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Costa Cruises: Costa Atlantica

Costa Atlantica Cruise Review

Insider Take


A Spirit-class ship - small and accommodating with a whimsical decor by Joe Farcus. Recommended for Europeans.

Best For People Who Want

An Italian carnival atmosphere; Plenty of deck parties, loud music and a wide range of facilities, including a large children's facility and a water slide; All the options and activities that come with a megaship, including a large fitness area, plenty of balconies; lots of entertainment options.

Public Rooms

Many of the ship's multiple huge public rooms and bars are connected by a walkway on the starboard side which creates a sense of constant flow and life, as passengers enjoy una passeggiata, though the manner in which the room to room flow can sometimes zigzag arbitrarily can be a bit confusing.

Quiet is hard to come by. Indeed, the library is the only public place on board you might reasonably expect to find some, but since it doubles as the Internet cafe, expect to find crowds in there at times. Also note that its bookshelves are unlocked only one hour per day

One special treat is a near perfect reproduction of what is probably the most renowned street cafe in the world, the Caffe Florian in St Mark's Sq. in Venice. Designer Joe Farcus went to great detail to capture the timeless essence of the original cafe, from the somewhat worn leather booths to stucco walls and gilded frame Italian classic paintings on the wall - albeit the ones on the ship are reproductions.

The three-deck show lounge is lovely, but even with three decks the sight lines could be better, especially on the flat floor. There is a smaller, secondary show lounge directly beneath it, though, and three other lounges, including "Paparazzi," which features stills from Fellini films. There are a large disco, a children's room, and a small chapel.


In Club Atlantica, the alternative restaurant at the top of the atrium, features the menu of Michelin three-star chef Gualtiero Marchesi. Diners can choose between a "Tuscan Steakhouse" a la carte menu and a fixed "Tasting Menu." The waiters and maitre d' will act as if serving you is the highlight of their lives, and there's a proper sommelier to keep your wine glass full. Before dinner, the room doubles as a bar, with complimentary gourmet appetizers from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. There's live music during dinner. After dinner it becomes a cigar bar.

The two-deck Tiziano Restaurant, done in varying shades of gold with painted ceilings, offers fantastic views from the stern end of the ship through the tall glass windows. There are plenty of larger tables and some banquettes around the perimeter, but not so many tables for two.

It should be noted that, in the Mediterranean, the first dinner seating does not begin until 7:00 p.m., and late sitting does not start until 9:15 p.m., in keeping with European custom. In the Caribbean, 24-hour food service is now available with extended breakfast, lunch and tea time hours, plus a Late Night Buffet from 1:30 to 6:30 a.m.


We'll say it plainly: on a Costa ship you are an American in Europe. The company is expanding rapidly (undergoing a cruising renaissance in Europe similar to what the U.S. experienced years ago), so the staff can be surprisingly slow, and sometimes seemingly impolite, including the cabin stewards. You can always count on the bar staff to cheer you up, though.


$8.50 per day is charged to everybody's shipboard account, (including children, for dining room and stateroom personnel. Passengers can have the amount adjusted by visiting the Guest Relations Desk.

A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all bar tabs. Spa staff and room service staff may be tipped as service is received.


Expect neither lectures by former ambassadors nor first-run movies In the Mediterranean. Brace yourself for such politically incorrect games still common in Europe as actual "beauty contests" where young women of all nationalities vie for attention. Where you might expect one trivia game per day, Atlantica has as many as five or six, even on port days.

The pool areas are used during the afternoon for various games. The misanthropic can stand one deck above at the railing and glare down at the activities below. Daytime activities, mostly geared towards a younger, more active crowd, range from ping-pong tournaments to salsa dance classes to learning how to mix cocktails.

