Costa neoRomantica

Former names: Antares Experience, Celestyal Experience, Costa Romantica

Specifications of Costa neoRomantica

Year of build1993  /  Age: 28
BuilderFincantieri (Marghera, Italy)
Building costUSD 325 million (2012 drydock EUR 95 million)
Speed19 kn / 35 km/h / 22 mph
Length (LOA)220 m / 722 ft
Beam (width)31 m / 102 ft
Gross Tonnage56769 gt
Passengers1578 - 1894
Passengers-to-space ratio30
Decks with cabins8
Last Refurbishment2017, Gadani-scrapped in 2021
Sister-shipsCosta neoClassica (Grand Classica)
Former namesAntares Experience, Celestyal Experience, Costa Romantica
Christened byMaria Alessandra Fantoni
OwnerCarnival Corporation & PLC
OperatorCosta Cruises

Costa neoRomantica Review

Review of Costa neoRomantica

The 1993-built Costa Romantica cruise ship was named "Celestyal Experience" (2020-2021) and for a short time "Antares Experience" (Nov-Dec 2021). This was the second of the two Classica-class liners in the Costa Cruises fleet, together with Costa neoClassica (now Margaritaville Paradise). In July 2020, the 27-year-old liner was sold to Celestyal Cruises and renamed "Celestyal Experience".

In late-November 2021, Gadani Ship Breaking Yard (Pakistan) announced that the vessel was sold (the sales price was not disclosed) and soon to be beached and scrapped. The last AIS data showed the ship arriving at Gadani (on Nov 22) following a Suez Canal transit (Nov 6-7). Gadani (the world's third-largest shipbreaking yard - after Alang India and Chittagong Bangladesh) is approx 40 km/25 mi northwest of Karachi (Pakistan's largest city).

On September 2, 2021, Louis Group announced that (due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis) has sold Celestyal Experience. The buyer was later disclosed (Beacon And Bay Shipping Services LLC/Dubai). The sale price was not disclosed, but (reportedly) it generated ~EUR 3 million / ~USD 3,6M profit, thus supporting Celestyal's liquidity.

  • A total of 107x itineraries were canceled - all voyages with scheduled departures between November 6, 2021, and December 27, 2022.
  • Curiously, the 28-year-old vessel never carried passengers for Celestyal.
  • In October the boat was renamed "Antares Experience", and was beached at Gadani Pakistan on December 6, 2021.
  • As the last shipowner was listed New Choice Enterprises (2008-founded, Gadani-based company) that specializes in wholesale of machinery and equipment and supplying steel plates. New Choice Enterprises originally planned to use Antares Experience as a floating hotel and for cruise shipping (being certified thru 2023) with homeporting in Karachi.

For Costa Cruises, Romantica (IMO number 8821046) was Italy-flagged (MMSI 247817000) and registered in Genova. For Celestyal Cruises, the boat was reflagged to Cyprus (MMSI 210038000) with registry Limassol.

The vessel is currently Liberia-flagged (MMSI 636021175) and registered in Monrovia.

Costa neoRomantica cruise ship

The 1600-passenger ship Costa Romantica started a new life after the 2012 drydock refurbishment (EUR 95 million refit project) resulting in the new Costa neoRomantica. To the "new Romantica" were added ~3000 tons of weight, two new half decks, new staterooms (many with balconies). A daily service fee of EUR 6 (~USD 7,20) was added to the onboard account of every passenger. Half that sum was charged for children/passengers under 18. This sum was divided as follows: EUR 2 to the cabin steward/ess, EUR 2 to waiters/assistant waiters, EUR 2 to the buffet restaurant personnel (Il Giardino). A 15 % service fee was included in bills for beverages and for beaury and spa services.

Besides the ship's staff and crew, Costa's passengers were also served by Peper robots - the latest cyborg technology implemented fleetwide in 2016. These humanoid robots greet and guide passengers upon embarkation. They also assist them throughout the cruise by providing information and tips on onboard dining, entertainment, enrichment program (workshops, pre-scheduled events), casino and shopping promotions, shore excursions and tours. Pepper robots are mobile and communicate in 3 languages (English, German, Italian). They can also interpret human emotions by analyzing voice tones and facial expressions.

Decks and Cabins

Costa neoRomantica staterooms (789 total) include 34x Suites, 46x Balcony, 507x Inside and 56x Spa cabins, in all 14 grades. Most of the ship's passenger accommodations are sized 175 ft2 (16 m2) Oceanviews and Balconies. Wheelchair-accessible cabins are 27. The largest are the fore-located Grand Suites (500 ft2 / 46 m2 plus 150 ft2 / 14 m2 terrace).

