I read a lot of the message boards out there and could never figure out why there is always so little discussion about Costa here - I mean this is pretty popular site. Then I started reading some of the info posted here about Costa and boy is this site anti-Costa. It seems in just about every article, Anne Campell takes ajab at Costa whenever she can. Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me? And why such the hostiltiy in the articles? Is someone a little bitter?
Reviews of cruise ships and cruise lines are really, in my opinion, very subjective discourses. Being human, we all reflect our own personal preferences in our judgements... and this is as true for those who profess to be professional objective judges of restaurants, theatrical performances, art, etc., and who would render judgements on cruise products as it is for those of us who sail on these vessels.
We can go on and on about the validity of informed criticism, I suppose. Suffice to say that the critics in the employ of major newspapers and publications... as an example, the restaurant reviewer of the N.Y. Times... dines unannounced and to the extent possible, incognito and, most important, at the expense of the publication they represent, and do so several times at the same restaurant, to get a balanced "feel" for the location, rather than as a guest of the restaurant about to be reviewed. So, too, do Cruise line observers for some of the major and most respected of the publications in this Industry. This is frequently not the case among other reviewers of Cruise Line product.
Nevertheless, I think the gratuitous attack on Anne Campbell is unfounded. I think her reputation in the Industry is sterling and she performs a fine service to the Industry as a whole and to the promotion of cruising as a great value in the Travel Industry. And... this comes from one who feels that Costa represents a great value in the Caribbean and has really come of age and who is sensitive to your comments about the "negativism" vis-a-vis Costa in these precincts. Paul Motter, by the way, wrote and published a very complimentary review after he attended the Innaugural events for the CostaAtlantica, although he did not sail. If I were to find any fault with Anne and her general comments on Costa's ships and Caribbean product, it would be that I don't believe she has personally sailed on any Costa ship in recent years. Perhaps it is time for her to sample a "new" Costa cruise... here in the Caribbean.
Finally, we can read these boards, and others, and the posted reviews, and I defy anyone to cite a Cruise Line or ship, in the Premium Brands, whose performance in not portrayed to be erratic... it's the nature of the beast. Costa is not for everyone. Neither is Royal Caribbean or Princess. That's the beauty of this Industry. Something for everyone's taste!
I sailed on the Atlantica in December and find every comment by Anne to be right on.
The Atlantica is a beautiful ship, it has many positives including some of the best cabins afloat, some of the best public rooms afloat. the topside areas were very good.
But the points that Anne brings out about service and food is absolutely the exact opinions I had after my sailing.
I have been on fifteen cruises starting in the seventies aboard the Doric and my last was aboard the Celebrity Horizon and have enjoyed each and every cruise. But there are differences and the only way for us as cruisers to have impact on the industry, and help cruise lines make improvements is to talk on boards like this, and tell people whats good and whats bad and not sugar coat a bad product.
The Atlantica could be one of the best ships afloat it has all the potential, it is big and eautiful all they have to do is 2 things that would make all the differance in the world.
1. The food, I found the food to be the main problem of this ship. Was it edible (Yes), was it anywhere near the standards I've experienced on Carnival, Princess, Celebrity or even Norwegian (No). As Anne stated this needs improvement.The main meals were varied from ok to poor, the steaks were fair at best, lots of room for improvement. The pizza on board was not good, too bad for an Italian ship. This is an easy fix, I found the pizza on Carnival to be the best afloat, just serve the same pizza as Carnival, Costas owner. So many of todays cruisers have sailed before and come to expect certain standards. Again I state the food is edible but not what cruisers have come to expect from Cruise Lines.
2. Service. I found the service to be good everywhere except the Dining Room.
The Dining Room waitstaff was the worst I've had in fifteen cruises. Did we get service, Yes, but again it was nowhere near what we have come to expect on a good cruise ship. even my cruise on Premier had better service. Sure maybe we had a bad apple of a waiter and busboy but from my talks with other passengers, they for the most part were disappointed in the Dining Room. I will say maybe first time cruisers could be satisfied but if youve seen what should happen you will notice the difference in quality of service. Again this is an easy fix the Maitre D can help make the difference but they must hear from us to know there is a problem. Heres a little hint. If after the first night you are not happy with the waitstaff, ask for a new table, or tell the Maitre D you are not happy. We waited until the fifth night to say something, but the service did improve marginally after we complained, by the way it was the first time ever, that someone at my table complained about service.
I WILL SAY MY CRUISE WAS 8 MONTHS AGO AND MAYBE THINGS HAVE IMPROVED BUT FROM WHAT I'VE BEEN READING THERE IS STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.
I MUST SAY IF YOU ARE SAILING ON THE ATLANTICA YOU WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME, IT REALLY IS A BEAUTIFUL SHIP. I REALLY HOPE COSTA MAKES THE IMPROVEMENTS, BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE TO SAIL ON THE SHIP AGAIN, BUT ONLY IF THE CHANGES ARE MADE. THERE ARE TOO MANY GREAT SHIPS AND LINES OUT THERE TO SETTLE FOR ANYTHING BUT GOOD FOOD AND SERVICE.
Costa has made significant improvements in the Dining Room and other areas since their first sailings in December, when the ship was brand new to the Caribbean and the crew unaccostomed to the different way of doing things here, vis-a-vis Europe... and they are different.
In any case, I sailed the ship several times in December and February. We had quite a few groups sail her during the season and every group rebooked the ship for this coming season... which says something. My only comment about Anne's comments on Costa was that I did not believe she's sailed with them for ages... and certainly not on the Atlantica... and I would hope she does so.
The ship "broke in" beautifully and was a consistent success for most of the season last year.
I cruised on the Costa Victoria just before Christmas last year and found it delightful. The crew were very easily accessable and very friendly. The food wasn't exactly the greatest cruise food I have ever eaten but I could always find something on the menu that suited me. It was very European and different. Our rooms were always neat and clean as was the ship. The only thing I found difficult was that the ship rocked a little more and made it difficult for me to walk sometimes.(but then I walk with a cane and can have difficulty on the sidewalk.) I did find it very restful at night though. We were located right behind one of the major public rooms and it was busy long into the night however our room was always quiet and I slept like a log. I really enjoyed Costa and would love to go on their other ships as well however they do tend to generelly be a little more costly and not out of a convenient port. All in all I had a great cruise and would love to go again anytime!
If you liked the Victoria, which it seems you did, then you will love the Atlantica. She is a remarkable vessel. Give it a try. By the way... I've been on the Victoria in good weather and bad... sounds to me like you have a bit of weather on your cruise... she really is a snappy roller and rides well, generally.