Year Started: 1854
Ships in Fleet: 11
Summary: A Europe-based mainstream cruise line owned by Carnival. Ships are structurally identical to Carnival. Recommended for European cruisers who do not speak English - good for bargains in the Caribbean.
Regions:Middle East, The Orient
Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Middle East
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, World
Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, Middle East, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Singles. Families.
Regions:Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe
Good for: Group. Families.
Good for: Group. Singles. Families.
After all our misery with US air -25, hour wait at airport after cancellation of our flight . Arguing to get out in time for our ship ( all flights booked thru Costa)which we did miss. Total lack of co-operaation or care from US air staff (including LILIANE a superviser who walked out on me because she was tired !! like we weren't ???)re hotel and food vouchers ,we did arrive in Cozumel via Chicago on United the following day and were greeted by a Costa REp who took us to a litle hotel called Casa del Mar . Costa covered hotel but no food so I sent my bills to them to get a refund . We will see how they handle this. I was travelling with my 2 boys 10 & 13 so providing meals for all of us should not have been a stretch.
After a long wait at the dock in Cozumel with all our luggage the following day a purser did finally come and get us and we did board . A very pleasant purser Rafael from Brazil on ship took care of us andcontinued to do so for the rest of the cruise!!! Finally got to our cabin and rushed out to enjoy Chankannab .
We booked a balcony cabin (Obstructed ) but loved the sound of waves and seabreeze every night -kept door wide open. Balconies are the best -I wish they were always cheap!!! Highly recommended!!!
Food and srevice was quite adequate and always plentiful with various juices during the day and at Night very well presented and quite good.Waiters were polite -quick to change courses if not to one's taste. Lamb and lobster were A-1 and my boys loved the steaks.Portions small -but since choices were limitless -less waste . Midnight buffets AMazing in size -display -and variety
Entertainment was charming -very saltimboca-. One night there were 4 Mediteranean shows in different lounges and you needed a passport to go from one to the other -felt like a scavenger hunt -very different very enjoyable . A buffet of the regions presented followed for those hungry- not us we chose late dining . Atmosphere in dining room was like an Italian wedding every night -even had a candlelit dinner once!! Waiters sang and danced for us every night -Great Fun !!!
Stops in Cozumel and Grand Cayman . Chankanaab has great snorkelling take a cab pay fee and snorkel -BRING WATER SHOES SHARP ROCKS TO ENTER Go see dolphin show
Grand Cayman -go to Stingray city - what lovely soft friendly creatures - a real thrill .Try Captain Marven 2 blocks from dock . Nice friendly people.34$ 2 stops
Ocho Rios - Falls are slippery Kids went- I did not and could have skipped the whole thing . Pushy vendors -Left early - Not impressed
Would have preferred another stop .
Shopping on board different because of Italian goods-bought most gifts on board.
Overall not bad cruise will have better and accurate opinion of Costa if I get a refund for expenses and compensation for our 25 hour ride from hell with US air and discount on next one . After all we missed 2,5 days out of seven. If they were responsible and compensatory I would highly recommend this company .
We will see!!!! Time will tell
Toga party is a hoot and super fun on last night . They give the sheets so less to pack at last minute.. Disembarkation was organized and relativelly quick except for customs who took their sweet time. Airport was a madhouse -flight on time this time with US air again -no food available not even to buy!!!
HOW CHEAP CAN YOU GET!!!I will not willingly fly with US AIR EVER AGAIN!!! Is it a wonder theses guy s are going under With such crappy service I'm surprised they are still around . What a rinky -Dinky company . They should teach their agents people skills if they hope to survive.
Ship is gorgeous and would do Costa again Will they do right by me? Hope so !!
Fun cruise fun ship .Enjoyed Italian style!!!
We have sailed with Costa before and although previous cruises were more than adequate, this year was the best! The Costa ships are always immaculate, as the cabins are more spacious than most and beautifully decorated. What we were pleasantly surprised at was the variety and quality of food on this ship. We felt that touch of Italy, while various theme nights took place.
