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Scott A Shaw

Age: 48

Occupation:Hotelier

Number of Cruises: 15+

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Atlantica

Sailing Date: 2010-02-6

Itinerary: Mexican Magic

Upon arrival to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.), the check-in process seemed to be easy, despite the various stages of the process that are involved. However, I spoke to many couples who arrived later than we did and they complained that the process was cumbersome and time consuming. Your bags are quickly attended to and this entire process was painless. Upon entering into the check-in building you present your electronic ticket information and associated cruise documents to a person behind the counter, whom you initially believe will do the entire check-in procedure. However, this is not the case. This person scans your passports and collects your boarding form only then directs you to enter the boat. Immediately upon stepping onto the boat you are greeted by security personnel who take your picture which is for the identification process with the on-board security system. This was a not too bad for us because we arrived early, however, those who arrived later in the day also found this process to be time consuming and a location where a line developed with slow remedy. We were told to proceed to the buffet lunch on deck 9 because our room would not be ready until approximately 130ish. This was fine, but still we received no key and we were told that the key is placed into the stateroom by our room steward, which is a first for us. We have never checked into a cruise without receiving a key, but, this may be a more acceptable procedure than we realize.

The Costa Atlantica is a very beautiful ship that is immediately recognized upon the arrival onto the ship in the Dolce Vita lobby area. Brilliant colors and wonderful Italian textiles are utilized throughout the ship and at each venue it seems more striking than the next.

The group dinner experience was completely unacceptable and out of all cruises that we have personally experienced, this service was the worst by far. I will not get into too many details because there is not enough space to type out my frustrations. Suffice it to say that we ate there the first two evenings and we decided to eliminate any additional nights in that restaurant and chose to utilize the buffet on deck 9 rather than put up with the poor professionalism exuded by the staff assigned to our table 50, up against the aft windows.

I will say that when I made an appointment to speak with Mr. Abruzinni, the Atlantica Hotel Director, he was very respectful and truly concerned about my experiences and even fell on the sword, so to speak, as he was well aware of "issues" within the restaurant in which he is working on repairing. He also brought in Mr. Palumbo, the Maitre D' of the restaurant who also echoed his concern and acknowledgment of the problems. They graciously offered us to eat in their upscale restaurant for the remainder of the cruise as their guests, however, we declined as it is not typically our makeup to accept any sort of remuneration for such issues but rather prefer to bring the problem to the management attention, if warranted, so a future guest doesn't have the same issues.

This particular cruise was made up primarily of senior travelers, and an overwhelming amount of International guests, whom the cruise line does cater to, especially since they are an Italian Cruise Line. I would not suggest this particular cruise for families, yet they did offer children programs. If you have a child under three years old, there are no programs for them to participate and the "kiddie pool" on deck 11 is insufficient in comparison to other cruise ships facilities for similarly aged children. Be aware that if you have a child in a stroller, there is no elevator to get you to the level of the kiddie pool, only steps access this area.

The tender service in Key West was an awful experience, both in distance that you had to tender and the waiting period to get your tender from the boat, and to the boat. We also tendered in Grand Cayman, as does every other ship because of no formal dock space. However, in this instance the tender was handled by a Cayman organization with larger capacity boats compared to that used in Key West, which were the Atlantica's emergency boats with smaller capacity. I will say that the manner in which they organize the tender service with numbers and waiting in the showroom makes this less painful and more comfortable.

We were invited to all of the Captain's events and chose to participate in one of them that was held in the Cafe Florentine, which is an absolutely beautiful venue. It is a cafe that hold perhaps 100 people within its three rooms, all of which are appointed in Italian flare.

I cannot comment on the Casino as we did not even go into that location, nor can I comment on the shows, but my wife who did attend said the shows were spectacular.

The cruise director, Andrea (male), was seemingly very professional and was seen often around the ship. He came across as being quite friendly and one who loves his job in hosting people aboard the Atlantica. It seems that most senior staff are Italian, as one would expect, and most staff personnel are of Philippine heritage. With the exception of the staff in the restaurant, all were true professionals and were great representatives for Costa. By the way, do yourself a favor and walk around the entire ship to see the various outlets and public spaces. All are really decorated well and some such as Cafe Florentine are exquisite.

Overall, the Costa Atlantica would be a perfect cruise for the right crowd. This is NOT a cruise to be taken if you are younger looking for a partying crowd. It is the perfect cruise if you are a senior citizen who likes to dance, get dressed up for formal events (two gala evenings) and mingle with similarly aged people.

The departure process was extremely organized and decided by cabin location, with the earliest disembarkation commencing at 745am, and the last being approximately two hours later. If you are in a suite, or a higher leveled cabin, you are the first off. Subsequently, it appeared that the lower your stateroom the later your disembarkation. However, if you have connecting flights, or prefer to depart earlier, the cruise line offered to work with you to get you off within your own preference of time.

The food is typically Mediterranean, so remember this is NOT typical American food. If you are going on board expecting that, you will be disappointed. Overall, the food was average, nothing special and nothing that will be remembered. They take the normal short cuts to minimize expense with minimizing on portions and also water down items such as Orange Juice. They also utilize an antiquated system of buying a "book" of vouchers/tickets for a soda program that equates to about $2.50 per can of coke, or non-alcoholic kids drink.

The Dolce Vita bar in the main lobby is a great locale for meeting and drinking some excellent libations, served by fantastic servers and staff. We truly enjoyed meeting people there and the staff were all attentive to our needs.



We had a balcony stateroom on the 8th deck, specifically 8153. This room has a deeper balcony that was really nice to have. It was nicely appointed, inclusive of a full leather couch that turned into a bed for a third person in the cabin. The bathroom was very nice, although the colors were somewhat out dated, but they did not impact the functionality of the facilities. We had the two twin beds put together which were extremely comfortable with nice linen and a variety of pillows, soft and hard. The terrycloth towels were stained in most cases, yet they were more than usable and did not cause any problems.

The television would now be classified as old because it is not a flat screen. However, it certainly was quite functional. Oddly enough, the American affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX were all shown by utilizing the Denver feed on each of them. These were the only English speaking channels, all others were primarily Italian and there was one German channel. If you are a news junkie like me, you will be disappointed that CNN, or Fox News is not available.

The stateroom steward, Archie, was one of the best that we have experienced in all of our cruises. He attended to all of our needs and beyond. So much so that my wife decided to give him a private gratuity of $100.00, which speaks volumes of his worth to us.

We did not participate in too many on board activities and cannot properly offer an evaluation.

We did not utilize on board excursions but rather booked them via the internet on our own.

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