We asked Marco Rosa at Costa Cruises for advice and information on the cruise line and what’s new for 2011.
Who are you and what do you do?
Marco Rosa, Area Director UK, Ireland, Scandinavia & South Africa for Costa Cruises
How long have you been with the Cruise Line?
About the ship
What is, in your opinion, special about the ship?
Every one of our Costa Cruise ships is designed to combine comfort, entertainment and pleasure in unmistakable Italian style. We consider our Costa Cruise ships as the first destination on our guests’ journeys: elegant, comfortable and beautiful.
Where does the ship visit?
The 14 different ships sail all over the world to diverse and incredible destinations. From the Norwegian Fjords to the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean to the Red Sea, Costa Cruises transport guests to some of the most beautiful and intriguing spots on earth.
What are the most popular destinations and attractions?
We offer such a diverse range of destinations and attractions that they appeal to all tastes. Each cruise is unique and attracts guests from all over the world to experience the exquisite Italian style that makes the cruises so special.
The Mediterranean is perennially popular, hence why we have introduced new winter cruises to these destinations. For the first time, Costa Magica will be offering seven-night winter cruises calling at Savona, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Tunis, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Marseilles in 2011.
The Gulf is also becoming increasingly popular and we’re very proud to have been the first to have a ship christened in an Arabian city, with the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai.
What are fellow passengers typically like?
Our guests include people from all over the world who share the desire to have fun. Thanks to the enjoyable atmosphere of the cruise, guests will find many opportunities to make new friends, or relax in peace if they prefer.
What’s new for 2011 and 2012?
During the winter 2010/2011 season, two ships – the Costa Allegra and Costa Marina – will be offering seven-night cruises in the Red Sea for the first time.
On 28 December 2011, the Costa Deliziosa will set sail on a historic “round-the-world” cruise, for so long a highlight of the Italian company’s operations. The 100-night world voyage can also be broken down into three stand-alone segments: from Savona to Los Angeles via the Caribbean and the Panama Canal; from Los Angeles to Singapore with stopovers in Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia; and from Singapore to Savona via Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, the Red Sea and Egypt. This splendid, 100-night trip of a lifetime costs from £9,989.
Costa Favolosa (114,500 gross tonnage and 3780 total guests), which is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard, is the first of two sister ships due for delivery by 2012. The second, Costa Fascinosa, will join the fleet in spring 2012. Favola is Italian for “fairy tale” and Costa Favolosa will indeed be a contemporary “fairy tale castle” in the sea – a perfect combination of magical atmosphere and state-of-the-art, hi-tech fun. The main innovations on board include six new veranda suites with their own jacuzzis and a new entertainment area called Club Cavallo Bianco. This will comprise of a 4D Cinema, PlayStation World, a bar, children’s dance floor, games room and a new aqua park water playground for little ones, complete with its own galleon. Costa Favolosa will leave from Venice on her maiden cruise on 7 July 2011 – a ten-night voyage of discovery to Israel, Greece and Turkey, with stopovers at Bari, Corfu (Greece), Haifa (Israel), Izmir (Turkey) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Costa Favolosa will be operating on seven-night cruises from Venice and Bari to Turkey, Greece and Croatia throughout the summer season in 2011.
Also new for 2011 is the itinerary ‘A taste of the great capitals of Europe’. This new itinerary will visit seven cities in one cruise, a first for the cruising industry.
Life on board
Do you cater to vegetarians and special diets?
Yes -when you book a cruise on any Costa ship you can agree on any special diets to be served in the restaurants.
What are the dress codes onboard?
During the cruise, our guests are free to dress as they wish: the atmosphere on board is informal and casual. Clothing must however be suited to the environment, season, destination or occasion, such as a gala dinner or an excursion. We always advise our guests a jacket or shawl can come in very handy.
How should I tip on board staff?
No tips are required on board, but a service charge will be calculated according to the length of the cruise, destination and the ship. This service charge will be handed over entirely to the staff at the end of the cruise.
