I’ll have to admit that when I pulled up to the pier in Miami to board Costa Atlantica I thought it was going to be a nightmare. The reviews on the ship on Cruise Critic were all over the map. What I thought was going to be an interesting start to my cruise wound up being a flawless ten-minute boarding process.
The porters were waiting curbside when we pulled up, they punched my cabin number into a computer and out came a bag tag, I was on my way. Stupid me forgot to print my boarding passes out when I left the house so I had to show the security guard at the door my email confirmation and he let me through. The security line wasn’t bad; I filled out the health questionnaire, and went to the check-in line. One thing about Costa is when you check-in, you don’t get your card to open your room, you just get a slip of paper with a bar-code. With my slip of paper and passport, I walked onto the gangway and waiting was a member of the security staff, they scan your document, take your picture and welcome you aboard.
The room key was waiting in my room along with our life boat drill card (right). My room is a standard balcony room with two beds pushed together to make one. It’s located on deck eight, port side, kind of mid ship and aft. This is a Spirit-class ship so it resembles a couple of ships in the Carnival fleet. If I had to guess, I’d say that Joe Farcus, Carnival’s architect, designed this ship too.
Dinner was at 6:15 and we had an American couple and a Canadian couple at the table. One thing I was worried about was being sat with a table who didn’t speak much English (there’s 600 Americans on this sailing). I wasn’t paying attention to what I was ordering and got the veggie lasagna and it wasn’t half bad. The food was good, nothing over the top. Everyone at my table was first time cruisers.
You have to activate your sail and sign card within 48-hours of being aboard the ship. They make it very easy though. You can either pay with cash at the purser’s desk ($150 minimum) or use their automated kiosks. I was playing around with the kiosk before dinner and will probably activate my card tomorrow. Love the automated concept.
The lifeboat drill happened at 8:15pm and was done in six different languages and you know what? Six different languages aren’t as bad as you’d think. It goes by pretty fast. I mentioned earlier that we had our lifeboat drill cards; we had to hand them to the attendants at our muster station which they scanned to account for us actually being there. I asked one of the attendants if the life boat drill cards were new and she told me that they’ve been around for about two years. Everyone took the lifeboat drill seriously, no talking, no cutting up or anything of the sort. The process lasted about 20-minutes and they we were allowed to go back to our cabins. My muster station is D, so I’m deck three, port side. See video below.
It was a quiet night around the ship, you can tell all the folks that flew over from other countries were exhausted. When I walked around the ship, all the venues were dead. We left the port of Miami late, around 11pm instead of 9pm. From what folks were saying we were waiting for a couple of delayed planes.
Our first port of call is Key West, 156 nautical miles from Miami. At this point it’s safe to say Key West and Cozumel are my second home.
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