpteenth visit to Katakolon. While most of the passengers headed to Olympia, we casually strolled into the town for shopping and coffee with pastries at a kafeneion on the back street. My wife made some purchases at a jewelry shop where we had been before. In the afternoon we took the ship tour which I described above. The weather and sea turned decidedly adverse around 17.30 as we passed south of Zakynthos island and entered the Ionian Sea. Force 9 winds with waves over five meters high buffeted the ship and everyone headed for their cabins. All entertainment was cancelled and those hardy souls who went to the arriverderci gala dinner had a rough time of it. We wisely remained in the cabin but about 21.00 I went up to the pizzeria and brought back some pizza to eat. We rocked and rolled all night until around 05.00 the next morning when we entered the Messina Straits. Day 9 - At Sea. The weather today thankfully was warm and sunny and the sea was only slightly choppy. Conditions improved more as the day wore on. Day 10 - Savona. Sea calm, sky overcast, temperatures in the low 20's. Today while passengers disembarked and new arrivals embarked, we went into Savona to meet some dear friends who travelled from Villefranche sur Mer, France to meet us. We had lunch at the excellent "Blue Restaurant" right at the edge of the yacht harbor and the seafood was very good as usual. We returned to the ship around 16.00 and set sail an hour later bound for Naples. Only two of our original six table companions joined us for dinner as the others had disembarked today. Day 11 - Naples. Sunny, warm and calm seas welcomed us to Naples where we docked (again at the Calata di Massa port) about a half hour early. We had to wait while the baggage was offloaded and trucked to the cruise terminal which added about an hour to the time we could disembark. The boarded the shuttle bus to the terminal where we picked up our baggage and walked to the hydrofoil boat which would take us back to our home island of Capri. Conclusions: The Atlantica is a beautiful ship which was built before Costa was taken over by the Carnival Corporation and has none of the ugly kitsch of the newer ships of the line. Her lines are beautiful as is the internal decoration. She was alive and vibrant, both as a ship and by the interaction between passengers and crew. Service was excellent and the Italian food served was mostly authentic (due to few Italian cooks in the kitchens) and usually quite good to excellent, especially in the MDR but even in the self-service buffet. The cruise itinerary was great and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Costa Atlantica Aegean-Black Sea Cruise, 20 Sep-3 Oct 2011 from Civitavecchia to Naples with port calls: Mykonos, Izmir, Istanbul, Costanta, Odessa, Yalta, Piraeaus, Katakolon, Civitavecchia, Naples (12 nights) I booked this cruise ... Read More
Costa Atlantica Aegean-Black Sea Cruise, 20 Sep-3 Oct 2011 from Civitavecchia to Naples with port calls: Mykonos, Izmir, Istanbul, Costanta, Odessa, Yalta, Piraeaus, Katakolon, Civitavecchia, Naples (12 nights) I booked this cruise based on its itinerary to the Black Sea and the Greek island of Mykonos where I had never been before. This was a back-to-back cruise for me because I would stay aboard for the following East Mediterranean itinerary from Naples and back to Naples. I was pleased to be sailing on the Costa Atlantica, a ship I had always read favorable comments about on Cruise Critic and other cruise sites. It was judged to be one of the best ships of the Costa fleet, if not the best. Embarkation: For this cruise most all the passengers had embarked at the day before at Savona. I had elected to forego one cruise day and board at Civitavecchia which is closer to my home and much easier to get to. I took a train to Rome and another to Civitavecchia where a taxi brought me directly to the Costa cruise terminal. As a Costa Club gold pearl member, check-in and embarkation was a breeze and in less than a half hour I was in my cabin. My bags took two hours to be delivered which was a long time considering I was supposedly entitled to a rapid delivery. The Ship: The 86,000 ton Atlantica was built by Costa in 2000 (and was followed in 2003 by its sister ship, the Mediterranea). It has twelve passenger decks of which six have the cabins (which number 1057, most with private balconies). The Atlantica carries a crew of about 900 members and has a total passenger capacity of around 2,700 but only with every bed and bunk occupied (the passengers on this cruise numbered 2,060). The decks all are named after famous films directed by Federico Fellini. The first deck has the cheaper cabins (insides and outsides with port holes), the main kitchens, infirmary, and a large ballroom in the bow. Decks 2 and 3 hold all the public areas, i.e. the two deck main dining