What entertainment is on board the ship?
Entertainment varies on board each ship, but there are always opportunities to have fun. For example, Costa’s newest ship, Costa Deliziosa, is unrivalled for entertainment. It boasts a 4D cinema, a roller skating track, the latest generation golf simulator with real outside putting green, PlayStation World and a Grand Prix driving simulator produced from an original GP car.
How can I stay in touch with friends and family?
Thanks to an agreement between Costa Cruises and TIM, all the fleet’s ships offer GSM-type coverage. The service is available to customers of TIM Italia or operators who have an international roaming agreement with TIM. Customers of other operators can transfer to TIM before boarding.
Is Internet access available from the ship?
On every ship in the fleet you’ll find an Internet Point with satellite connection to the web, for which you can pay using your Costa Card
Do you offer room service?
To receive breakfast in your cabin and treat yourself to a really enjoyable morning you just need to complete the special menu and hang it on the outside handle of your door in the evening before going to sleep. Snacks may also be ordered 24 hours a day with a simple phone call.
How can I celebrate special occasions (Birthday cakes etc)?
Celebrating a birthday, wedding anniversary or honeymoon on board one of Costa Cruises ships is a truly special and unique experience. You can book a number of exclusive services either online or at the same as you book your holiday. When you’re on board, you can go directly to the Information/ Customer Services Office.
Do you allow children and young families on board?
Yes, children and young families are welcome on board Costa Cruises. Our new Family Plan gives families more space with two cabins and the second is at reduced rate. A new opportunity for those who love family holidays but do not want to sacrifice comfort and space, a family of two adults and two children under 18 can now opt to travel in two cabins with the second cabin at a reduced rate
We have also recently introduced a new One and a Half Plan, catering for single parents. In this offer, one adult and one child under 18, travelling in the same cabin, will pay only one full price and one child’s fare.
We also provide family and interconnecting cabins as options.
Can baby’s cots and cribs be provided in my cabin?
All our ships are equipped with a number of facilities to welcome young guests from the age of six months: priority boarding and, on request, a crib or cot, high chair, baby bath, liquidised baby food ingredients and bottle warmers. Lifts, cabins and corridors are accessible with pushchairs.
What facilities are available for entertainment of young children?
Costa Cruises offers a programme of fun-filled activities for smaller guests and teens onboard all ships across the fleet. In fact there are facilities, activities and a whole variety of entertainment designed to suit every family member – from children to grandparents.
The children’s clubs, known as the Squok Clubs, host everything from pizza parties and pirate treasure hunts to face painting, masquerades and even Italian language lessons. These take place at all times of the day – morning, noon and evening. The teens are also allowed to join in the fun at the TeenZone. They can do anything from jewellery and costume making to playing computer games, basketball and water polo.
The children’s programme is called Fun@Sea and is handed out to all children upon boarding the ship. The programme shows the exact times of the different daytime and evening activities. Young guests are divided into four separate age groups:
• Mini (3-6 years), games in a colourful space with child size furniture. Mealtimes are made fun with themes
• Maxi (7-10 years), fun galore, poolside parties, ‘learn how to’ educational sessions and treasure hunts
• Teen Junior (11-14), fun and games aimed at that ‘in-between’ age group including ping-pong tournaments, darts, magic lesson and parties
• Teen (15-17), sports competitions, photography and graffiti lessons, pool parties with a midnight swim plus music, dancing and karaoke
How do I get to the ship?
Getting to the departure port is simple: You’ll find specific directions to all our port cities on the website. Costa Cruises offers discounted rates for air and coach travel, as well as special car parking arrangements for people travelling by car.
Is there parking available at the pier, and is there a charge?
Car parks are available close to most of the Costa Cruises departure ports. For details of the parking fees and conditions applied in each port, please go to the “Car Parks” page in the Already Booked section of the official Costa Cruises website