Cruising, Part I: Life on Costa Atlantica – Caribbean

It's All In The Name
The name says it all. Definitely Italian though Carnival Corporation took sole possession in 2,000 of the Costa Cruise Lines. The officers are Italian. Like all ships, most front desk, booking tours, hostesses, are from westernized countries, while the waiters, cabin stewards, pool maintenance crew are from developing countries. The supervisor of pool maintenance works midnight to noon, seven days a week. He's from Honduras.

Some Information
Five languages are heard. The first, of course, is Italian. When the Cruise Director announces the show, I feel I should have picked up more Italian, Spanish, French and German at the end of the cruise. Unless it’s a major announcement, like the lifeboat drill, you won’t hear any other announcements in five languages. If you hear only French, then the announcement pertains only to the French people. Not to worry if you're not French. Prices on board are in euros. You can register your credit card at the Guest Service desk on Deck two, you won’t have to scramble at the end of the cruise to pay. But do read your statement for any discrepancy. Save your receipts, just in case.

Pool on the Costa Atlantica: Relax and have a drink
Pool on the Costa Atlantica: Relax and
have a drink

The Layout
Drinking at the lobby bar, I looked straight up and saw three glass elevators (a total of 12 elevators on the ship). At night, I must admit the Guest Service desk was in the wrong spot since the music was loud, making interaction between the staff and passengers frustrating.

The main dining room, the Tiaziano, is used for all three meals, but we ate there only for dinner. We had the window seat but since it was dark, we couldn't see much, except for one night when there was a full moon that shone over the water. For breakfast and lunch, we ate at Botticelli Buffet Restaurant, which had in or outside seating. Outside the sliding doors, was the grill for hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, fries and made-to-order pasta. The Caruso Theatre, three decks high, seating for 1,000, had two different shows, nightly.

There are bars for a variety of entertainment, including two ladies (one on piano, the other violin), a couple entertaining in Piazza Madame Butterfly. I sat and watched, enjoying the drink of the day.

Cafe Florian: Have a cappuccino and feel like you're in Venice
Cafe Florian: Have a cappuccino and
feel like you're in Venice

The gym has three sides of windows to get a good view. There are also other amenities to enjoy, though not cheap. A massage could set you back two euros a minute! I enjoyed having a cappuccino at Cafe Florian, named after the famous cafe that started in 1720, in Piazza San Marco in Venice. The seating was a cushioned bright red, small tables, barely held orders of two cups of coffees. But the atmosphere – made me feel I was in Venice! An automatic seven-euro-a-day per person is added to your bill. If you want to pay less or more, let the Guest Service Desk know two days prior to ending the cruise. The ship doesn't use powerful air conditioning, like most. We figured the passengers, being mostly European, don’t like air conditioning, neither do I.

Excursions
Excursions are not cheap. Though I enjoyed the two I picked, they weren't worth the price. The first was in Tortola, a land rover jeep tour, five of us with our driver from Jamaica, who has lived here for seven years. He took his time and let us soak in some of the stops. Since the other four in the group were from Canada, he only needed to speak one language. On the tour in Guadaloupe, our guide had to speak English and German. If he had French people on board, he would have had to speak French also. I don’t mind that but at the same time, as he’s narrating, you can miss part of what he's saying.

The Daily Newsletter
A daily newsletter, Today, gives the schedule for the following day and provides information on the weather, entertainment, port of call. You're reminded to bring your Costa Card when leaving the ship. It acts as a key to get off and on. An identification is required also with a photo.

I was lucky I had my old Black’s film camera. With this ship being European, I needed the adapter to fit into the socket. What gets me is this. I went to the shop for a European adapter (if it was too much money, I wouldn’t have bought it). The clerk said they only had North American adapters for the staff to purchase to use in their room. How crazy is that? Mine didn’t let me down (22 years old), pictures turned out fabulous.

I’m ready to explore the exotic ports of call. Stayed tuned for Part 2.

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