ATLANTICA: EASTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE
Dec. 10-17, 2000
A Review by Mary & Vincent Finelli
was our "LUCKY" 13th cruise
in the past four years and our fifth on Costa ships. We have sailed once on the Costa
Victoria and three times on the Costa
Romantica, thus we know what "Cruising Italian Style" means.
The all white Costa ships with their sleek silhouettes and yellow stacks
emblazoned with the navy blue "C" are easily recognized both in port
and at sea. In the face of the new
boxy style Gigaships, the Costa Line has remained true to the classic liner
shape and the new Costa Atlantica is
more of the same on the outside, but radically different on the inside.
She has the elegance of the Costa
Romantica, including the extensive use of marble, granite, fine fixtures
and art work. However, the Atlantica is
not sober elegance as expected from traditional Italian design, but she is more
glitzy and busy in details as in the style characteristic of the Carnival ships
decorated by Joe Farcus. But we
think that Pier Luigi Foschi, the Costa Crociere President, has put together a
large group of artists who definitely created the Italian atmosphere throughout
the ship. The overwhelming quantity of artworks in every public area, corridor,
elevator, etc. is so extensive that it requires a book, COSTA ATLANTICA ARTWORKS, (221 pgs.) enumerating and describing the
huge art collection on board: representing various cultures, styles and ages
from original Venetian style glass works and museum quality copies of Botticelli
and Titian to replicas of Pompeian frescos; from modern pieces of art to the
repetition of design achieved with the use of glass, marble, mosaics, ceramic
and teakwood. Now we know why ships
are called SHE, because they are like
women each to be appreciated for her uniqueness and the Costa
Atlantica lives up to her reputation as no other ship you have ever seen,
due to the undeniable richness of its decor -- MAGNIFICENT!
Although the grandiose scale of the Eagle Class gigaships of RCCL, Voyager
of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas,
is not found in the smaller Costa Atlantica
(84,000 tons), the attention to detail and the overwhelming abundance of art and
artisanship combine to make her the crown jewel of the Costa Lines.
at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale she seemed much like the other Costa ships
but larger, except for the five decks of balconied cabins (80% of the cabins
have ocean view and most of theses have private verandas).
Once on board you immediately know she is different.
It is detail, detail, detail that dazzles the eye!
And it continues to amaze you all week with newly noticed detail.
we had booked a suite, we had priority boarding and were processed in less than
five minutes and then were sent to a waiting area, because we had requested a
wheel chair. In five more minutes we were on board and escorted to our suite in
a total of ten minutes in all (Costa welcomes passengers aboard better than all
other lines). On the way up in the
glass cage elevator (there are three of them), we were struck by the beautiful
Pompeian style mural which covers the eight deck high Atrium wall.
Looking up we saw the crystal stairway leading from Deck 9 to Deck 10 and
the alternative dining Club Atlantica.
Panoramic Suite with veranda #6219 (360
sq. ft.) on deck 6 gave the impression of a Captain's quarters on an 18th
century galleon: The 12" teakwood ceiling molding capped the entire room.
When entering, on the right there is a mirrored wall with three teakwood
pillars, with ebony cone-shaped capitals. Then
follows a desk and a refrigerated minibar with granite countertops and beyond
that a beige leather sofa which converts to a queen size bed and finally a
coffee table. When entering on the
left, there is an ante room with a lady's dressing table and a lighted wall of
mirrors opposite a huge armoire; beyond that is the bathroom with double sinks
and again mirrored wall, full bathtub/shower with Jacuzzi (again all granite
counters and marble walls with mosaic trim).
VERY NICE! We found
complimentary white Costa robes and bathroom slippers.
Exiting the bathroom and going left there is a wall console with the
safe, bar, TV and another huge armoire (a double closet with bureau).
There is a queen size bed with a granite shelf on the headboard and
another mirrored wall. The three
end tables and the desk had beautiful Venetian blown glass and copper table
lamps and there were two beautifully framed original pictures "Le Amiche"
("The Friends") by Ciferri and the "Paesaggio con Neve"
("Landscape with Snow") by Corradin.
The entrance floor is parquet and the carpeting is beige and coral, with
a hounds tooth design of charcoal. The
far wall is mostly glass, with a door leading onto the 8'X15' veranda which
holds two teak reclining chairs and a small table to which Marianela, the
butler, added a lounge chair. All
the other ships we have cruised on had plastic or metal veranda furniture: The
wood was much more elegant looking. The
ambiance is nautical in a subdued and Italianate way.
We feel the difference between cabins and suites is more than the cost
difference. . . . Whenever possible we book a suite; although, we did visit our
son's ocean view cabin with veranda #8226 (210 sq. ft.) and it was nice, but the
appointments of our suite were much more impressive for the cost difference.