Celestyal Experience cabins are in more categories (compared to Costa neoRomantica), with a total of 166 balcony suites (6x Grand, 132x Junior, 22x Balcony Suites, 6x Bridge-View Balcony) plus 12x Window Suites. Hier-tier suite passengers enjoy exclusive Suite Concierge services (priority check-in and embarkation, an exclusive dining venue, express luggage delivery and unpacking).

Fleet-first is the A Celestyal first are 4x Wellness Spa cabin categories - all with large-sized balconies.

The boat has 13 decks, of which 10 are passenger-accessible and 8 with cabins.

Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks

The Botticelli Restaurant is the main dining room on Costa neoRomantica. It is located on Deck 8 aft and has large windows on three sides, giving great sea views during the day. One of two sets of shades is drawn at night - plain room-darkening shades (ordinary dinners) and shades depicting classic Costa posters (festive dinners). Also for festive dinners, candles are placed on the tables. Il Giardino is the ship's buffet restaurant. It is located aft on Deck 10 and is divided into small areas with wicker furniture. Outside Il Giardino, there is an outdoor area called La Terrazza. Here there are tables for 4 with padded chairs. Service in the buffet is divided into stations. Costa also offers complimentary 24-Hour Room-Service.

Costa neoRomantica cruise ship (Antares Experience)

Follows the complete list of Costa neoRomantica restaurants and food bars.

  • Ristorante Botticelli (complimentary 2-level aft Dining Room with 2 fixed Dinner seatings)
  • Ristorante Club neoRomantica (specialty a la carte restaurant; features French and Italian cuisine, Steakhouse menu and extensive wine list; dinner-only, reservations required)
  • Ristorante Samsara (serves healthy and low-calorie food; with complimentary dining room for guests in Samsara Spa cabins, and a specialty restaurant for other passengers at a surcharge/reservations are required)
  • Ristorante Giardino (self-service buffet restaurant, complimentary; offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea at 4-5:00 p.m., and dinner; in the evening is transformed into Pizzeria, complimentary, with waiter service)
  • Grill Capri (fast food station, complimentary)
  • Pizzeria Capri (lunch and dinner only pizza restaurant, complimentary).

Shipboard facilities and amenities

Even though Costa Romantica cruise ship shows her age - in the low percentage of balcony cabins, for example, or fewer recreative or dining possibilities - travelers are very impressed with its Club Squok program for children. The kids' amenities are, as was typical in the mid-1990s, quite little and narrow. Costa neoRomantica provides one dining room, the new Samsara restaurant, a grand buffet, casino, eight bars, one show lounge, 2 swimming pools, and 4 jacuzzis plus SPA. There are advantages and disadvantages to such an international cruisers base. On the pro side, it is scholastic to be exposed to distinct customs, cuisines, and points of view. On the con side, some of the people might seem rude. Because they suppose most travelers are not going to understand them, they do not greet others or apologize when suitable. While Italian is the lingua franca of the cruise liner, only Italians speak it onboard; the Filipino crew members speak English.

Costa neoRomantica cruise ship (pool deck)

Follows the complete list of Costa neoRomantica lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.

  • Cabaret Vienna (main show lounge; hosts grand scale show productions, musicals, classical concerts, ballet performances, circus, and laser light shows)
  • Cigar Lounge and Bar (also selling cigars and fine liquor)
  • Sala Carte (cards room)
  • Casino Excelsior (served by the Excelsior Bar)
  • neoRomantica Atrium (multi-deck "Atrio Centrale" - an open-floor area with live music and entertainment)
  • Enoteca Verona (Wine and Cheese bar; has 100+ choices of cheeses and 80+ labels of wine)
  • Grand Bar Piazza Italia (bar lounge serving specialty cocktails, sparkling wines, starters; with live music entertainment)
  • Biblioteca and Internet Point (combined Library/computers room)
  • Galleria Via Condotti (duty and tax-free shops for brand watches, jewelry, perfumes, fashion clothes, Costa-logo merchandise, sportswear, gifts, tobacco, and liquor)
  • Galeria Foto (Photo Gallery and Shop)
  • Mondo Virtuale (Video Games Arcade)
  • Cafeteria (chocolates, specialty coffee bar, and patisserie)
  • Cappella (Wedding Chapel, also used for religious services)
  • Salone Disco Tango (Disco Nightclub)
  • Squok Club (kids lounge with Mini Club (3-6 yo) and Maxi Club (7-11 yo) playing rooms; with complimentary kids program and supervised activities; complimentary babysitting)
  • Centro Banessere Samsara (2-level Spa and Wellness complex, with Fitness and separate Spinning/Aerobics Room; Venus Beauty Salon, Massages and Treatments Rooms, Japanese TeaRoom, Relaxation Room, Thermal Suites, Solarium, Tepidarium (heated loungers), Laconium (low humidity sauna), Aroma Steam Baths, Thalassotherapy pool, Turkish Bath, Solarium, Saunas, Kinesis Room. All neoRomantica's Spa cabin passengers have free access to most of the Spa complex.
  • Gymnasium (cardiovascular equipment with views overlooking the sea; VisioWeb screens enable guests to connect to the internet and their iPods to use during workouts)
  • Lido Saint-Tropez pool area (with poolside bar and cabanas)
  • Lido Montecarlo pool area and terrace (Montecarlo pool with one Whirlpool; served by Montecarlo Bar and Capri Grill and Pizza)
  • Lido Biarritz pool area (pool with a sunbathing area; served by Montecarlo bar)
  • Solarium (open-air relaxation area)
  • Pista da Jogging (Power Walking/Jogging Track).

