Back to those two new Costa ships which were christened together this time last week. I’ve told you about the extravagant naming ceremony, but what about the ships themselves?
Well, they are Italian, so appearance is important. You know that if they pull up alongside a modern glass-fronted terminal, they’ll be checking out their reflections before they tie up to the quay.
Costa Pacifica, 114,500 tons and carrying up to 3,700 passengers and 1,100 crew is the sister ship of the fleet’s Concordia and Serena, quite angular at the bow and stern.
Costa Luminosa, smaller at 92,700 tons, and with up to 2,800 passengers and 1,050 crew, closely resembles Cunard’s Queen Victoria and Holland America’s Eurodam externally – although Costa’s big yellow signature funnel is rather a distinguishing feature. It’s internally that the big differences show. Both are designed by Carnival’s Joe Farcus, but he has used a more restrained palette than on some of his other vessels. There’s nothing here quite like the Gaudi-esque casino or Alice in Wonderland restaurants on Concordia, though he has slipped in some bizarre touches, like the frilly black knickers used as lampshades in Pacifica’s casino (left), and Fernando Botero’s giant statue of a rotund reclining woman in Luminosa’s central lobby (below).
Both ships have cavernous atriums, and the Pacifica’s (above) is particularly spectacular, echoing the musical theme throughout the ship. Each deck has its own signature tune playing in the corridors, and all the public rooms have names with a musical connection, like the New York, New York restaurant (below) and the Route 66 sports bar. The ship even has a recording studio where passengers can record their own CDs.
Luminosa is the ship of light, with hundreds of lightbulbs and lampshades made of Murano glass from Venice (right), and will be aimed at the premium end of Costa’s market It has one rather odd feature though – a piano bar with no piano !
Pacifica will sail the Mediterranean year-round; Luminosa is sailing 11 and 14-day cruises in Northern Europe during the summer, to the Canaries in the autumn, and from Dubai for seven-day cruises in the winter.
They bring Costa’s fleet to a total of 14 ships, and there are three more under construction with even more on the drawing board.
With a record 1.2m passengers in 2008 and 1.5m forecast for 2010, the line can rightly lay claim to being Europe’s number one. At the moment, none of those ships sail out of UK ports, and I shall be asking Costa’s UK boss, Marco Rosa, whether there are plans to change that.