There is a wide variety of evening activities in at least four different venues. One lounge offers ballroom dancing for an hour a night. The huge, three-story Caruso Theater showroom features a different show or production every night, with everything from magic to flamenco dancers. Piazza Madame Butterfly lounge is filled each night for bingo, and the pool deck is used for themed deck parties. There is live music most nights in the Club Atlantica. The large, two-deck disco Dante's is packed until late every night, probably in substantial part because it is fantastically atmospheric; descending the spiral staircase really does feel like entering The Inferno. The casino is the most smoke-clogged spot on the ship.

Dancers will be delighted to know at least one sea-going tradition is still alive and well; every lounge aboard has both a stage and a large dance floor; even the main entry lobby has a wood-inlaid one at its center!


The cabins' caramel-color wood tones and warm autumn-hued fabrics are easy on the eye, and 70 percent have balconies. With the standard inside and outside cabins, you pay for location. Since there is virtually no difference in cabin size - 160 sq.ft. - it is wise to simply book the lowest outside or inside cabin categories and not pay extra just to be one deck higher. (The exception to the rule: Deck 4's outside cabins' views are obstructed.) All cabins have safes and mini bars and two lower beds that can be converted into a queen bed. Outside cabins with verandah are 210 sq.ft. and suites range from 360 sq.ft. to 580 sq.ft.

Some cabins are plagued by noise from the lounges, including the 10 cabins farthest forward on Deck 1 Cabins forward on Deck 5 also are noisy from the main lounge one deck below, and the occupants of cabins on Deck 8 deck amidships can all too easily hear the jubilation on the pool deck above them. Note also that the ship's exterior undulates, protruding in places and retracting in others. If possible, book a balcony where the ship bulges out.

Special suite amenities include whirlpool tubs, terry cloth robes and slippers, additional toiletries, sparkling wine and cold canapes on embarkation day, daily fruit baskets, an additional Captain's cocktail party, complimentary dinner at Club Atlantica, and personalized butler service. Do note that your butler may be very much on a par with your server in the restaurant, which is to say distracted borderline organized. Be sure to double-check requests and take nothing for granted.

There are no self-service launderettes or ironing rooms.

Children's Facilities

"Cruising Italian Style" carries over to the Costa Kids Club, which offers extensive programs for youngsters -- and guarantees relaxation for their harried parents. Though the Pinocchio Children's Room doesn't compare to those of such family-friendly cruise lines as Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the large children's "animation staff," comprising from four to seven kids' cruise directors, more than compensates. The special children's dinner menu offers with pasta, soup, fish, chicken, hot dogs and burgers, pizza, sandwiches and desserts.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Tranquility; great food and service; not to be in a place where English is not the first language.

Onboard Experience

Costa Atlantica, signaling a new direction for Costa, is the European version of the Spirit-class of ships by parent company Carnival Corp. The unifying theme of the ship is "great films of Fellini," and in fact, the ship's christening godmother was Italian film star Claudia Cardinale.

In homage to the quirkiness of Felinni himself, each of the decks is named after one of his films, and deck eight receives the name of his film "Deck 8 1/2".

Though Costa assures prospective passengers that they will be "cruising Italian style," beyond the decor, less than ten percent of the actual crew are truly Italian, with most of the Italians in the navigation, deck and engine departments. The majority of the crew come from the Dominican Republic where Costa has established a school to train crew-members.

Though the interior design is impressively logical and easy to navigate, Atlantica's signage does not measure up, as the public thoroughfares lack the "You Are Here" deck maps. Get used to carrying the deck plan you find in your stateroom with you for the first few days.

Though this ship does come to the Caribbean some seasons, during the 2006-2007 it is staying mostly in Europe, catering to a European audience, so expect announcements in several languages, smoky ships, and port stays far shorter than what first-time to Europe visiting Americans would prefer. When operating in Europe, the ship is overrun by German, French and Spanish passengers. Despite an English-speaking host and English-speaking shore excursions, many North Americans and even Brits are likely to feel like poor relations on these voyages. Note that when Costa does send any ship to the Caribbean, native English speakers are the large majority and English becomes the ship's first language.


