What type of North American passenger would like this type of Costa cruise? A value oriented traveler who has traveled in Europe preferably on land rather than ship.
A FARCUS DESIGN
I had never sailed Costa and rarely sold it, but I worked a sailing in with a one day trip I took to New York City.
As soon as you walk into the atrium, it is apparent that the interior is a Farcus design. It does not appear that the designer was trying to cut cost, but more that the target audience is attracted to bright, edgy design. I found as the days progressed in the cruise, I was able to appreciate the ship more. I would never buy a house so decorated, but I found it comfortable for a week or two. The report I wrote after a week would be so different than after just a brief ship inspection as it took a bit to discover her soul.
Crew and Languages
As with all ships, the crew makes the experience. The crew is amazing. I have never heard so many languages spoken by so many passengers. Bilingual is not even close as many crew spoke multiple languages. The crew seemed intent on passenger service with the only exception, in the main dining room during open seating. I think was more lack of staff than lack of interest. Still, this problem with open seating is not limited to Costa and can be a problem on any ship with open seating.
Inside the Ship
The public areas are plentiful and spacious both indoors and out. Signage could be improved although the design is relatively intuitive. My obstructed view cabin had what is called a French balcony, double doors with a rail across so I could open the door at night. A lifeboat was right outside, but I could peek under it to see the water and weather.
Since I could not choose the times for excursions through the cruise line, I opted to explore as I went which is a first for me. This Canada/New England itinerary with safe ports and lots of English made it much more comfortable.
Food is on par with other similar ships although the buffet is limited in both selection and service hours. Service in the main dining room seems understaffed and in the buffet overstaffed. Open seating at breakfast and lunch with so many languages can be an adventure. Dinner is the only set dining and late dining was at around 9:15. There is no open dining for dinner and extremely limited pizza. etc., selection in the Lido for dinner. Although room service is available, there is a 2 euro charge with a limited menu. I thought the main dining room had the best coffee. Happy hour was 6-9:30 at the bars. Prices are in Euros.
I tried the wellness dining room one night for a change and the service and atmosphere was excellent. The food was a step up. There is a 20€ charge per person and after dinner coffee is 1.5€. The cover charge is the same for the Tuscan Grill, which is beautiful and located all the way up on Deck 10.
My standard cabin was a very nice size and the shower is GREAT with plenty of space for even elbows! The cabin has lots of storage and nice cabinets. The couch appears to convert to a twin bed. It is only comfortable by careful placement of pillows, still better than many I have seen on ships. Cabin colors to my taste are somewhat disharmonic, but since she will be in dry dock in a few weeks, maybe this will be fine tuned.
The Atlantica is aging well, but has the same type of issues you would find with a high mileage car her age. A few sticky elevator buttons, the AC needing a tweak here and there and some carpets due for replacement.
I was moved from my standard obstructed Oceanview to a standard balcony due to AC and a mold allergy problems and the cabin was exactly the same except for the balcony. Pillows are overdue for replacement or upgrade so hopefully that will be addressed at dry dock. When I asked for a new pillow, a very nice one was provided that is generally only for suites. The beds are very firm and when I asked about foam mattress toppers they did not appear to be an option. That is something that I would certainly suggest as it certainly makes the bed much more comfortable especially when converted to a Queen. I also asked about bed extensions for extra tall guests and that does not appear to be an option as well.
The design of this ship creates a problem for non-smokers as most public areas have smoking areas, with exceptions in the dining room and main theater. Smokers sit right beside main walkways and avoiding the smoke is not possible. Although I did not experience it, others at my dining table had an issue with smoke drifting to their balcony.
Entertainment is a strong suit for this ship. The production shows and on board entertainers are of very high quality. Dancers are particularly strong and singers are enthusiastic, but more limited in range than the material they attempt although most selections hit the mark. Entertainment is important in that there are no English TV channels. CNN withdrawal was a problem for some.
Classical and dance music offerings are truly exceptional. It would be interesting to see if Country will be added in the Caribbean.
The Spa is operated by Steiner so is typical in offerings and pricing. The hard sell that I have experienced in the past from Steiner was not at all present with either treatment that I booked.
Noticeably absent is an observation/lounge area enclosed forward or aft such as a Crow’s Nest. On the fantail aft of the Lido, there is a pleasant covered outdoor area.
A nice touch is the gold & navy plaid throws often used as shawls during this cool weather sojourn with scenery frequently so beautiful that you did not want to leave to grab a jacket.
North American Passengers
So what type of North American passenger would like this type of Costa cruise? A value oriented traveler who has traveled in Europe preferably on land rather than ship. Traveling in multiples would be more fun and this ship for a solo traveler is more difficult to mingle than most. Tolerance for the multiple languages, being an English minority and smoking is a must. Food selections are more varied than on most cruise lines and many are acquired tastes. When schools are in session and for longer cruises, expect a more mature international mix, primarily couples.