Celestyal Experience itineraries

Celestyal Experience ship's itinerary program was planned to start in 2021 (March 6th) with an Inaugural Cruise itinerary themed "Three Continents" (7-day maiden voyage to Holy Land).

"Three Continents" itinerary

Date / TimePort
06 Mar 17:00Departing from Piraeus-Athens, Greece
08 Mar - 22:00Port Said-Cairo, Egypt
09 Mar 08:00 - 22:00Ashdod-Jerusalem, Israel
10 Mar 11:00 - 18:00Limassol, Cyprus Greece
11 Mar 11:30 - 18:30Rhodes Island, Greece
12 Mar 07:00 - 18:00Kusadasi-Ephesus, Turkey
13 Mar 07:00Arriving in Piraeus

On April 3, 2021, Celestyal Experience had to start its summer 2021 program based on the 7-day "Idyllic Aegean" itinerary (April through November).

"Idyllic Aegean" itinerary

Date / TimePort
18 Sep 18:00Departing from Piraeus
19 Sep 08:00 - 19:00Kusadasi-Ephesus, Turkey
20 Sep 08:00 - 18:00Rhodes Island
21 Sep 08:00 - 20:00Agios Nikolaos, Crete Greece
22 Sep 07:00 - 23 Sep 02:30 (overnight)Thira-Santorini Island, Greece
23 Sep 08:30 - 13:30Adamas-Milos Island, Greece
23 Sep 19:00 - 24 Sep 19:00Mykonos Island, Greece
25 Sep 09:00Arriving in Piraeus

In Fall 2021 (October-November) the ship was scheduled to operate the 7-day itineraries "Eclectic Aegean" (17x shore excursions) and "Steps of Paul" (Holy Land).

"Steps of Paul" itinerary

Date / TimePort
16 Oct 16:00Departing from Piraeus
17 Oct 09:00 - 20:00Thessaloniki, Greece
18 Oct 08:00 - 16:00Kavala, Greece
19 Oct 09:30 - 20:00Istanbul, Turkey
20 Oct 12:00 - 20:00Dikili, Turkey
21 Oct 08:00 - 23:30Kusadasi-Ephesus, Turkey
22 Oct 07:00 - 18:30Patmos Island, Greece
23 Oct 06:00Arriving in Piraeus

"Eclectic Aegean" itinerary

Date / TimePort
23 Oct 15:00Departing from Piraeus
24 Oct 15:00 - 25 Oct 18:00 (overnight)Istanbul, Turkey
26 Oct 08:00 - 18:00Canakkale-Troy, Turkey
27 Oct 09:00 - 18:30Thessaloniki
28 Oct 08:00 - 18:30Volos-Meteora, Greece
29 Oct 09:00 - 21:30Santorini Island
30 Oct 07:00Arriving in Piraeus

During its inaugural season (2021) Celestyal Experience's program included the "Versatile Aegean " itinerary (7-day) in which was added Thessaloniki (new homeport for Celestyal), Istanbul (overnight), Canakkale-Troy, and Volos (port to Meteora's monasteries).

Celestyal Experience was scheduled to undertake the itinerary program of Celestyal Crystal ("Three Continents" in spring and winter, and "Idyllic Aegean" in summer and autumn). Early-booking prices started from USD 700 per person with double occupancy. The Maiden Voyage was last scheduled for March 5, 2022 (7-night "Three Continents").

However, due to the COVID crisis, the boat never carried Celestyal cruise tourists onboard.

Costa neoRomantica itineraries

Costa neoRomantica itinerary program was previously based on late-spring Transatlantic crossings, summer Canary Islands cruises and early-fall starting Around the World Voyages.

