Costa Luminosa Appeals to Upscale Mass Market European Cruisers
New Costa Ships Debut
This week Costa held a double christening for two new ships in Europe. The event was heralded as one of the first double christenings in history, but Princess had such a ceremony in 2006 when Emerald Princess and Royal Princess were both christened on the island of Santorini. So, the Costa ceremony merely marked the arrival of two ships of already familiar design.
These new Costa ships were both announced many years ago, part of a larger multi-ship order, and both ships has superstructures virtually identical to previously Costa ships. Owned by Carnival Corp., Costa's ships are virtually identical to Carnival ships in superstructure, and only the interior decor of all Carnival and Costa ships is different.
The two Costa ships debuting this week were Costa Pacifica and Costa Luminosa. The interior decor theme for Costa Pacifica is "music." The theme is exemplified onboard in many different ways, the dining rooms are named after the famous songs "My Way," and "New York, New York." Each deck has a theme song which is said to be playing somewhat non-stop, examples include "Moonlight Sonata."
The ship is also said to have a recording studio where passengers can get a CD of themselves singing a popular tune for a 'mere' 35 Euros per hour. Costa implies one hour is enough, but my personal experience as a recording engineer says one hour is usually not enough time to accomplish anything in a recording studio let alone making a finished CD of your voice singing a popular song. I also can't help but wonder how the licensing of the music is supposed to work. If Costa is selling the service of recording a song and making a playable copy they should be paying publishing and mechanical rights to the composer.
For the record I may never know, as the editor of CruiseMates with an extensive background in music, recording studios, shipboard entertainment and other music-related topics that would make me one of the most qualified journalists to cover this ship, I expressed a distinct interest to the cruise line to see this ship with plenty of advance notice several months ago - and the company intentionally did NOT invite me to the debut of this ship - which makes me wonder what they have to hide.
For the record, Costa is now the first cruise line to ever intentionally snub CruiseMates as a cruise publication, and frankly we think it is a pretty sad posture on their part. Next month we will be in Europe to cover the debut of their main competition, MSC Cruises. Since the cruise market in Europe is actually holding up better than it is in the U.S. we can't help hoping MSC will show us a spectacular ship, but we will give you our unbiased report either way, Costa's bias against CruiseMates not withstanding.
Costa Luminosa has a different theme, light. Word is that this ship is far more subdued than Pacifica, which makes sense as light is not nearly as obtrusive to the senses as sound. For this reason, Luminosa is supposed to be targeted to the more discerning cruiser.
Reports say the public areas are constructed of premium materials such as 36,000 square feet of ebony and ivory, 20 different types of marble, over 10,000 feet of LED lights and 120 Murano chandeliers. Now, we are wondering why "Ebony and Ivory" were not on the Pacifica where the theme is music and that is the name of a famous duet by Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, but it is scandalous questions like that that apparently kept us off the guest list to see these ships in the first place.
In case you cannot tell, CruiseMates is not amused by this snubbing by Costa. In fact they have not invited us to see any of their ships in three years, while other cruise lines make sure we on the list for practically every event they hold. In the past we have not been big fans of Costa, and it is safe to say our readers and most of our cruise journalistic colleagues agree with us. And so we take it as a point of pride to be snubbed by Costa, because now YOU, dear readers, know that we do not varnish the truth with glowing reports of any cruise line.
And in case you are thinking, "yeah, when the cruise line doesn't invite you on their ships" keep in mind they invited us in the past and we must have said something they didn't like or they wouldn't have banned us. In fact, we have seen articles about Costa by our colleagues that frankly we think are pap and we are sorry to see them. So, we are urging you to read between the lines of even the most glowing Costa reports on all cruise web sites; rarely will you see anyone saying anything really good about Costa.
From now on, however, Costa has been notified that our coverage of the line will be based upon input from our readers only since they obviously do not want our reporters seeing their ships. Unfortunately for Costa there are not many ships that persistently rate lower and get more complaints about food and service. Keep in mind that our cruise savvy American cruisers are more experienced than the Europeans.
And therein lies the problem. The shipboard activities are generally conducted in Italian, German, French, Spanish and then English. The food tends toward mutton, beans and soft bacon for breakfast, open-faced mayonnaise-laden imitation seafood sandwiches for lunch and reportedly a decent pasta for dinner, if you don't mind waiting for it. And those are the kinds of comments that have gotten CruiseMates banned from their events. We report, you decide.
MSC Cruises, the European cruise line that is growing their fleet faster than any cruise line in the world and giving Costa a run for their money in the European market, has a boatload of family specials for you this summer. Rates begin at $799 per person, double occupancy for a 7-night cruise. Plus, children under the age of 17 sail free on all sailings when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.
new feature articles
The World Is Scary, So It's a Good Time to Cruise
We admittedly live in rather odd times, with continuous bombardment from the media on troubling world and local events;
Don't Skimp on Alaska Tours
Alaska is the bargain of the decade this summer, but don't miss the wildlife by not taking tours in port. Here's why... options.
Cruise Ship Dining -- A Beginner's Guide
Here's what you need to know about meal service options before you sail.
The First Virtual Cruise - 1998
It wasn't always easy to "blog" live from a cruise. In fact, at one time there was no such thing as a "blog."
Read about CruiseMates
NEW YORK TIMES:
"Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exceptions is CruiseMates."
"The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial"
NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!
Snoozeman's Galveston Conquest Cruise
Join your CruiseMates Host Snoozeman on the Conquest of Galveston!
Travel from the Lone Star harbor to the Western Caribbean: Galveston to Montego Bay Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
Ruby Princess Venetian Fantasy
Travel down the canals of Venice to the Inter-coastal Waterways of Ft. Lauderdale! 18 Amazing nights and six glorious 25 hr. sea days on the most stunning Princess ship yet.