Costa Cruises

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Review of Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises (Costa Crociere) is a British-American owned Italian cruise line based in Genoa Italy. Costa is one of the main operating companies in Carnival Group (Carnival Corporation subsidiary) and a member of the exclusive “World’s Leading Cruise Lines Alliance” (WLCLA). WLCLA also includes Carnival, Cunard, Holland America, Seabourn, Princess, and Windstar. The Costa cruise line is one of the two right answers (following Carnival) to the question "what are the cheapest cruise lines in the world". Costa is also ranked best for Mediterranean itineraries and among the best family cruise lines, ruling over Europe with its “Italian Style Cruising”. The company's headquarters: Costa Cruises, 200 S. Park Road, Suite 200, Hollywood, FL, 33021-8541 USA.

Costa Cruises logo

Costa is known for its energetic mix of Mediterranean cuisine, festive atmosphere, dynamic entertainment, American comfort, popular itineraries and convenient departure ports. Costa ships operate budget-priced cruises and their clientele is predominantly European – mostly younger couples and singles. Many Americans and Canadians enjoy Costa’s festivity on the Caribbean cruises.

New ships

In July 2015, Carnival Corporation signed a shipbuilding agreement with Meyer Werft for the construction of all 4 new class vessels. Contracts were finalized in April 2016. Of these 4 new cruise ships, 2 liners are for Costa and the other 2 for AIDA Cruises (Carnival's German brand).

new Costa cruise ship design

  • The new Costa ships were scheduled for delivery in 2019 (Costa Smeralda) and 2020. Costa ships were built in Turku Finland, AIDA ships - in Papenburg Germany.
  • Each vessel has gross tonnage of 183,000 GT tons, over 2,600 cabins, double-occupancy passenger capacity 6,600 and crew capacity around 700.
  • Ship's design features more efficient use of both indoor and open-deck spaces, with several multi-functional areas.
  • The new ships for Costa and AIDA will be industry's first fully LNG-powered vessels (abbrev Liquefied Natural Gas), generating 100% of their onboard and propulsion power from LNG - both in ports and at sea.
  • With the new vessels, Costa Group had a fleet of 7 ships on order with total capacity 41,000 berths, with combined total capacity of Costa's fleet 110,000 berths.

new Costa cruise ship design

The 4-vessel contract was part of a previously announced larger shipbuilding order with Fincantieri (Italy) and Meyer Werft for all 9 new vessels with scheduled deliveries between 2019 and 2022. Managed by Costa Group, the Costa and AIDA combinjed fleet became Europe's largest. In 2014, one out of every two cruise ship tourists in Europe sailed on either AIDA or Costa ship. In 2015, Costa Group had 20 offices in 14 countries, around 27,000 shipbard employees and total passenger capacity of over 68,000 berths (across the combined fleet). Costa Group also is the leader on China's rapidly growing cruise market in Asia.

In January 2016, Carnival Corporation signed a MoA (memo of agreement) with Fincantieri to build 4 new vessels. Contracts were finalized in April 2016. Of these, 2 vessels were for Costa Asia (homeported in China), 1 for Princess and 1 for P&O Australia.

  • With this shipbuilding order, the Corporation had a total of 17 new ships scheduled for deliveries between 2016 and 2020. The four vessel will be built at Fincantieri's shipyards in Monfalcone and Marghera, with scheduled deliveries in 2019-2020.
  • Three of the vessels are designed with gross tonnage 133,500 tons, LOA length is 323 m (1060 ft) and capacity 4000 passengers plus 1450 crew (2 are for Costa Asia, 1 for P&O AU). One ship with GT 143,700 tons and capacity 3560 passengers is for Princess. Both Costa ships are exclusively for the booming Chinese market.
  • Each vessel is powered by two MAN diesel engines (model 14V48 / 60CR) plus three MAN diesel engines (medium-speed, model 8L48 / 60CR), providing total power output 62,400 kW. The engines are Tier-II compliant.