An added attraction was pasta stations everyday! And the fine dining in the Club Atlantic was magnificent, well worth the $20 fee. The staff could not have been more helpful. The cruise director was terrific and tried to ensure a good time was had by all. We also noticed alot more activity at night and poolside during the day. There was something for everyone, everyday, whether in port or at sea.
We spoke to many first time Costa cruisers onboard who were impressed with this cruise and like us have already booked our next trip with Costa for Dec 2006.
My wife and I sailed aboard the Atlantica for or 20th aniversary. We chose this cruise very carefully after much research. We wanted the cruise to be as special as our 20 years together. Costa asked on their website when we registered if we were celebrating any kind of special ocassion. So I informed them it was or 20th. I felt as if this was going to be one great cruise! The embarkation process was a little slow but reasonable. Once on board the ship was breathtakingly beautiful. Our cabin on deck 5 was at the very rear of the ship and had a great balcony. The cabin was tastefull and spacious. Our next impression was that of the dinning room. Very nicely decorated. Our waiter was the highlight of the cruise! Fantastic service, great food, great presentation, and deserts to die for. Very well done! The ship did vibrate and shudder quite a bit. Perhaps it was our cabin location, but we felt like we were sleeping on a cheap motel massage bed! The shows were very good and scheduled well.
The cruise industry standby buffett, well that's another stroy. Thefood was bland,(cold cuts, skiced cheese, cold pizza) unimaginative, and in short supply. Silverware was almost non existant and the ice machine was a Coleman icechest and a scoop? On such an elegant ship compared to the dinning room, what a discrace! The midnight buffet was more of the same. We just quit partaking. The shopping consultant was wonderful and the bulk of the staff very helpfull. If you do not smoke, this was not the cruise for you. They smoked everywhere, even in the elevators! Oh yea, ab out the aniversary part. I mentioned to the Maitre' d , the passenger desk staff, and the room attendant that it was our aniversary. Never once was any recognition made to us in any way. Why then did they ask? All in all it was an OK cruise, but if you want a special experience that is worthy of the price you pay in money and time. Look elsewhere. We have sailed on other lines and had much better experiences. Costa has all the ingredients to be great, they just fell asleep in the home stretch!
There comes a time when the ship becomes a destination in itself, and that is what has happened with the Costa Atlantica for us. This is the fourth time we have sailed on this elegant ship; each time we marvel at her ornate beauty and the many distinctive areas in which passengers can enjoy the pure celebration of all things Italian: wonderful food, wines, art and of course music. We have done the Western Caribbean itinerary many times, so this cruise was booked for pure relaxation and pleasure on board.
This ship is dedicated to the Great Italian Federico Fellini, film director extraordinaire, and both decks and corridors are named and imbued with the character of the Maestro. There are a multitude of enlarged paparazzi style photographs of the '50s and 60's period of "La Dolce Vita" by Tazio Secchiaroli. The many actors of the times are forever preserved at the height of their beauty and youth, including the following: Anita Ekberg, Jayne Mansfield, Ava Gardiner, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, David Niven and of course Marcello Mastroianni, etc. All are shown strolling on the streets of Rome, which brings back our ownyouth, nostalgically renewed while we stroll around this magnificent ship: Ah, Marcello Mastroianni driving a Triumph sports car with Carlo Ponti holding on to his Fedora and seated next to him. Oh look, there is the movie star, sex goddess Anita Ekberg frolicking in the Fontana di Trevi. There is Fellini walking right up the middle of Via Veneto, as if he owns it, which he did in those days! Thanks to the Costa Atlantica, we are invigorated by our youthful memories of Rome and another more elegant and playful time.