room, shops, offices, bars and lounges, casino, library, disco, and theatre. Decks 4 through 8 have all the balcony cabins and suites plus a few insides. The Squok Club for kids is at the bow of Deck 8. Deck 9 has the spa, gym, pizzeria, self service restaurant and three swimming pools, one of which has a moveable overhead cover. The elegant Club Atlantica specialty restaurant is on Deck 10 which is perfect for long walks because it wraps around the entire ship - two laps around and you've walked or run a kilometer. The 11th and 12th decks are for the sun loungers when there isn't too much wind. The captain on this cruise was Giuseppe Russo from Sorrento while his first officer was Francesco Parisi who divides his time between the ship and his home in Tupelo, Mississippi, USA. The cruise director was Petra Malin. The Cabin: My cabin was number 7148 on Deck 7 named the Intervista Deck. It was a standard outside cabin with balcony which turned out to be quite nice and comfortable and more than adequate for my needs as a solo passenger. It supposedly measured 23 square meters but this included the balcony and bathroom. The king size bed was quite comfortable as were the pillows. The air conditioning worked fine but was too chilly unless the thermostat was turned a little toward the warm side. I tended to keep the balcony door open when I was in the cabin (including night) because I preferred the outside sea air to the AC (which automatically shut off when the door was opened). The day area had a three person couch, small table, and a hassock for the wide desk. Lighting in both day and night areas was good and there were two large mirrors. The dressing area by the entrance door was very good with a three-door wardrobe (a third of which contained shelves and the electronic safe) with lots of hangers. The desk had drawers for clothing and miscellaneous with a new hair dryer in one. The bathroom wasn't huge but was more than adequate. The shower worked great with plenty of hot water and excellent pressure except in the evening before dinner when it was necessary to increase the hot setting. The inlaid sink had a large mirror above it with shelves and compartments to hold everything. Good lighting, and two hooks on the door. The Gold Pearl perks were especially nice: Thick fluffy bathrobes by Frette, slippers, luxury bath toiletries and soap, after sun creme, and even face cloths! The towels (two bath and two hand) were changed as necessary twice a day and were generally fluffy but frequently the hand towels were a bit worn. My excellent cabin steward was named Made and hailed from Indonesia. Both his Italian and English were very good and he provided outstanding service. As a Costa Club member I always had a bowl of fresh fruit in the cabin which was frequently replenished. The cabin was quiet, no vibrations, and even when the sea was rough I noticed only minimal movement. I always book a mid-ship cabin with cabin decks above and below which usually ensures low noise levels and minimal ship movement. In conclusion I was very satisfied with this cabin. Service and Staff: I found the staff members in the Customer Service and Excursion offices to be professional, friendly, and very helpful whenever I had a question or had need of their services. I had long conversations with First Officer Parisi and the lovely hostess for English speakers, Bethany Platania from Pennsylvania. Simona, a young lady from Naples in the director of services' office was especially helpful for me, as was Giorgio and two other ladies at the Customer Service desk. Passenger Mix: Even though all the cabins were occupied, there were only 2,060 passengers aboard for this cruise. The figures given to me by one of the staff at Customer Services showed the Italians to be the major group aboard with 680 passengers. Next were the French with 500, Germans with 440, with 82 English speakers including 29 UK citizens, 12 US, and 10 Australians. Cleanliness: Like all Costa ships, the policy on the Atlantica was to clean and polish every surface and corner possible constantly. There were hand sanitizers at the entrances to the restaurant and buffets, as well as at the boarding points. Smoking: As a non-smoker I had no problems on board the Atlantica. Even in lounges where smoking areas were present, there was very little smell. The casino which is usually the smokiest area of a ship seemed almost pleasant. Smoking of course was prohibited in areas like the restaurants, theatre, shops and corridors and in the bars and lounges was permitted only at designated tables. Restaurants and Bars: The Atlantica had one main dining room (MDR) called the Tiziano Restaurant located aft on two decks, the 2nd and 3rd. The upper portion was a wide balcony overlooking the tables below and was connected with stairways. The MDR was open for breakfast and lunch with open seating, and