Costa cruise ship experience

  • Dining: authentic Italian cuisine, prepared by European chefs, midnight buffets, gala dinners, health menu option. Spa suites, permanent room service.
  • Costa ships specials: the 2-level Samsara Spa (6,000 sq.m., with many exotic treatments), a 3-level Theater, a 4D Cinema (hybrid), up to 4 on-board pools (2 with with retractable roofs), a Grand Prix simulator, an 18-hole golf simulator. Every ship has a small chapel, suitable for intimate weddings.
  • Traditional on-board celebration parties: “Benvenuto A Bordo”, “Buon Viaggio” and “Notte Tropical”. Costa’s festive theme nights: the tarantella dancing and pizza dough tossing during the Festa Italiana, playing games of boccie, ice carving, “Roman Bacchanal Parade” and “Roman Toga Party”.
  • “Costa Kids’ Club” – supervised interactive programs, ages 3 to 17. Playstation World center on-board for video game tournaments.
  • Entertainment: European-style casino, bingo, Internet cafe, musical revues, live performances by comedians, acrobats, and mime artists; classical concerts in lounges. Italian language and cooking classes on board. “Via Condotti” boutiques with premier Italian goods.
  • For cruises starting April 2018 the cruise line restructured its fares into 4 categories, ranging from a Basic, no-frills version, to Deluxe level which includes just about everything. Costa announced its new pricing plan in North America after rolling it out in core European markets. The plan does not apply to a number of Asia-based vessels or world cruises. Unlike airlines, Costa is not charging for amenities that used to be free, with just one exception: The cheapest level doesn't include the ability to choose a cabin.
  • Basic level, which is the least expensive option, includes dining in venues that have always been included in the price of the voyage, onboard entertainment, and use of pools and fitness areas. Guests who choose the Basic option don't get to choose cabin assignment. Total Comfort Classic includes all basics plus a cabin choice and unlimited beer, wine, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. A step up from it is Total Comfort Premium, offering choice of cabin in prime location, ability to select 1st or 2nd dinner seating, as well as unlimited drinks anytime. Deluxe is the top option, including a suite, unlimited drinks, spa access, invitations to special events, free minibar, in-suite daily fruit, and other amenities. 

Costa has the youngest cruise fleet in Europe, and operates mainly Italy-flagged ships. Costa cruise ships are of 7 different classes (low to high): Axel Johnson, Classica, Sky, Spirit, Fortuna, Concordia and Vista.

Costa ships belong to the Europe’s youngest fleet of passenger liners. Costa is also the leader among the best Mediterranean “most fun” ship cruising lines. The Costa liners are among the Europe’s best family cruise ships (along with those of MSC) and are specifically designed to provide best family-fun “Italian-Style Cruising” experiences by cheap deals, traditional cuisine and some of the best onboard amenities and activities on big and middle size passenger ships.

  • operator (Costa Cruises Group)
  • owner (Carnival Corp)
  • hallmark (“Cruising Italian Style”)
  • flag (Italy)
  • builder (Fincantieri, Italy).
  • Hybrid Spirit-Vista Class: LUMINOSA, DELIZIOSA
  • Concordia Class (Modified): FAVOLOSA, FASCINOSA
  • Concordia Class: Costa CONCORDIA (sank in 2012), SERENA, PACIFICA
  • Fortuna Class: FORTUNA, MAGICA
  • Spirit Class: ATLANTICA, MEDITERRANEA
  • Sky Class: VICTORIA
  • Classica Class: CLASSICA, ROMANTICA
  • Axel Johnson Class: MARINA, ALLEGRA.

Costa Cruises private island Sir Bani Yas

In June 2016, MSC Cruises announced it had created an exclusive "beach oasis" for vacationers on Abu Dhabi and Dubai cruises from 2016-2017 winter. The 1.5-mile stretch of land on the natural Sir Bani Yas island, off the southwest coast of Abu Dhabi, features shaded cabanas, hundreds of palm trees and over 2,000 sunbeds across 387,500 sq.feet of beaches.

  • Starting from December 2016, MSC Fantasia added the destination, available exclusively to MSC Cruises passengers when the cruise ship calls at the island, to Emirates itineraries. The development is on a smaller isle connected to the main island by wooden boardwalk allowing exclusive access to MSC Cruises' passengers.
  • Other facilities include: food, refreshments, MSC Aurea Spa area with a menu of massages, sports facilities (beach volleyball, tennis), family and kids-dedicated area with parents’ pergola, Bedouin tent offering arts & crafts created by local communities, lounge space with live music and a bar. The MSC Cruises company has been working closely with ecologists and Abu Dhabi Port Authorities for more than 2 years to develop the project and support the ongoing preservation work.
  • The isle is one of the largest wildlife reserves in the region due to decades of conservation work and ecological investment to maintain its biodiversity. The Arabian Wildlife Park on the Sir Bani Yas main island is home to over 13,000 endangered and indigenous animals, as well as millions of plants and trees. The first sailing of the winter season departs on December 3, 2016 and calls at the isle on December 5. Prices started at US$719 per person for a 7-night itinerary.
  • In July 2016, Costa Cruises announced the Sir Bani Yas Island will be added as 1-day stopover (port of call) on UAE Cruises' (season 2016-2017) on the Costa neoRiviera ship. Costa passengers will have access to a private (Costa exclusive) beach with VIP areas with cabanas. Other shore excursion options are jeep safaris in the wildlife park, sea kayaking, diving and snorkelling.