As Costa's first ship designed by Carnival's zany Joe Farcus, for whom there is no such thing as "too much", this ship could be the spawn of Italy and Las Vegas, or maybe a new theme-park for Disney, call it Italyland. Mostly, it is an homage to Italian artisans, including plenty of Venetian glass and reproductions of Italian classic painters. There are plenty of sweeping staircases, Carrara marble and Renaissance-style mosaics.

The "must-see" of the ship is the Caffe Florian, which is a near perfect reproduction of the most famous sidewalk cafe in the world (by the same name) residing in the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Its dark red upholstered chairs and banquettes, wooden floor, and Renaissance paintings make for a very comfortable, inviting atmosphere.

Overlooking the 10-deck atrium, the two-deck Club Atlantica, with a crowning skylight and opaque orange/yellow glass surrounding the upper level, serves as the ship's very attractive alternate restaurant and late night Cigar Bar. The atrium also serves as a public room, and the bar on the lower level is the ship's social hub.


That Italy has some of the world's greatest cuisine should not be taken to mean that Costa serves the world's best food. Indeed, menus appear to be designed to appeal mostly to an Italian audience, and should you order a selection from another continental derivation, you will probably end up thinking, "I should have gone Italian." You would suppose that they'd get pasta dishes right every time, but pasta depends upon fast service before it gets cold and rubbery. At the buffets, you will be presented with what Europeans are used to as "fast food" including beans for breakfast, and cheese, hard sausage and rolls for lunch.

But behold the exception, the alternative restaurant Club Atlantica, where for around $23 you can not only savor a delicious meal, but also escape the clamor of the main dining room.

In the Caribbean, Costa has implemented 24-hour food service with extended breakfast, lunch and tea time hours, plus a Late Night Buffet from 1:30 to 6:30 a.m. Complimentary gourmet appetizers are available daily in Club Atlantica from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., and new entrees have been added to the menus of the specialty dining room, purportedly supervised by two of Italy's most renowned chefs.


The very large fitness center and spa run by Steiner's of London are on multi-level upper-forward decks, giving exercisers wonderful views. A wide selection of weights, treadmills, bikes, rowing machines and other sophisticated training equipment is available, as well as a popular large indoor Jacuzzi situated underneath a skylight. All the machines are by Technogym Italy, and are part of a self-guided circuit training system, kind of a personal cyber-trainer.

A small jogging track on top of the fitness decks circles the mast. The Promenade deck on Deck 3 does not go all the way around, however, creating a large U shaped path that tends to be virtually empty during many hours of the day. There are three pools on deck with whirlpools, none heated. The large water slide, beloved of kids, is open only one hour a day.


On the two 'gala' nights, a casual jacket and tie are standard, while many men wear an actual suit. In the European style, ties are optional, especially on younger men. In the Caribbean, there is also a theme night on which many passengers wrap themselves in sheets and call them togas. Europeans tend to dress fancier for daytime activities than Americans, so don't expect not to feel underdressed in cutoffs and a T-shirt on European sailings.

Ship Overview

Introduced in 2000, Costa Atlantica is a tribute to Italy’s best known filmmaker Frederico Fellini. Each deck is dedicated to a different Fellini film, and the walls feature the paintings of Milo Manara. Costa Atlantica’s itineraries are centered primarily in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as Middle Eastern voyages from Dubai.

The basic layout of these contemporary ships is nearly identical to parent Carnival Cruise Line's Spirit-class vessels. Interiors were designed by Carnival's ship architect Joe Farcus, whose abundant use of marble reflects Costa's Italian heritage. Artwork commissioned specifically for each ship was created by contemporary artists and includes intricate sculptures in silver and glass. Don't overlook the lighting fixtures, which were created especially for the ship, most of them crafted by the artisans in Venice's Murano-glass factories.

