Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Costa
Ship: Costa Atlantica
Sailing Date: April 11th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Our party of eight ( my husband & I, sister & brother in-law, 18 yr old daughter and her three friends) just returned from a Western Caribbean cruise on the Costa Atlantica. I, like a former reviewer, am glad that I didn't read some of the previous reviews before we booked this cruise. This cruise was booked in celebration of our daughter and her friends' graduation and I was extremely nervous after reading some of the reviews posted on this site. My nervousness was for naught because we all had an extremely wonderful experience.
Upon arrival at the Fort Lauderdale Airport we took two taxis ($11.00 for 4 passengers per taxi) to the port terminal, dropped off our luggage and proceeded to the embarkment area. The entire embarkment procedure took less than 10 minutes for our entire party. This is our fifth cruise and this was by far the quickest and smoothest embarkment we have ever experienced. Our cabins were not ready yet so we proceeded to the theater and were given information about some of the excursions. After about 20 minutes one of the cruise staff announced that our cabins were ready. We had booked 2 balcony cabins and 1 inside cabin which were all on Deck 6. The balcony cabins were nicely decorated and it was nice to have a couch to sit on instead of just the beds. I loved having the balcony and took some absolutely fabulous sunrise pictures. Our cabin steward, Celso, was very courteous, prompt & attentive. He always greeted us with a smile (even after cleaning the room of our four teenage girls).
The dining room staff was equally as courteous & attentive. We had a table on the first floor at the first sitting. Our waiter, Eric (Omar), and his assistant paid close attention to our preferences the first night and every night thereafter remembered to bring us what we preferred. Not an easy task with a party of eight. Eric always had a smile on his face and would remind us of the events going on later in the evening.
Our goodbye hugs the last night were indeed genuine as we enjoyed our time spent with Eric. The maitre'd, also made a point of coming around to our table almost every night to make sure that everything was okay.
The conga line, Baked Alaska parade, Roman parade and the waiters/dancers on the second floor balcony added an extra touch of fun to our dining experience. I wouldn't say the food was exceptional, but was very good and there always was a variety to choose from.
>From the very first night, the cruise staff under the direction of Cassandra, was great! Their excitement and exuberance was contagious. They were all very friendly and engaging. One of the girls in our party asked if the staff on the other cruises we had gone on was this friendly and engaging and I told her that this was by far the most friendly staff we had encountered. From the dance lessons to the 50's party to the Roman Toga party a great time was had by all! We felt that the night time shows in the Caruso Theater got better and better as the week went on.
One of the reasons we chose this itinerary was the fact that there were 4 ports of call and only 2 days at sea. Unfortunately, due to windy weather, we were not allowed to dock in Ocho Rios by the port authority. Our ships captain did however arrange for us to dock in Montego Bay - a port which we could have done without. As far as I'm concerned, it was a wasted stop.
Once we returned to Ft. Lauderdale, debarkment also went smoothly. Not as quickly as embarkment, but smoothly nonetheless. We located our baggage, hired a porter, were out the door , into a van and at the door of the airport in about 40 minutes.
In summary, we all had a wonderful time on the Atlantica. We enjoyed the variety of different nationalities and languages. Even if we had to listen to all the announcements in five languages! I do believe that because this was Easter vacation week there were a greater number of families and children than if it were a non-holiday week, which contributed to a more lively atmosphere all- around. I would not hesitate to recommend this ship to anyone and would book this cruise again for our family. As in anything, when you have 2500 people in one place at the same time, you get 2500 different opinions and versions. I believe that if you look for and dwell on the negative then you will have negative experience. We all went into this expecting to have a great time and wanting to take in everything we possibly could in the week we had onboard. Therefore, we have great memories of our wonderful experience on the Costa Atlantica.