Sir Bani Yas island

Costa cruise ship robots

An innovative AIDA and Costa Cruises program implemented latest cyborg technology fleetwide. Humanoid robots greet and guide passengers upon embarkation. They also assist them throughout the cruise by providing information and tips on dining (restaurants, bars), entertainment (lounges, scheduled events, presentations, promotions), shore excursions and tours (offered in ports of call along the cruise ship itinerary).

These robots (named “Pepper”) are able to communicate in 3 different languages (English, German, Italian), to move fluidly and even to interpret human emotions by analyzing voice tones and face expressions.

pepper robot - CruiseMapper

Designed by the companies ALDEBARAN and SoftBank, the Pepper robot was launched in Japan (June 2014) as the world’s first “emotional” robot. The machine's main statistics are:

  • height 120 cm / 4 ft
  • weight 28 kg / 62 pounds
  • 3x wheels (omnidirectional)
  • 17x joints
  • 1x 3D depth sensor
  • 2x HD cameras
  • 4x microphones
  • touch sensors (in its head and hands)
  • a 10-inch (25 cm) touch screen

The new technology was first tested on AIDAstella where Pepper learned to engage with passengers and crew. The first set of robots were introduced on Costa Diadema and AIDAprima in April 2016. By the end of summer 2016, Pepper robots were added on all AIDA and Costa ships.

(new) Costa cruise booking system

Starting April 2018, Costa Cruises has a new, restructured cruise booking system with fares based on 4 main categories. They range from Basic to Deluxe (all-inclusive). The new pricing plan doesn't apply to the Asia-based ships and also on world cruises. All previously free of charge (complimentary) amenities remain, with the exception that the cheapest (Basic) level don't include the option to choose a cabin. 

  • "Basic" level is the cheapest booking deal and includes dining in all complimentary venues, onboard entertainment, use of swimming pools and fitness facilities. However, cabin assignment is not available.
  • "Total Comfort Classic" level includes all Basic level perks plus cabin choice and unlimited drinks (beer, wine, soft beverages / with lunches and dinners).
  • "Total Comfort Premium" level includes premium cabin locations, option to select 1st or 2nd dinner seating, unlimited drinks anytime.
  • "Deluxe" level is the all-inclusive option that includes Suite stateroom, unlimited drinks, unlimited spa access, invitations to onboard special events, free mini-bar, in-suite daily fruits.

Costa Asia

Costa Asia is Carnival Corporation's subsidiary company that manages all the corporation's Asian cruise shipping operations. The Costa Asia company has offices in China (including Hong Kong), Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and India. Costa Asia is also the operator of all Asia-based Costa cruise ships.

  • Since May 2017, Costa Asia-managed cruise vessels (of all Carnival Corporation brands) allow using Alipay payment services onboard. The partnership between Carnival Corporation and Ant Financial Services Group (subsidiary of Alibaba, China's biggest online trading company) enables Chinese cruise passengers on all Carnival Corp ships in Asia to pay for onboard services and products using their Alipay (mobile payment platform) accounts. Among these onboard services and products are shopping, tours/excursions, food and drinks. These expenditures are added to the passenger's cabin folio, then cleared via his/her Alipay account on a nightly basis.
  • On September 21, 2017, Costa Cruises announced the company's partnership with Juventus (football club). The deal allows Costa to offer exclusively a Juventus onboard experience on all Costa Asia ships. This includes Juventus football content available 24/7 on all cabin TVs, talks and presentations (club history and memorabilia) at the ship's “Juventus Museum” and purchasing branded souvenirs at the themed "Juventus Shop". All Costa Asia ’ ships also feature a Juventus-branded mini club and character meetings by the Juve's official Jay Mascot (zebra). Onboard sport activities include a Juventus football training program (for all kids ages 5 to 14) modelled after the club's Juventus Academy (soccer school). The program is managed by Juve-trained coaches.