EMBARKATION In Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the Costa Atlantica was berthed at Pier 21. Baggage handlers quickly took our luggage and we went directly to a separate Check-in Counter for Wheelchair and Suite passengers. There was a crew member to assist us: We arrived at 12:30pm and were on board by 1:00pm. Very efficient. In our Panoramic Suite we were greeted "Italian Style" with a bottle of Prosecco Spumante chilling, a huge assortment of fresh fruit ( Mangoes, grapes, kiwi, strawberries, etc.) and a wonderful floral arrangement of exotic flowers (orchids, antherium, pittsoporum, etc.) all coordinated by our terrific Butler Alex Cortes. We were off to the "Welcome Aboard" buffet, where cruisers recognize immediately the Italian influence on food and service. We have already published three reviews of the Costa Atlantica, so this review will concentrate on what "Cruising Italian Style" means. We met Captain Giuseppe Russo, an elegant gentleman, who wanted to converse with Vincent in their Neapolitan dialect. This took Vincent back 50 years to his youth and memories of Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Salerno and the Amalfitan Coast. We also met Hotel Director Ann Ryan, whose knowledge of the Costa Atlantica goes back to construction days at the Kvaerner Masa Shipyard in Finland. She was kind enough to share her insight with us.
SHIP The Costa Atlantica is first of six sister ships: Costa Mediterranea, and Carnival's Spirit, Pride, Legend and finally the Miracle. Having sailed on all but the latter, we feel that the Atlantica is the one whose interior is most true to Italian design. Here are many exquisite reproductions of fine Italian paintings by Titian, Botticelli, Raphael etc., original venetian glass work in passage ways, stairwells and elevators, and a multitude of artworks by a dozen or more contemporary artists, which make this ship a truly floating museum. However, the most characteristic place on board is the beautiful replica of the famed Caffe` Florian (original in Piazza San Marco, Venezia). This caffe` with its frescos, along with the Fellini memorabilia and the beautiful artwork throughout the ship, evoke Italian Style. Costa Atlantica also has a Pompeian mural recreated down to the original cracks in the fresco. The bird cage elevators in the atrium give passengers a wonderful view of this well executed reproduction of an ancient Pompeian painting as they ride.
The ship's statistics are a Panamax 982 ft. long, 104 ft. wide with a gross tonnage of 85,000. Eighty percent of her cabins are ocean view and most of these have private balconies. We refer you to our previous reviews for ship details and deck by deck descriptions.
CABIN Suite #6219 is quite familiar to us, since we have stayed in it before. Combinations of dark and light woods, brass, copper and granite all give the effect of a traditional Captain's quarters on a brigantine. It is large roomy, stylish and comfortable, all in warm shades of peach and coral. When entering on the left, there is a small ante room with a lighted vanity and two huge wardrobes; then there is the full bath with two sinks and a Jacuzzi tub with shower. The bathroom is done in marble, tile and granite. Next is a full granite bar, a private safe, TV, a huge dresser and two more wardrobes. There is also a king sized bed with night stands and reading lamps.
When entering on the right, there is a mirrored wall and a desk with mahogany pillars and ebony capitals and a refrigerator. There is a leather sofa bed, a comfortable arm chair and a large granite coffee table. The far wall has a floor to ceiling window and a door to the balcony which holds two teak chairs and a table. In addition, our wonderful steward Anna Agustine brought a chaise lounge for Vincent. The draperies and sheers were coordinated to the bed linens and there was even a blackout drape. Excellent.
FOOD & SERVICE Under the close eye of Ann Ryan, both food and service are great. We usually reserve a table for two near the dining room entrance and table #276 was just that. We still enjoyed conversing with the couple at the next table, who were curious about Vincent's wine selections and items on the menu. The lady was turned on to Prosciutto & Melone (Napoleon and Josephine's wedding breakfast) which she proceeded to order frequently.
