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Onboard: ‘La dolce vita’ aboard Costa Atlantica

The 2,114-passenger Costa Atlantica docked today in Nassau, Bahamas. Atlantica offers a taste of Italy in the Tropics, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, through April. Photo by Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Costa Atlantica this week as she sails a seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Here’s his latest dispatch:

NASSAU, Bahamas, Friday Jan. 8, 2010 — Passengers aboard an Italian cruise ship bid the pastel pink colors of this sunny Bahamian capital and their bustling straw markets arrivederci this afternoon.

Costa Atlantica and her 2,114 guests are nearing the end of a seven-night, three-port Eastern Caribbean itinerary which concludes tomorrow morning in Fort Lauderdale.

It’s been nothing but Italian style and revelry since boarding the vessel one short week ago, from pasta and more pasta to classical music, on stage performances and toga parties.

St. Thomas, San Juan and Nassau, like the plethora of onboard culinary choices, may now be gone but not soon forgotten. Atlantica passengers were treated to more dining and varied menu options than one could possibly enjoy in just a week.

Standard pool-side offerings – burgers, hot dogs, Tex Mex — gave way to carving and buffet stations throughout the day and night.

Two dinner seatings — 6 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. in Tiziano Restaurant — in turn gave way to additional servings of late night pasta and desserts served both in the lobby and on the pool deck under the Caribbean stars.

The Club Atlantica Tuscan Steak House, Costa Atlantica’s reservations-only, $30 per-person specialty restaurant, features a merging of Italian and international flavors. Photo by Michael Coleman

The ship’s reservations-only specialty restaurant, Club Atlantica Tuscan Steak House, features excellent wines and the merging of Italian and international flavors for an additional $30 per person. Choosing from among a host of homemade pastas and sauces, meat and fish, clearly made this venue worthy of a second visit.

Passengers seeking a more relaxed dining venue could do so nightly in the Botticelli Restaurant on Deck 9. Pasta offerings and salads are common fare.

And, as one might expect from a cruise line with a deep Italian heritage, Pizzeria Napoli on Deck 9 is a big hit. Four no-charge specialty pizzas are offered from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Servers draped in aprons and bow ties featuring the colors of the Italian flag — red, green and white — were quite busy each evening in this popular venue.

For those keeping close tabs on their diet/calories, Atlantica also features a Wellness Restaurant, next to the main dining room on Deck 2.

The varied gastronomic offerings also reflect Costa Atlantica’s international passenger base. Italian, French, German, English and Spanish guests leave tomorrow having lived, albeit briefly, Costa’s “love, laughter and la dolce vita (sweet life).’’

A Venetian atmosphere permeates throughout Costa Atlantica thanks to design elements featuring Carrara marble, Murano-glass accents and in-laid mosaic tile. An impressive replica of Venice's famed, three-centuries-old Caffe Florian in St. Mark’s Square, is located on Deck 3 and is a popular onboard venue for tea, pre-and post-dinner cocktails. Photo by Michael Coleman

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