Itinerary of Costa Cruises

  • On April 29, 2016, Costa Crociere officially announced that the neoClassica ship will be homeported in Mumbai India for the winter 2016-2017 season (December through March). The ship operated on 7-day oneways between India and Maldives (Mumbai to Male, and the reverse). 14-day B2B roundtrips were also offered from India (Mumbai) combining both one-way itineraries. neoRomantica also sailed on Indian Ocean cruises (leaving from Port Louis, Mauritius) during winter 2016-2017, while the Costa ships Pacifica and Mediterranea were repositioned to South America.
  • For 2017-2018 winter season (between January 6 and February 17) Costa Victoria was homeported in Singapore, leaving every Saturday on 2 different 7-day itineraries. They can also be combined into a B2B cruise (2-week long itinerary). As of March 30, 2018 Costa Victoria returns to regular Mediterranean service. The was homeported in China since 2012, with voyages dedicated to the local market. During 2018 summer ,Costa Victoria offers a 7-day itinerary in the Balearic Islands, with stops in SavonaOlbiaIbizaPalma de MallorcaTarragona.
  • Costa neoRiviera was homeported in Tarragona (Costa Daurada) from June 2 to September 22, 2017. Departing roundtrip from Tarragona every Friday, the itinerary visited SavonaPorto Torres (Sardinia)Port Mahon (Menorca)IbizaFormentera and Palma (Majorca).
  • Costa neoRomantica's 8-day itineraries in Japan were out of Tokyo (scheduled between late October 2017 and late January 2018).
  • 3-night Kochi-Maldives and 4-night Mumbai-Kochi services of Costa are launched in November 2017. The Mumbai-Kochi service is through Mangalore and the services are aimed at tapping a market of holiday-makers from the state who wish to go on short cruises.

Costa Asia itineraries

Costa Cruises Asia itineraries for 2017-2018 winter season included new port destinations in Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand (on Costa Victoria) and to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan (on Costa neoRomantica).

The company has a firm presence with increased passenger capacity in the Asian region. Ship deployments started with Costa Victoria (repositioned from Europe in 2012), followed by Costa Atlantica (2013), Costa Serena (2015), Costa Fortuna (2016) and Costa neoRomantica (2017).

Before the new Asian cruise operations, each ships undergoes a drydock refurbishment in order to be customized for the local market.

Costa cruise ship classes

Costa cruise ship design (Diadema, Dream-class)

Helios-class

Costa Smeralda (2019), Costa TBN2 (sister-ship, 2021)

  • gross tonnage 180,000 tons, LNG powered, passengers 5200, cabins 2600
  • shipbuilder Meyer Turku
  • building cost USD 950 million each

(new class)

  • Costa TBN3 (2019), Costa TBN4 (2020)
  • new class ships for the Asian market (homeported in China)
  • gross tonnage 135,500 tons, passengers 4200
  • shipbuilder Fincantieri
  • building cost USD 780 million each

Dream-class ships

  • Specifications: tonnage 92,700 GT, length 294 m, beam 32 m, draft 7 m, decks 12, speed 42 km/h, 1,130 staterooms, capacity 2,828+1,100 passengers+crew. Cost: US 600 million.

Costa DIADEMA (2014)

After the 2014 Inaugural Cruise, Diadema was deployed in the Western Mediterranean Sea region on 7-day itineraries out of Rome, Barcelona and Marseille.

Costa DELIZIOSA (2010)

  • 7-n from Dubai to Persian Gulf (winter)
  • 10 and 11-n Mediterranean from Genoa (fall, incl Canary Islands), Eastern Med; and 4-n Western Med (spring)
  • Northern Europe 11-n from Amsterdam (summer)

Costa LUMINOSA (2009)

  • 3 and 4-n Mediterranean from Genoa (fall and spring), 4 and 9-n Western Med
  • Northern Europe: 7-n Baltic from Copenhagen (summer), incl Norway Fjords
  • 7-n from Dubai to the Persian Gulf (winter).

Concordia-class ships

(Modified) Concordia-Class Ships Specifications: tonnage 114,500 GT, length 290 m, beam 32 m, draft 8 m, decks 13, speed 40 km/h, 1,506 staterooms, capacity 3,780+1,100 passengers+crew. Cost: US 670 million.

