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Copyright © 1995-2004 
Linda Coffman

 

Cruise Review - Costa AtlanticaCosta Atlantica
Norwegian Fjords & Baltic Capitals
August 8-22, 2004

By Stefania Silvestri of Roma, Italy

I had my first experience on Costa and I am very enthusiastic about its costumer care. I have had many previous experiences with almost all the major Cruise Lines such as Celebrity, RCC, Princess, Cunard, Carnival etc., and I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about an Italian Cruise Line.
We chose two cruises, the Norwegian Fjords and the Baltic Capitals from 08/8/2004 to 08/22/2004 and we booked the complete packages (airplanes, transfers, hotels) through Costa.

PRE CRUISE
I received the cruises documents for my Travel Agent. The booklet was the most complete the most explanatory I ever had. All was clearly reported and nothing was left undefined or unclear. We had very good assistance from the Costa representative, arriving and departing from Copenhagen and from and to the port. We really felt sheltered by them. There were a Costa help desk in each hotel (The Square and Admiral) and the representatives were very helpful and nice, giving us a letter with the welcome of the Cruise Line and all the information we needed during our stay and the scheduling of the drop in and drop out services. The rooms at our hotels booked directly from Cruise line were very good. I liked a lot the Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen . It’s a very distinct building, and it deserves a stay.

The cruise embarkation was very smooth, notwithstanding the security procedure with a warm welcome by some members of the crew coming into the amazing “ La Dolce Vita ” Atrium.

THE SHIP
The ship is fine and it’s a very big vessel, very stable and very silent (sometimes I asked to myself if we were sailing or not), no seasickness (yahoo!).

The cabin (we choose the first deck and one inside cabin) was very comfortable and full of space in the cabinets and in the drawers. Our cabin steward Rodney from Philippines , was very kind and professional and he made a good job also with the Laundry service (very professional)

The most of the passengers were Italians, then we had a great representatives of Spain (very cheerful and nice), then Germans, Portuguese, and French people.

Although it is not a smoker free ship, I never noticed a smoke smell in all the vessel.

The lounges are all beautiful and inspired to our Federico Fellini. The most popular lounge was the Piazza Madame Butterfly, where two duo singers and players performed (all very good). This is maybe the focal point of the ship, where many activities are held.

Most of the Italian guest skipped some lounges like Caffe’ Florian, always deserted. It’s a pity that a so vast space is often empty. The Olympia Gym very big and full of any kind of fitness equipment. The outside decks are very well maintained, and there where sun chairs all with soft mattresses.
The three swimming pools are very nice, and when the weather was not very good, the middle swimming pool was covered by the crystal mega dome. All seemed not very overcrowded. The Coral Lounge, directly down to the Caruso Theatre, was a nice place for dancers and for parties. It should be more improved by different performances. I appreciate a lot the most beautiful glass vase collections on each level near stairways and lifts.

FOOD
The Botticelli Buffet has 4 buffet lines plus two smaller lines dedicated to cakes and ice cream and to the Health Corner. Each day two buffet lines were dedicated to typical national dishes (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, and, one of the best, to Italian seafood). Outside the Botticelli Buffet and in the Ginger and Fred Pools and the Aurora Pools areas, there were two grill lines serving breakfast and typical grill food like Hamburger, French fries, and hot dogs (quite far from Italian taste).

About food... (I increased 2 kilos!!! I hate Costa!) very, very Italian. The taste of the food is very good, we often ate fish, frequently fresh - they grant us that trucks from Genova reach the Atlantica every 3 days!- and it's true because we ate some kind of Italian specialties that you can find only over here!

The buffets are very different and varied (one day I counted 5 different kinds of pasta (2 kind of spaghetti dressed with different sauce - Carbonara and the other with tomato sauce olives, anchovies and caper, one oven polenta topped with cheese, Gnocchi di semolino - better than the ones that my mom and I make at home, and chick peas soup), plus grilled prawns, fried calamari, mussels....at last a great and good quantity of food!

I couldn't help but notice the continuous checking in the restaurants and buffets by the Maitre D', Mr. Fernando Sanna and the Director of Food Services, Mr. Percivale. They were everywhere!

The Tiziano Restaurant is a very wide two stores dining rooms, somber, and well decorated. We requested a table for two on the second seating (9:30 pm, maybe late for not Italian guests) but the service was very smooth and attentive. Our waiters (Gabriel from Romania and Wayne from India ) were very attentive (I requested a special bread and I found it each dinner on my table thanks to the care of Wayne). Both waiters were always ready to fulfill any our requests. The service in the dining room was very, very good, I felt sheltered and cared for by our headwaitr Mr. Salvatore, who had a nice and pleasant words for all his guests. The executive chef, Mr. Paolo Màspero, is a young man from Genova or Liguria and he received the most applause and a standing ovation from all the guests during the farewell dinner. He deserve all the ovations. (I congratulate with him personally). All his staff did a very good job.

For the first time in a back to back cruise we had for dinner an additional menu, a second choice of the regular menu. Cakes were very good (specially soufflés, Pastiera - one Neapolitan specialty, and fruits sorbets) also starters (we appreciate grilled oysters and the delicious and very special “Frittella di Gianchetti” a sort of pancakes made with baby fishes). Excellent seafood dishes, soups, and some little surprises like fried calamari or bruschetta that sometimes were served.

To say the true pizza was not very good, and the afternoon tea is a little bit lacking. They must improve the variety of the snacks. (On the Infinity I had one of my best afternoon teas, my mom said the elegant tea on Cunard was a must!)

ENTERTAINMENTS AND CREW
The crewmembers on board are very nice and patient and the service is very attentive... especially the personnel at Reception, always ready to solve any kind of problems.

The Captain's Welcome cocktail and the repeaters cocktail are very solemn and elegant, no hint about business affairs, and the our Master Giuliano Bossi welcomed all the guests with some beautiful and poetical words - in 5 languages - at last Italian.

The shows are very good and the Cruise Director, Mr. Michele Esposito, and his staff was very nice and not too much invasive.

OTHERS
We had a very good service from the free shuttle offered by the cruise line in most of the ports and the program of the day named the "Today" is very full of information.

We had a surprise from the Master of the ship. We were sailing through Flam Fjord in the direction of Bergen and the ship made a little deviation to another little pristine Fjord. We reached a very amazing place! A minor harbor. Two little villages, between mountains and a glacier, waterfall, little red houses, no kind of noise, and the ship made a couple rotations allowing all the passengers to watch this fairy-tale landscape.

It’s a night lovers ship. I was very happy about this because I remember a cruise made in the Caribbean some years ago on board another ship, when the most of the activities were over around 10:30 pm. What a bore! Except two Gala evenings each week, suggested dress is casual, but I must consider that from Spanish People to French, most were wearing semi-formal attire during the informal evenings. Not many tuxedos.

So, this was one of my best experiences of all my cruises (obviously I'm not talking about luxurious cruise lines!) It was my best cruise considering the quality/price factor. I wish to suggest Costa to all people who expect to have a very lively Italian experience and who who love to be pampered by a very efficient staff.


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