This was our eighth cruise, the fifth with Costa . Due to reading a couple of negative reviews, we were a bit apprehensive for the first time. We quickly learned that everyone has different viewpoints and that is what makes life interesting!
We had spent a couple of nights pre-cruise at the Ft. Lauderdale AmeriSuites just to unwind a bit. It was a nice stay. We opted for a cab rather than the hotel shuttle, which was very busy at the time. We arrived at the pier around 11:30 a.m., quickly spotted a Costa rep outside and asked directions. She took a look at our documents and took us inside past the waiting crowds to a separate waiting room with chairs. This was our first cruise in a suite, and we finally realized this was the reason we were able to bypass of the big crowds. We were the very first to board the ship about 12:30 p.m.
Our first impression of this sister ship to the Atlantica, which we had sailed previously, was WOW! We liked the decor even better than the Atlantica. The quality shows everywhere. No cost has been spared. There was plenty of marble, glass and wood nicely blended into a most pleasing arrangement. We found all the public areas to be not only attractive but also comfortable and relaxing.
Our Panorama suite was large, comfortable and beautiful, with plenty of storage space, a closet in the living/sleeping room as well as the dressing room, drawer space everywhere, and a beautiful marble bath with double sinks, whirlpool tub/shower combo. We had a large, completely private balcony with teak reclining lounge chairs and a table. Suite passengers are provided with daily dining room menus and may order in if they choose. We did have a full breakfast in our room a couple of mornings.
Contrary to some reviews, we found the food to be very good. We like to try new things, and we did every night in the main dining room with no disappointments. The pasta courses were very good. We had a table for two as we had requested and service was prompt. Orders were always correct, no mix-ups. Our waiters were polite but unobtrusive, which we liked. We never had a bad meal! We had most breakfasts and lunches at the buffet restaurant and found the selections varied and quite good. Be sure to explore the different serving stations before deciding on your selections. Also the hamburgers at the outside grill are first class. Soft serve ice cream and pizza are always available as well.
The main theater is absolutely beautiful. During the course of a week there is something for everyone. A magician, Irish tenor, classical piano and two production shows were all good. But the highlight for us was a steel band concert by a group called Island Magic. This was one of the best concerts we have ever witnessed. If they are playing, don't miss it!
Very smooth. We were in a cab back to our hotel by 9 a.m.
This was our best cruise ever. The ship was beautiful, the food and entertainment excellent. My wife and I have tried to think of something negative, but honestly can't come up with anything that was not flawless. Costa remains our favorite line.