Costa FASCINOSA (2012) – 4-5-7-day trips in Mediterranean from Venice.

Costa FAVOLOSA (2011) – 7-n Mediterranean from Venice.

Concordia-Class Ships Specifications (Modified Conquest-class): tonnage 114,500 GT, length 290m, beam 36m, draft 8m, decks 14, speed 40 km/h, 1,500 staterooms, capacity 3,780+1,100 passengers+crew.

Costa PACIFICA (2009) – the first recording studio at sea.

  • Northern Europe from Hamburg Germany
  • South America (during winter)

Costa SERENA (2007) – 7-n Mediterranean, Dubai; Costa Serena started year-round deployment from Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in Shanghai in April 2015.

Fortuna-class ships

Fortuna-Class Ships Specifications (identical to the Carnival Destiny-class): tonnage 105,000 GT, length 271m, beam 37m, draft 8m, decks 13, speed 37 km/h, 1,358 staterooms, capacity 2,720+1,027 passengers+crew.

Costa MAGICA (2004) – Western Med 7-n from Rome (fall and winter)

Costa FORTUNA (2003) – all present and past Costa ships are displayed as models in her Atrium.

  • 9 and 10-n South America from Sao Paulo
  • 5 and 7-n Mediterranean from Venice incl the Adriatic)
  • arrives in Shanghai on April 22, 2016; currently sailing in Asia.

Spirit-Class Ships Specifications: tonnage 86,000 GT, length 292m, beam 32m, draft 8m, decks 12, speed 41 km/h, capacity 2,114+912 passengers+crew. Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards, Finland. Panamax form factor (able to traverse the Panama Canal).

Costa MEDITERRANEA (2003)

  • South America (during winter)

Costa ATLANTICA (2000)

  • 7-n Eastern Med from Venice (late spring), and 10-n Egypt-Greek-Turkey from Genoa (late fall)
  • 7-n Northern Europe from Copenhagen (summer), Scandinavia and Russia, and Norwegian Fjords
  • 5 and 7-n Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale (spring, fall)
  • currently sailing in Asia.

Sky-class ships

Sky-Class Ships Specifications: tonnage 76,000 GT, length 252m, beam 32m, draft 8m, decks 12, speed 40 km/h, capacity 1,928+766 passengers+crew, builder: Bremer Vulkan, Germany.

Costa VICTORIA (1996) – the first cruise ship with later added balconies.

  • Japan cruises in 2016
  • Asian itineraries from China and Singapore. In 2017-2018, the ship was homeported in Laem Chabang (Bangkok) for roundtrips in Gulf of Thailand. In the period January 11- 25, the ship had scheduled three 4-night itineraries to Koh SamuiSihanoukville and Phu Quoc Island (Vietnam). Followed a 4-night relocation itinerary to China.

Classica-Class Ships Specifications: tonnage 53,000 GT, length 220m, beam 31m, draft 8m, decks 11, speed 34 km/h, capacity 1,600+600 passengers+crew, builder: Fincantieri, Italy.

Costa neoROMANTICA (1993)

  • Indian Ocean (during winter leaving from Mauritius)
  • Asia (2017) visiting ports in Japan, Russia, Korea
  • In 2017, neoRomantica became Costa Cruises' 5th ship deployed on the Asian marked - following Costa Victoria (since 2012), Costa Atlantica (since 2013), Costa Serena (since 2015) and Costa Fortuna (since 2016).
  • The ship underwent an USD 11,5 million refit in Shanghai before starting Asian itineraries to ports in Japan (Hakodate, Kanazawa, Maizuru, Niigata, Sakaiminato, Sakata), Russia (Vladivostok) and Korea (Busan).

Costa neoCLASSICA (1991)

  • leaving from Dubai UAE, Indian Ocean (winter 2017 leaving from Mumbai India and Male Maldives)
  • The ship leaves the Costa fleet in 2018 (last cruise March 4 from Mumbai to Male Maldives). According to some speculations, neoClassica could join the fleet of the Florida-based company "Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line" run by NCL's formet President Kevin Sheehan. The company currently has one ship - MS Grand Celebration.

Mistral-class ships

Costa neoRIVIERA (1999)

  • 6-n round-trip from Dubai
  • 21-n The United Arab Emirates, The Indian Ocean, The Mediterranean

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