two closed sittings for dinner at 18.30 and 21.00. The ship's specialty restaurant was called the Club Atlantica, an elegant venue with a piano bar up on the 10th and 11th decks. There were eight principal bars with three on the upper decks and one each in the main lounges on Decks 2 and 3. The most appreciated bar was the Caffe Florian, modeled on the Piazza San Marco bar of the same name in Venice. MDR: As always, I ask for the second sitting in the MDR which I find more relaxing, quieter, and more to my normal style. I was assigned to table number 222 on the restaurant's upper level with a Philippine waiter named Rex, very friendly and competent, and his Indian assistant, Clemente. Even though it was a eight-person table, my table mates were two ladies from Milano and a gentleman from Genoa. Our maitre d' was the ever friendly Gennaro from Naples. The food I found to be better than on the other Costa ships I've experienced. During the cruise I had occasion to tour the MDR kitchens (another gold pearl perk) where 150 cooks were at work preparing the evening meal. It was explained to me that they are fairly accurate in judging of quantities of each menu item by experience and the nationalities of the passengers aboard for any one cruise: Certain nationalities prefer soups to pasta dishes, others prefer seafood items to meat, some (Italians) want their pasta strictly al dente while others like it cooked more, some want their meat well done, some rare, etc. etc. The individual waiters will then select the dishes preferred by their table guests and bring them up to the MDR to be served. In the bakery all bread, rolls, pastries and even the pizza dough is prepared fresh every day. Truly an interesting tour. Regarding drinks at the table, we had our choice between jugs of free iced tap water or pay-for bottled. I drink wine with my meals and found the wine list to be good with prices for Italian reds in the 17 to 28 euro range. One bottle would last me three evenings and the waiter would cork it and save it for the next time. Self Service Restaurant: This was the Bofficelli buffet which occupied almost half of the 9th deck aft. I used the buffet for breakfast and lunch and being single had no problem finding an unoccupied place to sit with my tray. The breakfast selections were generally always the same but there were so many things to choose from it was difficult to find fault, with the various nationalities finding items to their liking. There were several omelet stations for eggs cooked to order and everything from cold sliced meats and cheeses, pickled herring, scrambled eggs, french toast, pancakes, sausages, bacon, potatoes, etc. as well as sliced and whole fruit, cereals including muesli, corn flakes, etc. and various juices, American type coffee, tea, and water from the dispensers. The buffet lunch always had Italian salads, pastas, and meat/fowl/fish dishes, as well a carvery and daily ethnic items. In keeping with the Costa policy of appeasing all cultures, the water, coffee and tea dispensers were open all day long and in the late afternoon, sliced pizza was available and from 21.00 onward, whole pizzas were served by waiters in the pizzeria on Deck 9. Bars: As far as the bars went, I found the best espresso coffee to be had at the Aurora Bar aft on Deck 9 and the Dolce Vita Bar in the central atrium on Deck 2. In the evenings the Caffe Florian was great for an aperitif before dinner while enjoying the music of an excellent piano/violin duo. There was live music in the main lounges and sometimes up on Deck 9. Every afternoon there was tea and little pastries or sandwiches at the buffet and a midnight treat in the evening. Once during the cruise they put on an "Elegant Tea" in the Club Atlantica that was really special. Library and Internet. The Library on Deck 3 was open for an hour or so twice a day and had an excellent collection of English language books (as well as many other major languages). There were also six or seven computers available for internet use. I had my own laptop with me so I registered on-line for the wi-fi package three hours for €24 (minus 20% for Costa Club members) which worked fine in my cabin or any public area aboard. It wasn't the fastest internet connection but considerably better than a few years ago when shipboard internet was really slow. Laundry: I always use the ship's laundry when I cruise so I can pack less and keep the weight down in my suitcase. Rates were similar to the laundry service of hotel chains plus Costa Club members got a substantial discount. Gym and Spa: The Atlantica's gym was large with much space and many machines. An instructor was on hand daily, usually in the mornings. The spa was well equipped and used mainly by guests in the wellness cabins but others could use it as well paying a daily fee. There was also a large beauty shop. I only used