The nice flow between public lounges is broken only by piazzas, where you can practice the Italian custom of passeggiata (strolling to see and be seen). And there's plenty to see; these are visually stimulating interiors, with vivid colors and decor elements to arouse a sense of discovery. One of the most elegant spaces on board Costa Atlantica is Café Florian—inspired by the original in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square.

Europe's number-one cruise line combines a Continental experience, enticing itineraries, and Italy's classical design and style with relaxing days and romantic nights at sea. Genoa-based Costa Crociere, parent company of Costa Cruise Lines, had been in the shipping business for more than 100 years and in the passenger business for almost 50 years when it was bought by Airtours and Carnival Corporation in 1997. In 2000 Carnival completed a buyout of the Costa line and began expanding the fleet with larger and more dynamic ships.

An ongoing shipbuilding program has brought Costa ships into the 21st century with innovative large-ship designs that reflect their Italian heritage and style without overlooking the amenities expected by modern cruisers. Acknowledging changing habits (even among Europeans), Costa Cruises has eliminated smoking entirely in dining rooms and show lounges. However, smokers are permitted to light up in designated areas in other public rooms, as well as on the pool deck.

What You Should Know


  • If earlier Costa ships were Armani (cool and serene), then these are Versace (sexy and slightly outrageous)
  • Duty-free boutiques offer enough Italian designer items to satisfy most shopaholics
  • Forward on the outdoor promenade decks are serene retreats in the form of enclosed terraces


  • Italians consider cappuccino a breakfast beverage, so ordering it in the dining room following dinner is frowned upon
  • Frequent announcements are annoying
  • Coffee is available at numerous bars, but there is a charge
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 920
  • Entered Service 2000
  • Gross Tons 86,000
  • Length 960 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,057
  • Passenger Capacity 2,114 (2,682 max)
  • Width 106 feet

By Anne_CR

  • New

Jun 9, 2013

Singapore Melacca Penang Singapore

We have Been on many cruises The Atlantica is a beautiful ship however spoilt by the poor organization of the ship And a distinct lack of discipline amongst staff and a casual approach to any queries made by passengers. Embarkation and disembarkation were a fiasco, we waited around for over 2 hours we know some passengers who waited over 5. Cruise stopovers too short and getting back on the ship chaotic Ship tenders were not used but

local vessels. No water available in the queues, on other cruise liners this is the norm. However the evening entertainment was outstanding really the one plus of the cruise. Poor quality and over cooked really institutionalised my mothers is better in an aged care home. As we expected normal balcony cabin. Average Will never travel on Costa again. Disappointing

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  • New

Jan 20, 2012

Western Caribbean

I am not interested in cruising with Costa again. They do not give their service personnel any days off and it shows in overall services provided. Everyone from the room steward to the waiters seemed to be robotic. They have no incentive because they never have down time except for a few hours each day. The officers and staff overall had a difficult time conversing in English. If Costa is to continue to cruise in the U.S., they need to remember

who their passengers are going to be, and be prepared. Food was at best average. I had read other reviews stating that foods were routinely overcooked. I found this to be a true statement. It was very similar to most other balcony cabins on other ships. Good storage space. The design of the shower isn't very good. Water tends to wash over the bottom lip, onto the bathroom floor. Similar to other cruise lines. Maybe not quite as varied. Excursions very limited. Most were centered around water activities. More actual sightseeing excursions needed. We don't all love to snorkel, or take boat rides, or lie on the beach and drink. I cruised on Costa Magica in 2005, and found it to be a wonderful experience. But I was so disappointed in the overall staff support of this ship. My jewelry was stolen from my suitcase in between being taken aboard and brought to my stateroom. It was 'lost' for several hours, and finally after 3 calls to the cabin steward and to Guest relations, it was 'found', but without the jewelry inside. Guest relations said that it 'couldn't have happened onboard'. The cabin steward repeatedly forgot essential housekeeping tasks (no face cloths, no soap in the dispenser, not enough toilet paper, leaving the mini bar unlocked even though we asked him not to unlock it, tv not working). I could go on and on. I am from the U.S.A. Americans represented approx 10% of nationalities. I am amazed how utterly rude passengers were daily, as they pushed and shoved their way to get where and they to go. The ship is one of the most beautifully decorated ships that I have seen. Even though it is over 10 years old it still looks almost new. However, my traveling companion and I had lovely table mates and our nightly get togethers at dinner were one of the highlights of our cruise.