Unique to the Costa Line is the placement of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on each table. We were pleased with the quality of both ingredients and we used only these condiments for the entire cruise on the excellent fresh, crunchy rolls, bread sticks and salads. Food favorites are very personal; however, "when in Rome...," we suggest trying the Italian specialties, you will not regret it. Executive Chef Paolo Maspera runs a great galley. At Ms Ryan's suggestion, we tried the Pizzeria at 10pm where four different types of pizzas were piping hot. We noted that the crew was waiting for the hot pies to arrive, so we knew that changes had been made and the quality improved. We now can say the pizza is good on the Costa Atlantica.
Food & Service in the Tiziano Dining room and all around the ship are under the expert direction of Maitre D' Ciro Onorato, whom we had previously met on the Costa Mediterranea. He frequently visited us at our table to ascertain that everything was to our satisfaction and recommended us to his Assistant Maitre D' Riccardo for anything we may desire. We wish to thank them both for their courteous attention. Our waiter Randi and his assistant Dan were excellent. Both food preparation and presentation were wonderful. The menu and quality were superb. The only culinary lapse was in the soups. They were certainly not traditional and mostly bland. For example, French onion soup was not a clear broth but rather a potato thickened one, and certainly the clam chowder was not creamy. Several of our fellow passengers commented in a similar fashion. However, the rest of the menu was delicious, including appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts. The wine list included a variety of good wines, moderately priced.
Guest Relations Manager Gisella Iasi is friendly and cordial even in the face of rudeness from a passenger: A female travel agent wanted to view occupied cabins at 10am and would not understand why both the request and the timing were inappropriate. All this occurred while we were being assisted by Gisella; so, we turned to the agent and politely told her that obviously she was in a bigger hurry than we were; thus, she should be served before us and we would return later and wait on line again. None of this made an impression on the rude woman. Gisella you deserve a medal for that one.
We know that service on board emanates from the Captain and the Hotel Director on down. Both Captain Russo and Hotel Director Ryan are detail people who exemplify the manners their crew emulate.
ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES Cruise Director Max Bertolotto is an old acquaintance of ours from the Costa Romantica, 8 years ago. He has come up through the ranks and knows how to engage passengers and entertain them. His rendition of "Just a Gigolo" at the Thursday night Variety Show was a great opener. Each evening the crew using games got passengers to participate in programs all over the ship. MINGLE was the buzz word. There is musical entertainment all over the ship. Salone Corallo on Deck 1 had one of our favorite singers accompanied by the Nite Out Band. Tiziana Sinagra (Sicilian), who sang in both English and Italian ("Are You Lonesome Tonight?" "Only You," "New York, New York" and "O Sole Mio") has a powerful voice and a range that rivals the famous Yma Sumac.
The Caruso Theatre presented New Yorker John Ciotta an Italo American tenor, who brought the audience to its feet. There was also a "Classical Concert At Sea" featuring violin virtuoso Joan Badea of Romania accompanied by Mihail Zadic on piano. Their repertoire included "Roumanian Rhapsody" by Enesco and "Czardas" by Monti. They were brilliant playing very difficult pieces. They also performed at the Caffe` Florian.
There were games like Bingo, Bridge and Casino Tournaments, Trivia and Passport Visa Night. Any passenger who collected four stamps at the ethnic (Greece, France, Spain and Turkey) shows received $100 off their next Mediterranean Costa Cruise. The nice mix of activities is eclectic enough to satisfy all passengers. Even Ann K. celebrating her 90th birthday, while on her 100th Costa Cruise was having a good time!