the spa for massages. One hour massages with Costa Club discount worked out to about €75 each and were done by an excellent professional named Jacklyn from the Philippines. Entertainment: The Atlantica's animation team worked full time to keep passengers entertained with games and quizzes during the day and silly variety shows in the evening. Also in the evening were musical performances, classical singing, shows, and reviews by the beautiful ship's dancers and other groups which either appeared regularly or were embarked for a day or so. Passenger participation appeared to be quite good. The huge Theatre was the venue for the evening's shows presented by the cruise director - after dinner for the first sitting and before dinner for the second. Most evenings there were also later shows either in the Theatre or one of the lounges. Weather and Climatic Conditions: For this cruise we were blessed with mostly good weather and reasonably calm seas aside from the first day which was rainy and overcast. Temperatures for the most part were in the low to high 20's and days were either sunny or just partially overcast. While we didn't run into any really rough seas, the Atlantica held its own plowing through choppy seas a couple nights without hardly any noticeable movement. Port Calls and Shore Excursions: Day 1 - Civitavecchia embarkation. Coolish and windy. The obligatory lifeboat drill had been conducted the day before upon leaving Genoa so we Civitavecchia embarkees missed it (sob...). I spent the afternoon registering my credit card, signing up for massages, buying a water package, and settling into my cabin. The ship pulled out of Civitavecchia's harbor at 19.00 heading south. Day 2 - At Sea. The day was cloudy with some rain and rough seas; temperature 22-23 degrees. We passed Stromboli and the Aeolian islands in the morning and later passed through the straits of Messina. The evening held the first gala dinner with smoked salmon, risotto with shrimps, and fresh sea bass (branzino) which is unusual because fish aboard is usually of the frozen sort. Day 3 - At Sea (and later, Mykonos). Sunshine! The sea was barely rippled this morning with temperature 23 degrees and rising. We passed along the southern shore of the Peloponnese and entered the Aegean. Special gold pearl cocktail party with the captain and staff this morning. In the afternoon we arrived off Mykonos an hour early at 16.00 but since there was another cruise ship at the only dock we would have to tender in. The usual delays for tender passes but within an hour I was on shore. I walked around the town, had a Greek pastry, did some shopping, and since the weather had turned cold and windy I decided to return to the ship early. Day 4 - Izmir. Rough sea and wind all night but by morning the weather was improving. Since I already knew Izmir well, I simply walked from the port all along the waterfront as far as the Konak clock tower and into the market area. The temperature had gotten up to 27 degrees. After some shopping and further exploring my tired feet told me to taxi back to the ship. This turned out to be quite cheap, only 9 Turkish Lire. I like Izmir. In the 30 or so years that I've known her, she's become a beautiful Mediterranean city. After dinner this evening I jogged four laps (2 km.) around the upper deck, not bad for an old guy. Day 5 - Istanbul. Sunny and warm today and smooth sea. Fascinating Istanbul - another city that I know well. Weeks ago I had decided to take an all day cruise along the Bosporus today. I left the Karakoy port and walked all the way to the Galata bridge and passed over to Eminonu on the European side. I was early for the 10.35 scheduled departure of the cruise ferry so I had plenty of time to buy my ticket (25 TL) and be among the first in line to get a good seat. This I did and enjoyed an extremely interesting cruise up the Bosporus to Anadolu Kavagi, almost on the Black Sea. There the ship stopped for three hours allowing me to enjoy a relaxing and delicious seafood lunch at one of the little restaurants along the shore. The return trip set off at 15.00 and by 16.30 we were back at Eminonu. Again I walked the couple kilometers back to the ship without incident. We left Istanbul at 19.00 sailing up the Bosporus and passing under the two huge highway bridges which were beautifully illuminated in the dark. At 20.30 we entered the Black Sea which was really BLACK - no lights from shore or from passing ships. Day 6 - Costanta, Romania. Sea only rippled during the night while dawn showed it would be a sunny day but cooler. Here I had booked the Costa excursion to Istria, an ancient Greek archaeological site. I had really wanted to visit the Danube Delta but that excursion was sold out well over a month before the cruise. An hour over very poor roads and even poorer villages took our tour bus to the "Romanian