Since April 2017, the ship was based in Asia. Costa neoRomantica arrived in homeport Shanghai China on April 10, 2017, following a 23-day repositioning cruise (departing March 18) from Port Louis (Mauritius) and visiting Port Victoria, Male, Colombo, Phuket, Singapore, Danang, Hong Kong. The ship was then drydock refurbished in Shanghai to be customized for the Chinese passenger sourcing. neoRomantica's first Asian cruise started on April 24, 2017 (roundtrip itinerary out of Shanghai).

The new Costa Asia itineraries visited popular port destinations in Korea (Sokcho, Busan), Russia (Vladivostok) and Japan (Aomori, Hakodate, Kanazawa, Maizuru, Niigata, Sakaiminato, Sakata).

For summer 2019, the liner was homeported in Japan for roundtrips from Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, Fukuoka. Itineraries ranged from 4- to 8-night visiting ports in Japan, Korea and Russia. In 2020, neoRomantica was planned for homeporting in Sanya China. Costa Asia's China fleet in 2020 consisted of 4 liners (Firenze, Serena, Venezia, neoRomantica).

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Costa neoRomantica Wiki

neoRomantica was Costa's second/last Classica-Class liner, with sistership Costa neoClassica (fka Grand Classica/now Margaritaville Paradise). The vessel was built in Italy (Maiden Voyage on January 1, 1993). Its first drydock was in 2003. The 2011-2012 drydock refurbishment (October-March) was actually a major refit at the cost of EUR 90 million. During this extensive drydock, 2 new half-deck extensions were added with 111 new cabins and balconies (for a total of 120 staterooms), increasing the ship's weight from 53000 to 56000 GT tons.

Romantica debuted as "Costa neoRomantica" in March 2012. Public room decorations feature Carrara Marble and rare woods. The boat's decks are named Monte Carlo, Madrid, Vienna, Verona, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam - after the most famous European cities.

Costa neoRomantica cruise ship

Costa deployed neoRomantica to Asia in 2017, for roundtrips from homeport Shanghai (Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal). The new itinerary program started on April 24, 2017. During winter 2016-2017, the ship offered Indian Ocean itineraries (13-day roundtrips) to Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar leaving from Mauritius (Port Louis). The list of other Costa Asia ships in 2017 also included Atlantica (since 2013), Fortuna (since 2016), Serena (since 2015) and Victoria (since 2012).

in July 2020, Carnival Corporation (via its subsidiary Costa Cruises) sold the liner Costa neoRomantica to Celestyal Cruises. The vessel joined the fleet in early-August under the name "Celestyal Experience". Both scheduled for 2020 neoRomantica cruises for Costa Asia (ex-Japan roundtrips) were canceled.

4-day "Far East From Fukuoka (USD 560 pp)

Date / TimePort
18 Aug 15:00Departing from Hakata-Fukuoka City, Japan
19 Aug 13:30 - 22:00Maizuru, Japan
20 Aug 06:30 - 13:30Kanazawa, Japan
21 Aug 14:00 - 22:00Busan, South Korea
22 Aug 08:00Arriving in Fukuoka

5-day Far East From Fukuoka (USD 680 pp)

Date / TimePort
22 Aug 15:00Departing from Fukuoka
23 Aug 13:30 - 22:00Maizuru, Japan
24 Aug 08:00 - 17:00Kanazawa, Japan
25 Aug 10:00 - 19:00Hamada, Japan
26 Aug 08:00 - 19:00Busan, South Korea
27 Aug 08:00Arriving in Fukuoka

Following the fleet expansion, all scheduled for 2021-2022 Celestyal cruise itineraries remained unchanged.

During its Costa Cruises service, the vessel (IMO number 8821046) was Italy-flagged (MMSI number 247817000) and registered in Genoa. The vessel's construction started on April 23, 1992, with the keel-laying ceremony at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard (near Venice Italy). The ship (Costa Romantica) was launched on November 28, 1992, and delivered to Costa Cruises on September 25, 1993.

Costa neoRomantica refurbishment 2017 review

The list of Costa Romantica deckplan changes after the 2011-2012 drydock refurbishment in Genova (between October 29, 2011, and March 1, 2012) included:

  • Two half-decks were added at the bow.
  • The Theater was replaced with Samsara Spa (wellness complex on deck 8 forward).
  • Oceanview cabins were transformed into balcony staterooms.
  • 111 new cabins were added, 120 of the existing staterooms were upgraded with balconies.
  • Samsara Club Restaurant was added on deck 9.
  • Other major renovations included all public areas and cabin amenities were also upgraded.

In 2017 (April 10-24), Costa neoRomantica was drydock-refurbished in Shanghai China, and specifically customized for catering to China's passenger sourcing. In 2017, neoRomantica started a new for Costa Asia program with homeporting in Shanghai on a year-round basis.