PORTS OF CALL Since we have cruised the Western Caribbean and visited these ports many times, we did not leave the ship at all. During port days we enjoyed the ship by getting a hydromassage in the whirlpool early in the morning and then leisurely visiting the various interesting public areas. We did not have a rigid schedule, our priority was relaxation. And relaxed we were throughout this cruise! Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale Departure: 7:30pm
Day 2. Key West Arrival: 8:00am Departure: 1:00pm
Day 3. At Sea
Day 4. Cozumel, Mexico Arrival: 8:00am Departure: 7:00pm
Day 5. Ochos Rios, Jamaica Arrival: 8:00am Departure: 5:30pm
Day 6. Georgetown, Grand Cayman Arrival: 8:00am Departure: 5:00pm
Day 7. At Sea
CONCLUSION This was a great cruise, almost a perfect one. This was our eighth cruise on Costa ships and the fourth on the Atlantica, so we knew well what to expect, and everything met our expectation. The delicious Italian cuisine, the friendly and festive atmosphere, meeting again old acquaintances, Maitre D' Ciro and Cruise Director Max, and making new friends is truly "Cruising Italian Style." What more to expect? Not much! The Pizza on board has improved since our critical review of an earlier cruise on the Atlantica, and hopefully, when we'll return on a Costa ship, in a not too distant future, the soups will be better. We feel that Costa Management listens to passengers and tries to achieve the highest possible customer satisfaction. We did notice a large number of cruisers at the repeaters' party, where we met a ninety year old lady celebrating the 100th cruise on Costa, a telltale indication of satisfied customers. Happy Cruising Italian Style!
The cruise was around Italy in November 04 We flew from the UK and boarded in Venice. We had booked a suite so received preferential treatment and was in the first group to board. Everything went smoothly, a man came to our suite and introduced himself as our butler. We only saw him twice after that in the following 6 days, he said the reason was because we had the "don't disturb notice" hung on our door. He could have rang, there was a phone in the suite. The reason we displayed the don't disturb notice was because on 3 occasions members of the crew (including the butler) knocked and before we could get to the door to open it they had opened it themselves and walked in. We had to push a chair up behind the door to maintain some privacy.
My first problem arose when I went to the bar and asked for a draught beer, they don't have any. The only drink on draught was Heineken lager. All the bars throughout the ship were the same. I am not a lager drinker and only enjoy beer sothis really spoiled my holiday. The lager was expensive at 4.60 Euro, 60 was a service charge, you had no choice but to pay it. We received a notice saying that you were not allowed to bring alcoholic drinks on to the boat, if you did they would be taken from you and handed back at the end of the cruise. Was this a holiday or a disciplinary sentence ? Six Euro per person per day service charge was added to the final bill, you could object to this but surely the method should be open to you to "opt in to payment" rather than having to "opt out"
There were over 2000 passengers with less than 200 being English speaking. We found language to be a problem. Our cabin steward spoke broken English. We could not fully understand her and she could not fully understand us. This communication problem resulted in us missing the very important lifeboat emergency drill. There was only one television channel in English which repeated its-self every 15 minutes.
Food was readily available and the crew took pride in the various dishes on offer. Now I accept that Costa is an Italian cruise company but I didn't expect the food to be all of a Mediterranean/Italian theme. I am not a lover of this sort of food so I had a problem throughout the cruise. I would have loved some Indian, Chinese or even Brit food.
Now to the good points. The crew were very helpful, very polite and courteous. We were always met with a smile, this applied equally in the restaurant, bars and general public areas. The boat was spotlessly clean 10 out of 10 for the hard working cleaners. The cruiser was designed and fitted out with the most luxurious surroundings I have ever seen. It was like walking round a 5 star hotel. Also a mention must go to the entertainers who worked very hard to put on first class shows. The entertainment in the various bars was also of a very high standard. The general organisation and planning went well, which cant be easy when you have so many people on board.
Will I go on another Costa Cruise ? Come on Costa get some draught beer in your bars then maybe so.
The Fortuna had entered service less than a year earlier. Expensive furnishing with acres of marble, granite and photo murals. Glitzy. Staterooms, however, were large, had extensive storage, and lovely. Large verandahs wonderful.
Food and service were excellent. Staff did excellent job both in cabin and food service. Greatest weakness would be the stage shows. Not bad but so-so. Dance floor large and band good but few were dancing. Much less formal than most US based ships even on the one dress night. No need to pack a tie nor even a sports jacket. Am a non-smoker but did not find the smoking on board a problem. 5% passengers Americans. Mostly Europeans. English was the favored language, however. I have been on six cruises and would gladly go on this one again.
