She's a huge ship visually. You're first impression is 'oh my'. Although she appears to be a vast sea of oceanview and balcony staterooms, there are many outside promenade decks for viewing the passing seas. The ships decorations are breath-taking. Probably more ornate that you would expect from Costa, but nonetheless - such detailing everywhere made you feel that no expense was spared in the design.
Our 5 cabins (we took my husband's entire family of 12) were on Deck 1 Aft. We always book low and inside for monetary reasons! The cabins were one of my favorite things. While the sleeping area was pretty standard, the bathrooms were much more spacious that other cruise lines and the pesky shower curtain did not attack you while you showered! Downside for restrooms were the air vents that sort of connected side-by-side cabins! You could actually carry on a conversation if you wanted! The Atlantica uses both a card room key and a sail/sign card, this proofed most confusing as we tried to open room with the sail/sign card and also tried to open the safe with the room key!!!! Our cabin steward, Frederick, was the best. He was always available and usually answered pages before you could hang up the phone!
The dining room was very pretty with large chandeliers and nice furnishing, however that's where our enjoyment stopped. Our waiter and asst. waiter must have just met or either didn't speak each other's language, because they had no clue what the other was supposed to be doing. By the 4th night, we had a 'new' asst. waiter who I think was visiting the dining room for the first time. As with most cruiselines, the worthless "head waiter" didn't help out at all - he did show up the first and last meals for check for tip envelopes. Our service was very slow....we were usually the last group out and the waiter's entertainment usually occurred before we received our main course. The food was standard for the cruise line industry - desserts weren't spectacular. But - this was our only real dissappointment for the week! Understand we have cruised a lot and our expectations are really high. The buffet was nice, never a line! We usually had breakfast there. We also had coffee and juice delivered each morning to the cabin...that was nice too.
We did take the Stingray snorkel and island tour in Grand Cayman. Very fun and informative, but felt somewhat rushed the whole day! We chose to visit Chankanuub Park on our own in Cozumel. (Very good idea) Taxi fare is $8/cab and entry to park is $10/person. Drinks were very reasonable and the beach was lovely. We shopped at the Taj Mahal in Ocho Rios, pretty much the same items in each store, wouldn't take but an hour to see everything there.
Now for the big issue. We had booked our air through Costa. American Airlines had not one but two mechanical issues on our outbound and inbound flights. Eleven of us, missed the sailing in Fort Lauderdale - and were flown to Key West to catch the boat the next day. American really screwed up our 'free' accomodations and we were totally exhausted by the time we got to the ship on Monday afternoon. Costa did do alot for us, once we got on board - but we really missed out on two days, because we were so late and so exhausted! I'm still addressing this with American and hope to get some compensation for the group!
This was our 10th cruise. We have travelled 2 other times on Costa and it remains our favorite. We like it over Carnival because the type of travellers are more lay back and not so much the wild party type. Our children are teenagers and they love the youth program. We enjoy the casino (actually won $500.00) this trip. We have travelled Western Caribbean many times, so the ports weren't new to us. However, we still enjoyed them.
Ed.. I guess my point is that to some extent both of your experiences with the Dining Room are anecdotal. We've had hundreds and hundreds of clients on board the ship since November, and I've sailed it twice myself. The complaints we have received concerning the dining room have been minimal and in line with what we receive regularly from groups sailing on vessels of the other Premium brands. I am not doubting that your own experiences were not up to what you expected them to be and you certainly are entitled to air your thoughts. I think that we consistently see posts on these boards from those who have had negative cruise experiences in much greater numbers than from those who return satisfied. Most (not all) cruisers who have a good cruise experience are not motivated to post with the frequency of those who do not.