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  • New

Apr 26, 2011


Weather was fantastic. Ports were very nice. Boarding very smooth and disembarkation easiest ever. Miami We thought the food was good but maybe some more choices. Not much seafood and no steak. Salads were nice, I tried some different types. All good. We seldom ate at the buffet because it is the same everyday. Breakfast stations made omelets to order . Very nice. Never offered coffee at dinner we had to ask but once you asked our waiters never

forgot so they would ask the next time. We had very quick service and probably the nicest (and funniest) waiter ever. My kids loved the rolls with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip. Always fresh and on the table. We went on the same cruise the year before but we upgraded(so we thought) to a balcony room for 4 but came to find out it was for 3. The extra space was taken up by a broken rollaway that was in the way. We had more room in the previous cabin inside. Cabin steward kept it clean and beds made, fresh towels and laundry folded. He did his best when the bed broke three times. The only bed he could find was really broken. Springs hanging and tied together with string. My daughter was sagging as that was the only bed they could find. We eventually got back the original broken bed and they fixed it. We complained and customer service said it was not broken without even looking. We have contacted Costa several times and have not recieved any compensation for all the wasted time trying to resolve this issue. Booked through Smart Cruiser. They should have made sure our room was for 4 not 3. Have had no response from them regarding this issue. This was booked 7 months in advance so no excuses. Most activities were a bit goofy with many geared to foreign language guests. We left many and did not participate. Our teens had more fun last year. This year the youth leaders were not as interested in their groups. Events were few and not much fun.. Kids made their own fun with many new friends. Most of the night shows were okay but not enough variety. We went a boat excursion to Dunns River Falls and then snorkelling. Had a great time. That was a must do. Snorkelling better elsewhere but crew was good. Stingray city and hell and turtle farm was a good trip also. Although we were tendered in here(Grand Cayman) the dock was ridiculously busy when it was time to return. Cozumel was very nice. Great shopping but you must negotiate. Overall we had fun with our family and other friends who joined us on this trip. We would have liked having our room issues dealt with but that was not going to happen. We wasted a lot of time trying to get someone to care. There were a lot of very rude people who felt the need to try to cut in lines and push people out of the way. You'd have thought this was their last meal. Smoking should never be allowed in very public areas . You walk by and smelled like cigarette smoke for a long time. Gross. And then there is the inapproprate bathing suits in food service areas. Cover up. It was a rule on the boat but no one enforced that. Probably not going on Costa again. They are still REVIEWING our issue.

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  • New

Mar 27, 2011

eastern Caribbean

My husband and daughter and I cruised Costa Atlantica in 2004 and since then the quality has gone downhill. My most recent cruise was with the same daughter and her family( my husband was killed in June) . The waiters in the dining room were impolite and more interested in amusing each other rather than attending to passengers. One night the waiters were flinging napkins around, over my daughter's head. When she tried to explain what kind of a potato

