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Stephanie

Age: 27

Occupation:Consultant

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Atlantica

Sailing Date: 2010-02-4

Itinerary: Western Carribean

We chose this cruiseline for the initial reason of the price. It also helped that they offer a kids sail free program and in this economy, who can't say that's a welcome treat. We had an excellent time and are in the process of finding our next Costa cruise, this time sailing to the Eastern Carribean.

Although my children can be picky eaters, they always found more than enough food to eat. My husband and I enjoyed the selection and never went hungry. To me it's a little funny that this ship gets such bad reviews for their food yet the dozens of people we talked to were complaining on the fourth day that their clothes were getting snug. Nobody on our cruise had complaints about the food or it's temperature and we all looked forward to going to the main restaurant every evening for our dinner. There was plenty of selection and the servings were more than enough.

Our room was more than we could have expected. Very clean and the everything we requested was taken care of in a very timely manner. My husband and children would tend to leave their clothes laying around and our cabin steward would neatly put their clothes folded on the beds. A few days, when my husband and I dropped the children off at the Squok club, we went to our rooms for a short nap and when we would return after enjoying a drink on deck, he already had our bed made up again. Our cabin steward definitely made us feel like royalty on our vacation and my kids and I just thought he was terrific!

While our main goal was relaxation, anyone with children knows that that is the last thing on kids minds! We brought our daughter, 8, and son, 7, to the childrens club on the second day after hearing great things from other guests. Our daughter is terribly shy and suffers from separation anxiety but we thought we'd give it a try anyways. After we signed them in I sat in one of the lounges waiting to be paged back to pick her up. When no one paged I took a walk back and peeked in. She was having so much fun and playing so well with the other children!! The staff at the club always remember the kids name and had more energy than I can explain! On our third day while we were eating breakfast 2 of the staff from the club approached us at our table to ask the kids if " they could come play" after our meal. I thought this was really cute! The kids didn't want to leave the club most days and really enjoyed the donut party and ice cream party. Any parent traveling with children knows how priceless it is to have your children entertained and enjoying themselves on holidays!! Costa is exceptional for family travelling!!!

We did the sting ray adventure in Cayman Islands. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that both the children and us as adults enjoyed. We had thought about booking the excursions with our agent while booking the cruise but were so grateful we didn't. The prices were between $7-$40 cheaper through Costa. One thing I thought was great was that the staff had been on a lot of the excursions since Costa send two employees with each group, and they were more than willing to share their experiences with us. We avoided spending $40 per person on an excursion in Honduras because the lady at the desk told us it simply wasn't worth it and gave us advice what to do instead. We met another family that evening who had booked that excursion and come the day we went to Honduras, they were very disappointed with it. We however, with the help of the employees, had a wonderful time!!!

Bottom line, if you are traveling with kids and are using the amenities geared towards the younger ones, you simply cannot go wrong. As a parent I have heard too many times "I'm bored!" or "this is no fun!'. That didn't happen once with Costa. My kids are looking forward to our next cruise and are adamant we travel with Costa again! My husband and I were very impressed and had a wonderful time on the Atlantica. One thing to keep in mind is that on formal nights, it is formal!! I did feel slightly under dressed a few times at dinner but had a great time anyways. The staff is amazing, the boat is clean and a good time was had by all! Happy sailing!

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