I'd rank it between NCL and Holland America in quality.
We have just returned from a week's cruise taking in the Baltic capitals. At first we were amazed at the glitzy splendour of the ship and the facilities that it appeared to offer. The friendliness and efficiency of the dining room and cabin stewards were also impressive. However, after suffering from sleep deprivation in a cabin below the late night disco we really didn't care about the quality of the food, service etc.
We were also disappointed that all drinks (including water)were charged in the restaurant and that 'service' was charged constantly even if we bought drinks at the bar. We also missed the option to relax in a peaceful 'observation lounge' such as provided on other ships. We would advise other prospective cruisers to try to establish before booking the nationality/language likely to predominate. Luckily, we have cruised happily with three other lines before. If this had been our first cruise, I'm sure it would have been our last.
I had my first experience on Costa and I'm very enthusiastic about its costumer care. I have had many previous experiences with almost all the major Cruise Lines such as Celebrity, RCC, Princess, Cunard, Carnival etc., and I have to admit that I was a bit skeptic about an Italian Cruise Line. We chose two cruises , the Norvegian Fjords and the Baltic Capitals from the 08/8/2004 to 08/22/2004 and we request the complete packages (airplanes, transfers, hotels) to Costa.
I received the cruises documents for my Travel Agent. The booklet was the most complete the most explanatory I ever had. All was clearly reported and nothing was left undefined or unclear. We had a very good assistance form the Costa representative, arriving and departing from Copenhagen and from and to the port. We really felt sheltered from them. There were a Costa help desk in each hotel ( The Square and Admiral) and the representative were very helpful and nice, giving us a letter with the welcome of the Cruise Line and all the information we need during our stay and the scheduling of the drop in and drop outservices. The rooms at our hotel booked directly from Cruise line were very good. I liked a lot the Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen. It's a very particular building, and it deserves a stay. The embarkation was very smooth, notwithstanding the security procedure with a warm welcome by some members of the crew coming into the amazing "La Dolce Vita" Atrium.
The ship is fine and it's a very big vessel, very stable and very silent (sometimes I asked to myself if we were sailing or not), no seasickness (yahoo!). The cabin (we choose the first deck and one inside cabin) was very comfortable and full of space in the cabinets and in the drawers. Our Cabin steward Rodney from Philippines, was very kind and professional and he made a good job also with the Laundry service (very professional)
The most of the passengers were Italians, then we had a great representatives of Spanish (very cheerful and nice), then Germans, Portuguese and French people.
Although it is a smoker free ship, I never felt a smoke smell in all the vessel.
The lounges are all beautiful and inspired to our Federico Fellini. The most requested lounge was the Piazza Madame Butterfly, where two duo singers and players performed (all very good). This is maybe the focal point of the ship, where many activities are held. The most of the Italian guest skipped some lounges like Caffe' Florian, always desert. It's a pity that a so vast space is often oven like. The Olympia Gym very big and full of any kind of gears. The outside decks are very well maintained, and there where sun chairs all with soft mattresses. The three swimming pools are very nice, and when the weather was not very good , the middle swimming pool was covered by the crystal mega dome. All seems not very overcrowded. The Coral Lunge, directly down to the Caruso Theatre, was a nice place for dancers and for parties. It should be more improved by different performances. I appreciate a lot the most beautiful glass vases collection in each level near stairways and lifts.