she wanted the waiter cut her off with a " yeah, yeah, yeah". When I was in grade 8 many many years ago, I was taught that you serve from one side and remove from the other, these waiters must never have learned this. They reached right in front of you with no regard to manners. The food was boring with little variation in desserts. Two nights in a row on the buffet we were offered greasy oily sliced potatoes. One night there was too much seafood including squid-- not everyone is a fan of seafood and there was only one non-seafood choice. The wait staff at the buffet were kind and polite, and the room stewards did a great job in keeping the cabin and bathroom well maintained. The television reception was poor with mostly Italian programming. This was my 17th cruise so I have come to expect certain things on a cruise. I won't cruise Costa again, They are not kid oriented for the most part and we were cruising with a 20 month old and a four year old. When you wanted something to drink, half the time you had to walk all over to locate cups for coffee or tea and there was little else available once breakfast was done. Little in the way of juice or lemonade or such. One thing I did appreciate was the deals available on purchasing photographs. The prices dropped the more you bought and I am a big fan of buying photos. On Carnival you get no breaks in pricing so I was very pleased to see the deals on Atlantica. In some cases I paid as little as ten bucks each when purchasing several 8x10 portraits.The lifeboat instruction was a waste of time with all of us sitting in a theatre wearing lifejackets and listening to many languages and seeing sign language but I never did hear any English instructions as to what to do in an emergency. The food was on the boring side, however I really enjoyed the fresh baked rolls and pastries. The stateroom was well maintained and kept immaculately clean. Television reception and programming was not great. I was minding two small grandbabies with early bedtimes so I would have enjoyed some decent tv. I got by just fine with magazines and my Nintendo DSI. I was not much interested in the onboard activities The ports of call were good and I have no complaints regarding that aspect of the cruise.

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  • New

Mar 18, 2011


This was definitely not what I expected from a cruise. Thought the group we sailed with made this fun, I would not choose a Costa cruise again. The ship itself was quite beautiful, very clean and well kept. They allowed smoking in all areas with a few non-smoking tables, but the smoke smell permeated the ship so that was rather disgusting. The food was really the worst part of this trip. As an Italian ship, I expected too much I suppose. Everything

was overcooked - fish, chicken, vegetables - everything. Sauces were bland, rolls were hard (daily), and this was what was served in the dining room. No lobster night and one steak night which was OK at best. Though I'm not a fan of the gluttonous amounts of food served on cruises, I would order everything at dinner hoping to find something tolerable. The buffets were worse. . Mushy or overcooked food, always the same day in day out. Our table was in agreement that there just wasn't much good to say about the food. Also, the wait staff seemed like they were rushing around as if they were always short handed. We waited forever for drinks and food. The stateroom was really quite nice. It was clean, there was plenty of storage space, and the balcony was comfortable enough. Though I rated service as a 2, that was an overall rating. Our cabin steward was top notch! We saw him very little but whenever we were out we would return to fresh towels, folded clothes and a tidy room. When we had questions he would be right there to answer. Best help on the ship! BORING. Just not much going on at all. But, I don't agree with others' posts that Americans couldn't participate due to language barriers. I think they tried hard to speak in 5 languages and thought we left from Miami and were surprised English was not the first language, it really wasn't an issue. We really love zip lining in the Dominican (Catalina Island). Probably, if you've zip lined before, this isn't the best place to go because it's not really pretty, but if you've never done it (it was our first time) it's well worth it. Much time was spent getting there and back, but it was a blast! I would skip the snuba in Grand Turks. We could have seen just as much snorkeling (and did see as much and more snorkeling in Princes Cays.) Grand Turks cruise port has an amazing pool right behind Margaritaville, so just go get some real food and hang there and and at the beach for the day instead. As we took this trip with a large group of people, we ended up having a blast. The kids (teens) all got together and danced and hung out at the sports area. If it weren't for the group though, there was nothing for kids on board. The younger kids area is hidden away (didn't even see it till the last day) so if you're cruising with children, forget this trip. Many of the passengers on board were incredibly rude - pushing in buffet lines, shoving their way onto elevators, talking over someone speaking, cutting in line after you've waited 10 minutes for guest services, and placing their dirty dishes right on your table. I don't know if this is the norm, but after 7 days of it my patience was shot! I don't think this would be my first choice for cruising again. The cost was quite inexpensive - I suppose you get what you pay for.

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