Pompeii." It turned out a far cry from Pompeii and there was very little Greek remains but mostly late era Roman. Day 7 - Odessa, Ukraine. Sea smooth, sunny but chilly in the morning. Only 18 degrees in the afternoon. Another Costa excursion today touring Odessa. Our first stop was at the top of the Potemkin stairs with a spectacular view of the port and lower city. While touring all the sites we were treated to a lovely concert by five young violinists accompanied by piano - very, very good. The tour included lunch in a local restaurant which started out with a little glass of vodka - we were definitely in the former Soviet Union! In any case, Odessa was a very interesting city to visit. Day 8 - Yalta and Sevastopol, Ukraine. Sunny and a little warmer than yesterday. I took the Costa excursion through Yalta and along the coast westward to Sevastopol which turned out to be the most Russian of the Ukrainian cities in the Crimea. There was a Russian navy presence most everywhere since a Russa-Ukraine agreement allowed them to establish their Black Sea naval headquarters here. We visited the Panorama Museum which held a 360 degree exhibition of the horrors of the 1854-55 battle for Sevastopol during the Crimean War. Lunch was at a seafood restaurant on the waterfront and highlighted by the performance of an excellent folklore group which sang and danced for us in traditional costume. After lunch we toured the Chersones archaeological site founded by the ancient Greeks. We got back to the ship just in time for departure at 18.30. Day 9 - At Sea. Finally after six straight port days we had a day of rest and recuperation. Sunny and warm with slightly choppy sea, sailing south back toward Istanbul. During the day we passed back through the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles straits. By late afternoon we sailed in to the Aegean. Day 10 - Piraeus. The day began warm and sunny but the sea was rough during the night. Since I have seen everything there is to see in Piraeus and Athens many times over the years, just to do something I opted for the Costa excursion to Cape Sounion which I had last visited in the 1970's. The bus ride from Piraeus to Sounion took about two hours along the winding coastal road. The temple of Poseidon was the same as I remembered it but the site was much better organized now. Sunny but very windy and chilly on top of the hill. We returned to the ship in time for lunch and a relaxing afternoon. Italian night this evening in the MDR where my waiter Rex was one of the key performers. Day 11 - Katakolon. Warm and sunny today but the sea was choppy during the night. I like Katakolon. I've been here so many times I know it like the palm of my hand. While most of the excursionists headed off to Olympia, I enjoyed a relaxing breakfast and then walked the short distance into the town where I sat a seaside kafeneion with a delicious frappe which aside from ouzo has become the Greek national drink. A little shopping and then back to the ship. This afternoon I participated in the gold pearl tour of the ship's kitchens as mentioned above. Day 12 - At Sea. The sea was choppy all night but not too bad. Today was sunny and hot and the pools got good use. At 17.00 we pulled into the port of Civitavecchia where some of the passengers disembarked and others came on. We had the last gala dinner this evening and tomorrow my table companions would be leaving at Savona. Day 13 - Savona. Sunny and warm with a 30 degree temperature. This morning I had to change to a temporary cabin for my in between passage to Naples where my next cruise would begin. The move took about an hour. I left the ship for a couple hours to do some shopping in Savona while the ship was replenished and stocked with new passengers. We set sail on schedule and as the new arrivals were settling in, I went to the spa for a massage. I paid €130 for the cruise extension Savona-Naples. Day 14 - Naples. Again it was sunny and warm today with a 28 degree temperature. I moved again into my new cabin which I would be sharing with my wife when she embarked later today. The next cruise will be discussed in a separate review. Conclusions: The Atlantica is a beautiful ship which was built before Costa was taken over by the Carnival Corporation and has none of the ugly glitz of the newer ships of the line. Her lines are beautiful as is the internal decoration. She was alive and vibrant, both as a ship and by the interaction between passengers and crew. Service was excellent and the Italian food served was mostly authentic (few Italians in the kitchens) and usually quite good to excellent, especially in the MDR but even in the self-service buffet. The cruise itinerary was great and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. 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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