Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale; Freeport, Bahamas; Grand Turk; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Miami
I flew into Fort Lauderdale and took a quick taxi ride to the port. Upon arrival, I was able to walk through security and check in. The initial process of securing the room keys was a bit hectic when entering the lobby of the ship. The staff was accommodating when asked questions and I soon got settled. Each port of call’s disembarkation was fairly simple. Entering the ship after a day of excursions or sightseeing was also simple and swift. Disembarkation was convenient. I had an early flight to catch, so I opted out of the luggage collection service and chose to carry my luggage off the ship myself, which saved time.
My ocean-view standard stateroom included a seating area with a couch and plenty of room to move about the cabin. The color scheme was calm and inviting, and the effective use of space ensured proper storage of personal items and luggage. The bathroom was spacious and the room felt like a home away from home. The staff was thorough, consistently cleaning the room and attending to it at opportune times so as not to disturb guests who choose to sleep in.
The ship itself emphasizes the chic Italian style associated with Costa. The vessel boasts a variety of dining options and activities. I enjoyed the cuisine immensely, and found the flexibility to choose a late dinner seating helpful after an excursion and port of call explorative day! The disco is a must for the young or the old.
The decks near the pool and toward the back of the vessel offer many private areas to sunbathe and enjoy the pool or Jacuzzi. The café and Aperol Spritz Bar make great spots for a morning espresso or a midday cocktail. Since I was on a holiday cruise, which coincided with New Year’s, the ship was appointed with beautiful decorations and presented a festive feel. Being a northern U.S. native, I enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve best in my traditional chilly scenery, but the entire crew at Costa made me feel like I was in my home away from home for the holidays.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.