The Botticelli Buffet has 4 buffet lines plus two smaller lines dedicated to cakes and ice cream and to the Health Corner. Each day two buffet lines were dedicated to a typical national dishes (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, and- one of the best- to the Italian seafood). Outside the Botticelli Buffet and in the Ginger and Fred Pools and the Aurora Pools after, there were two grill line served breakfast and typical grill food like Hamburger, French fries, and hot dogs ( quite far from Italian taste ) About food....(I increased 2 kilos!!!!!!! I hate Costa!) very, very Italian. The taste of the food is very good, we often ate fish, frequently fresh - they grant us that trucks from Genova reach the Atlantica every 3 days!- and it's true because we ate some kind of Italian specialties that you can find only over here!. The buffets are very different and various (one day I counted 5 different kinds of pasta (2 kind of spaghetti dressed with different sauce - Carbonara and the other with tomato sauce olives, anchovies and caper, one oven polenta topped with cheese, Gnocchi di semolino - better that the ones that my mom and I make at home, and chick peas soup), plus grilled prawns, fried calamari, mussels....at last a great and good quantity of food! I had to notice the continuous check in the restaurants and buffets of the Maitre D' , Mr. Fernando Sanna and the Director of Services, Mr. Percivale. .They were everywhere! The Tiziano Restaurant is a very wide two stores dining rooms, sober, and well decorated. We requested a table for two on the second seating (9,30 pm, maybe later for not Italian guests) but the service was very smooth and attentive. Our waiters (Gabriel from Romania and Wayne from India) was very carefully ( I requested a special bread and I found it each dinner on my table thanks to the cares of Wayne). Both waiter was always ready to fulfill any our requests. The service in the dining was very, very good, I felt sheltered and cared from our maitre Mr. Salvatore, who had a nice and pleasant words for all his guest. The executive chef, Mr. Paolo Màspero, is a young man from Genova or Liguria and he received the bigger applause and standing ovation from all the guests during the farewell dinner. He deserve all the ovations. (I congratulate with him personally). All his staff make a very good job. For the first time in a back to back cruise we had for dinner an additional menu, a second chose of the regular menu. Cakes was very good (specially soufflés, Pastiera - one Neapolitan specialty, and fruits sorbets, as also starters (we appreciate grilled oysters and the delicious and very special "Frittella di Gianchetti" a sort of pancakes made with baby fishes. Excellent seafood dishes, soups, and some little surprise like fried calamari or bruschetta that sometimes were served.
To say the true pizza was not very good, and the afternoon tea is a little bit lack. They must improve the variety of the snacks (On the Infinity I had one of my best afternoon tea, my mom said the elegant tea on Cunard was a must!)
ENTERTAINMENTS AND CREW
The crew on board are very nice and patience, and the service is very attentive....specially the personnel at Reception, always ready to solve any kind of problems. The Captain Welcome cocktail and the repeaters cocktail are very sober and elegant, no hint about business affairs, and the our Master Giuliano Bossi welcome all the guest with some beautiful and poetical words....in 5 languages - at last Italian. The shows are very good and the Cruise Director, Mr. Michele Esposito, and his staff was very nice and not too much invasive....
We had a very good service from the free shuttle, available by the ship in the most ports, and the program of the day named the "Today" is very full of information ( I bring with me a copy of it and plus a copy of the menu of Gala Dinners). I forgot! We had a surprise from the Master of the ship. We were sailing trough Flam Fjord, directions Bergen. The ship made a little deviation to another little pristine Fjord. We reached a very amazing place! A minor harbor. Two little villages, between mountains and a glacier, waterfall, little red houses, no kind of noise, and the ship made a couple of rotations allowing all the passengers to watch this fairy-tale landscape. It's a night lovers ship. I was very happy about this because I remember a cruise made in the Caribbean some years ago on board another ship, when the most of the activities were over around 10,30 pm. What a bore! Except two Gala evenings each week, suggested dress is casual, but I must consider that from Spanish People to French, the most was wearing a semi formal robes during the informal evenings. Not much tuxedos.
So at last one of my best experience I never had of all my cruises (Obviously I'm not talking about luxurious cruise lines!) It was my best cruise considering the quality/price factor. I wish to suggest Costa to all the people who expect to live a very Italian experience an loving to be always followed and pampered by a very efficient and very discrete organization and a living cruise.
Information before cruise: Costa web-page need improvements. It is very difficult to surf in this page. The information is too general. You cannot get a good view or sense of the ship or amost anything.
