Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Costa
Ship: Costa Atlantica
Sailing Date: January 2nd, 2006
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Costa Cruise Lines
Costa Atlantica Cruise Review
I chose Costa cruise lines as I traveled with them in Europe in the 1990's. At that time, the service and food was excellent. In addition, I chose Costa as they provided the itinerary I wanted, namely Tortola, Antigua and St. Lucia.
Prior to departing, I advised Costa, as did my travel agent, that I had cruised Costa before. On arrival on the ship, I was advised they had no record of this. I was referred to the Costa Club rep who was on duty one hour a day at the dinner hour. I lined up, spoke to her and she said there would be a cocktail party. When we received no invitation, I reminded her. We subsequently received an invite to a cocktail party at 9pm on January 8. We had dinner at the early sitting so we showed up at 9.10pm and were told the party was over as it was to accommodate late diners. So much for Costa Club.
I found the staff at the front desk and the excursion desk very curt and not helpful. Not sure if they were as frustrated as I was with the long lineups to speak to them or in the case of the excursion desk, their limited hours. Every ticket issued by the excursion desk was wrong so we had to lineup again to get it corrected. Lunch hours for dining were changed, without notice, to accommodate those on morning tours but impacted those on afternoon tours. Costa does not facilitate online booking of excursions before you depart.
As Costa is a European line, smoking is very prevalent. Yes, there are non-smoking areas but you have to walk through clouds of smoke to reach them.I realize this is a cultural issue but one I was not prepared for.
Our English speaking rep, Tatiana, was very helpful, patient and readily available. We tipped her extra.
The service and the quality of food in the dining room left a lot to be desired. We had to ask for wine and went three days before our waiter asked if we wanted tea or coffee. A strange thing happened on the Gala night. The crew sat at a table next to us and received far superior service and special food. Why not the paying customers? Our last day on the ship, having breakfast in the dining room, Rupesh Singh waited on us. He was excellent and would be a good one to train the rest of the staff on good customer dining service. I hope you find this as funny as we did. I loved the breadsticks in the dining room. On a couple of days, they didn't have them and I asked why. The answer was "no breadsticks while in port". Never figured that one out.
Our room service lady was slow and not attentive. Dirty glasses were removed but not replaced as was the water. A room steward by the name of 'Ted' who heard us talking about our poor room service, attended to our needs every day and he was not even assigned to our room. He went above and beyond. We tipped Ted extra.
A bartender by the name of Archie, always brightened our day. His sense of humour and magic tricks were great. We also tipped him extra.
Generally speaking the shows were okay. The announcer was definite overkill.
A general comment is that it is much easier to board Costa than Princess or Holland America but very disorganized and lineup prone once you are on board.
Something to note that I was not aware of until we departed the ship - the mandatory tip put on your credit card could have been waived if you visited the reception desk.
In summary, we went to wonderful ports on our cruise, had fantastic weather and met some great people; however, we have already booked another cruise for Europe in the fall and it is on Oceania.