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Melanie Hill

Age: 47

Occupation:Sales

Number of Cruises: First Cruise

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Atlantica

Sailing Date: February 17th, 2002

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

The overall cruise was terrific! Both my husband and I had never been on a cruise. We have been married for 2 years, had never taken a honeymoon, so this was our honeymoon cruise. We also were with my 2 brothers and their wives and one daughter each. So all in all there were 8 of us. Everyone except Bill and I had been on cruises before. One brother had been on 13 cruises, 12 of them with Costa.

THE SHIP: The Atlantica A beauty of a ship and heavy so we didn't even know we were moving ..at first. At night, sleeping, you get a gentle movement, and it helps you sleep soundly. The ship had 10 floors and a glass elevator, and many many attractive features. For non smokers though, as all of us are, there is far too many smoking areas, and in non-smoking areas, the non smoking isn't enforced as strictly as we would have liked. As compared to other ships as far as beauty and size we all were satisfied.

FOOD: Plentiful for the most part. In the dining room you can sample anything on the menu and as much of it as possible. However, the lobster, served only once, was a big disappointment. It wasn't tasty at all. However, the pasta was extra good. Cooked el dente and most of the sauces were truly a delight. The desserts were not as good. And my sister-in-law, wanted Italian cookies.. biscottis, and they didn't know what she was talking about. On an Italian ship that was surprising. Room service used to be very different by brother said. On previous cruises, he would order various nuts to be delivered to his room daily. This time they told him to use the snack bar, which you pay for. I was disappointed because I wanted cheese and crackers.. something that was on the menu each evening; when I tried to get from room service they said there would be a $6 charge. Again these were things you could get on past cruises...so I'm told. I wish the buffets for breakfast and lunch were around all day. Sometimes we'd get back from being in port around 4 or 5 and wanted a snack...but they were already torn down. The food near the pools is usually good if you get it while its fresh. In the afternoon the rolls are stale, and hot dogs and hamburgers are cold. On a scale of 1-10 1 being poor and 10 being excellent, I'd give the overall food a 6 or 7 and the desserts a 2 or 3. They looked much better than they tasted. One last thing about food, is the Midnight Buffet. I've always heard about how much food you get etc. I expected steamship round of roast beef etc. The first night it was all desserts. One other time there were desserts and a little food. Only the last night they had more food, but really not much. Most of the buffet was desserts and fruits. Again a big disappointment.

Cabins: We had a balcony which a lot of people tried to talk me out of. They said you won't be in your cabin much. Well we loved the balcony! In the afternoons we'd sit and have a drink or a snack. We'd watch as we pulled into port or leave port. At night it was very romantic. The sunrises and sunsets were beautiful. The room was a 10plus.

Overall cleanliness: Excellent throughout the ship. Each time we left our room it was a mess. When we returned it was clean. I don't know how they do it. All of the common areas were immaculate. Of course this is a fairly new ship.

Arrival and Departure: both were fairly easy. We arrived and went straight to someone who checked our identification. Then we went to a holding area with seats and waited for our number to be called. When they called the number before us, we went to line up. Then we went onto the ship. Leaving we went into an auditorium and were entertained for a while. Then we sat a little while longer. Then they told us we could leave. We got right off and went to claim our luggage. It was a lot easier than I thought. My family who have been before, said this had gotten easier from previous times. They were happy about that.

Pictures: They take your picture every time you do something. Boarding, dining, seeing a show, meeting the captain, boarding, going into port, etc. etc. Most of the pictures are great and you should get them. I say this because they are quite expensive and a lot of people pass them up. But the quality is so much better than ones you would take for yourself. Also, its great when you get off to show those who couldn't go. They are a nice keepsake. (no ones paying me to say this.)

Conclusion: Since I had never cruised before, I didn't know how I would like it. I thought I may feel closed in or something. I thought I may get bored. Thankful to say none of this happened. It was a great experience. I am looking forward to cruising again in the near future. Like anything else in life though its what you make of it. You can choose to enjoy the things you like, and not dwell on those you don't, or you can look for all the negatives and have a miserable time. We chose to have a great time and we did. Next time though I think I'd pick a different ship to compare. Of course I would also go on the same line again at a future date.

Thank you for reading, Melanie

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