When we arrived in our cabin we found a bottle of Prosecco Spumante chilling
with two glasses and a bowl of fruit. Throughout
our cruise Teresa, our stewardess, and Marianela were efficient and
non-intrusive. Every morning
Marianela set the breakfast table with a white cloth and with our order she
always included freshly squeezed orange juice which tasted better than the
reconstituted one. THANK YOU MARIANELA!
new ship was inaugurated July 15, 2000 and is fresh and crisp in appointments
with an attention
to detail that is incredible. Each
public area has a theme that is carried out exquisitely and the overall theme of
homage to Fellini and his movies is one that allows for nostalgia and a unifying
backdrop for the entire ship. On
Deck 3 the Paparazzi Bar has a display of larger than life candid pictures taken
in Rome during the filming of some Fellini's
films of the 1950's & '60's, depicting famous stars like Marcello
Mastroianni, Ava Gardner, David Niven, Anita Ekberg, Jayne Mansfield and many
more. The decks are named after Fellini films ( i.e.. La Strada, La Dolce Vita,
Amarcord, 8 1/2, etc.) giving continuity to the theme.
The decor is a nice introduction to Italy and things Italian for those
who have never been there and a trip down memory lane for those of us familiar
with Italy. The Caffe` Florian is a
replica of the famed Venetian tea room of the same name and there is much to
admire in its three separate rooms of differing decor: the first room is a
portrait gallery of famous Venetians (Marco Polo, Goldoni, Sarpi, Orseolo,
Pisani etc.). Check out the optical
illusion created from looking through its open window into the next salon and
through the next window into the third salon which has an equal sized mirror on
the far wall -- all are aligned to give the effect of six rather than three
rooms . . . VERY INTERESTING!
The middle room ceiling has portraits of figures seated on clouds (the Goddess
Roma and a figure of Italia holding a S.P.Q.R. sign).
Those passengers who enjoy a good puzzle may try to identify these
mythological figures (the Muses
etc.). We did.
Another area, which we found beautiful, is the arcade corridor on Deck 3
leading to Virtual World (video game room, Deck 4), Pinocchio's Room (the
children's hangout, Deck 5) and the Chapel.
This terracotta paved flagstone walk holds twenty or so arches covered in
Morning Glory and Stephanotis vines and huge round windows flanked by small
mosaic topped tables and rattan chairs with velour pads and lighted wall
sconces. By day, one can sit and
watch the ocean and by night it presents a beautiful site for sitting or
strolling. We were there several
times and had it all to ourselves. The
long walk also provides a lesson in art perspective, since the arches are
repeated so many times. Most
cruisers enjoy the shows and the busy swimming pools or the night clubs,
however, we also enjoy quiet at times and the library on the Atlantica
is quiet and elegant in the manner of a Gentleman's Club: Four internet
stations, of Hewlett Packard L1800
model computers ($6.00/15 min.), a paucity of books (it needs to be improved
with more books on a greater variety of subjects), but great decor: Teak
bookcases with pillars, green glass urns and torches topped with crystal fern
fronds, a matching crystal chandelier and walls of green water silk taffeta with
the frond motif repeated. The Madam
Butterfly Lounge had thirty or so crystal geishas in niches encircling the room.
This is where most cooking shows and trivia quizzes were given.
We played a few quizzes and won some, but we soon realized that the
Cruise staff needs some updated games, since their questions were repetitious
and especially recognizable by repeaters. We
suggested that the staff should get some reference books, such as a new World
Almanac and other sources of information, to help them in formulating new
questions for their games. When
riding in the elevators, the glass sculptures of dancing figures and the glass
vases in niches are the works of Bubacco
and Moretti, respectively. Don't
forget there are three swimming pools, three
Jacuzzi whirlpools, a tennis court, a workout center with aerobics
equipments and a health spa with a Thalasso-therapy pool, not as big and
functional as the one on the Celebrity
Century, but very nice.
For those interested in gambling there is a great Casino with tables for
Blackjack, Caribbean Stud and Draw Poker, Roulette, Craps and a large variety of
slot machines. Usually we spend a few hours in the Casino losing a few
hundred dollars, but this was our lucky cruise and we ended up winning about one
hundred dollars. The on board shopping is nicely set in the winding Via della
Spiga and it includes a unique Versace store.
We think, however, that the best buys on this ship are in perfumes.
The traffic patterns flow
nicely on this thoughtfully designed ship, allowing passengers to enjoy many of
the different lounges. For example,
on the way to the Tiziano Dining Room, one can sit on the huge avant-garde red
leather chairs, and enjoy the view. This
is probably the most detailed ship review we have written, but it is the amazing
abundance of detail on the Costa
Atlantica which makes her so captivating.
reserved early seating and a table for eight in the upper level (deck 3) of the
Tiziano Dining Room, since we traveled with family and friends: Our son
Marcello and his lovely wife Paige, who were married on the Costa Romantica; two
cousins, Haydee from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Mary from Tucson, Arizona; and
our friends Maria and Salvatore from Cincinnati, Ohio.
We found that we enjoyed some activities together and basically we met
only at mutually enjoyed venues and at dinner each night where we traded
interesting stories. The rest of time, we pursued different activities.