Cruise: Boarding was smooth despite a large group of people. Security was high, which is good. The ship is beautiful. The decoration goes to the last detail.
Staff: The staff was helpfull. I was impressed with the fact the most of the staff speak at least 4 different languages. Some of the staff had very strong body odor.
Food: The food was very good. They have different choices and food was available 24 hrs a day. The main restaurant was excelent.
Overall: The cruise was very good. As in all there is some room for improvement. I wish I was back on-board.
We arrived the night before and stayed at a Costa recommeded hotel. Since it was spring break we kind of knew what to expect. Drunk kids everywhere - another worldly experience.
We took a shuttle to the pier. Since we had a panorama suite, we were given priority embarkation and all went extremely well. Customs held us up a bit - but this is not Costas' problem. Anyway, we wrrived at the pier at 1:30 and were in our room by 2:00.
The ship is beautiful. There is so much decorating done to this ship that it is difficult to notice all that has been done. After a week aboard we discovered most of the decorative theme of the ship.
We had all paperwork completed on the Costa website prior to sailing so all went well.
When we set out to explore the ship, we found the guidance by crew members to be very goo. Since this was our 20th cruise, we quickly found out that the ship is layed out like many others - seems the deign trends are melding together on the newer ships.
Panorama suite: We found it tobe smaller than a similar category on Royal Carribean by about 200 square feet. But the price was certainly right! Room steward and butler spoiled us rotten and our every needs were met, including restocking of the mini bar. In fact, our butler started bringing us bottled spirits from the bar ($20 versus $5.50 for airline sized bottles). This was appreciated and saved us a good amount of money during the cruise since we also entertained in our stateroom.
There have been complaints about the thin mattresses on the beds. We checked this out first thing and requested a second mattress. It was brought and the bed remade in plenty of time for our first night aboard.
Our luggage was distributed to us three hours prior to sailing with no damage. We got things unpacked and into the closets and drawers prior to sailing. The amount of storage was so enormous, even with the souvenirs we purchased we could still not fill it all!
The buffet food was good. Not great, but not bad either. Coffee machines were always full as were juices.
Our room was extremely quiet, especially since the ship rocked and rolled due to large swells for the first three days. The maintenance crew would wash life boats in the AM and took care not to "contaminate" our balcony.
The dining room service was very god and the food - especially if you like seafood- was very good - and hot when delivered to our table. We asked our waiter each night what was best and he was right on each night. The beef was cooked to our liking, and the pasta dishes were excellent - especially the polenta with mushrooms.
Club Medusa, the alternate restaurant, was excellent especially the filet mignons and dessaert. The service was impeccable. Incidentally, you do not have to dress up to eat in this venue.
On two nights were ordered room service - since we had a suite we could order from the dining room menu. The food was always brought on time and piping hot - sometimes with double what we ordered. We had one lunch from room service (we were hungry for hamburgers), and they were some of the best I've every had at sea - much better than in the pool area.
We took two shore excursions. The snorkleling cruise in Casa De Campo was cut short - we still do not know the reason. We found we had adequate time in San Juan. We had a taxi take us to the top of the hill in the shopping district and meandered downhill toward the wharf with plenty of time to spare.
Our shore excursion in the Dominican Republic was cancelled due to a storm and our ticket prices refunded on our final statement. We found everyone courteous and polite in the lines waiting to get onshore in the ports. You draw more flies with honey.....so the saying goes.
The onboard entertainment in the theatre, except for the steel band, was mediocre. We opted for the casino on a couple of nights and broke even during the duration of the cruise.
Disembarkation was a snap. As we had the suite, we had a VIP room in the Medusa Restaurant where they served a continental breakfast. We were the second group to leave the ship.
We'd take another Costa cruise. We found the Europenas on borad to be respectful, polite, and courteous.
My ratings: Ship 8 of 10 Food 8 of 10.