Atlantica in New York City
Tour, Dinner & An Appraisal...
by Armand Mantia
Today, members of my branch of the
Steamship Historical Society were invited onboard Costa Atlantica for
a tour and dinner. Much has been written about the ship, good and bad,
so I thought I'd share my impressions with you.
I will confess that I have never been onboard a Joe Farcus designed
Carnival Cruise Line ship before, so I was not too sure what to expect
here. I have always believed in the motto "expect the worst and
you'll never be disappointed."
Believing this, the CA is not AS
garish as many of us had been led to believe. In fact, there are a
number of rather attractive areas on her, most especially the main
dining room and the Coral Lounge. And, if you look carefully, there
are many tiny details that are downright beautiful (little angels
peering out from different places, magnificent Murano glass sculptures
in the stairwells and especially the disco, mosaic floor borders, some
reproduction Renaissance art). Rather than vast public rooms, the ship
has many small rooms which give some sense of intimacy to her huge
size. There are a number of delightful little hidden areas which
easily shield you from the throngs of people. And, perhaps, the most
beautiful real chapel in a good long time at sea. Her exterior, while
far from sleek, is still much more attractive than (IMHO) the totally
hideous Millennium-class. Given her great length, she does seem rather
narrow and tall, so I can't imagine how she handles in rough water.
However, in addition to the nice
parts, there are also areas which are simply ghastly such as the main
foyer/atrium, (reminiscent of an even-more-overdone 1920's movie
palace) which reeked of cigarette smoke, and the extra-tariff
restaurant which was totally bereft of any warmth and intimacy.
Imagine eating dinner at the bottom of a municipal swimming pool.
Color and texture combinations
throughout the ship are anything but restrained. Overall, in his
attempt to honor Fellini, Joe Farcus has created for himself a vast
floating set right out of a bad Fellini movie. If this was his vision
of what "Italian" should look like, Italians the world over
should be offended. There are too many parts of this ship which are
far more evocative of Caesars Palace or the Bellagio than they are of
a cruise ship. Strangely, while the designers were considerate enough
to weave the deck numbers into the carpet at each stairwell and
elevator, they completely forgot to install ANY "you are
here" deck plans or provide any signage whatsoever telling you
where the public rooms are. While the elevators are bilingual in
announcing the deck numbers, they also don't tell you what's where.
There is also one fixture which many
found to be a disaster waiting to happen. Connecting the uppermost two
decks, and providing access to the Club Atlantica, is a completely
staircase suspended directly over the atrium. Once on the stairs, you
can see straight to the bottom of the atrium, 9 decks down! However,
you don't realize this until you have begun your ascent. Anyone with
the slightest case of vertigo would freeze solid halfway up and be
unable to move in either direction. Because they are clear, it is also
very difficult to judge the rise of the next step. If going up or down
a flight of stairs can be described as thoroughly unpleasant, this one
I must say that we were all impressed
with the quality and service of the dinner. We ordered off the regular
dining room menu and found each dish to be beautifully prepared and
elegantly presented. Portion size was more than ample and there were
at least three choices for each course.
Since the ship was totally full, we
could not inspect any cabins, although from the outside the balconies
seemed very small.
In total, the ship is not the
complete disaster many have claimed. It was said that many Europeans
do not like it at all, claiming it to be "too American" and
"too garish." Also the Costa family, which no longer has
anything to do with the business, dislikes her intensely. I'm glad I
got to see her, and on a really weird day could almost be tempted to
try her, but only if the price and the company were too good to pass
Back to Costa