We had a small problem on the first night when we found a couple at our
table, who had informed the assistant Maitre D' that they were friends of ours;
however, Cosimo Costanza, the Maitre D' adjusted everything and we were seated
at table #620 with great service from Julio, the waiter, and Roque, the
assistant waiter. The choices on the menu were vast and varied.
We enjoyed our meals in this elegant and formal atmosphere.
We would rate it among the best of dining at sea.
Definitely get the prime rib, the roast duck, the rack of lamb, the
prosciutto (the real Parma brand) and melon, and most of all, try the pasta
dishes, which, upon request, will be cooked al
dente just for you. We always
chose different dishes and definitely different desserts so we tasted most of
the fare offered.
also dined in the Club Atlantica, the alternative dining, and we were very
pleased with an exquisitely prepared and served meal (there is a cover charge of
$15 per person). The menu for this
restaurant was created by the famous Gualtiero Marchesi, an Italian chef who
received three stars in the Michelin Guide and many other awards, both in Italy
and worldwide. In contrast with the
Portofino, the alternative restaurant of the Explorer of the Seas, which last month left us with a disappointed
palate, the Club Atlantica is truly a gourmet restaurant where the adjectives of
squisito and delizioso are in order. We highly recommend it: the service was top
notch; the dinnerware was by Versace and beautiful; it was a leisurely eaten and
delightfully enjoyed meal, accompanied by two wonderful wines.
We had been told by our new friend, the Hotel Director, Attilio Sissa,
not to miss it. And he was right!
It would have been a great loss not to have dined there.
It was like dining on top of the world.
Make reservations for Club Atlantica during the first day on board, so
you may choose the preferred evening, possibly not during a Gala night, when the
menu in the Tiziano is at its best.
we have found the entertainment on board to be the "usual fare" since
there is much homogeneity among cruise ships:
Musical Reviews with super singers and dancers,
comedians which are so-so, and top rated singers.
And so it was with this cruise, except for having one of our favorite
Italo-American singers, Richard Ianni. He
once again had a standing ovation after his performance in the beautiful Caruso
Theater and then another standing ovation in the Corallo Lounge, a stunning,
more intimate nightclub room on Deck 1 with glass walls and an undersea theme.
In this lounge, Sonny Petrillo, a Sinatra style singer, also gave an outstanding
performance of a "Tribute to Frank Sinatra."
Also in this room Captain Massimo Garbarino held his Repeaters' Cocktail
Party. He graciously visited each group and remembered our son and his wife from
their honeymoon on the Romantica!
His continental personality entranced the ladies in our group.
The days on this ship, as on other ships, are filled with activities and
entertainment, from jogging to aerobics, from dancing lessons to cooking
demonstrations, from Italian lessons to musical games, from bridge lessons to
tennis tournaments, etc. The very
personable Cruise Director, Ray Rouse, and his staff
(including Antonello and Andy) kept the passengers occupied and
entertained, but most of all they maintained a festive atmosphere throughout the
week, characteristic of an Italian festa,
especially on the Italian night, in La Dolce Vita Atrium (Deck 2), where
they were dressed in gorgeous Renaissance costumes and danced and played street
games with the passengers. And then
there was the Toga night. We did not
dress in costume, but like many passengers enjoyed the Roman Spectacle.
Puerto Rico, 3:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Many
passengers felt the crowds in the streets of the city limited their sight seeing
U.S.V.I., 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There
are many beautiful island tours and great shopping, especially at Mr.
Island, Dominican Republic, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This is a nice beach and swim day with a buffet on Costa's private
Nassau, Bahamas, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. There
are many shore excursions to choose from: island tours, snorkeling, Blue Lagoon
etc., or stay on board for a restful massage.
was simple; we had priority red tickets, but debarkation did not begin until
8:45 a.m. because several non-US citizens failed to show up on time for
Immigration clearance. We had left
our mini-van in the port parking garage and the weekly fee was $70.00.
Not bad, we live not far from there and were home by 9:30 a.m.
Our group of eight all agreed a great time was had by all and we were
sorry to leave the spectacular Costa
asked several passengers how they were enjoying the cruise and the ship.
The vast majority answered that they were having a great cruise and that
they thought the ship was beautiful; however, there were some suggestions for
Someone complained that it was the Christmas Holidays and there where no signs
of seasonal decorations. However,
we felt that the ship was already so adorned that it was not necessary to
"gild the lily."
An English couple wanted "biscuits" with their cheeses instead of
American Saltine Crackers.
An elderly couple would have liked deck chairs placed on the Promenade Deck so
they could have enjoyed the ocean breeze without going up to the pool deck.
At places on the ship some drinks, such as orange juice, had an unpleasant
aftertaste, due to being reconstituted with chlorinated water.
We suggest utilizing purified water
throughout the ship when making reconstituted beverages or ice.
are simple requests which can be easily accommodated thus making a cruise on the
Atlantica a perfect vacation.
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