I am currently just off the coast if Italy, having sailed out of Venice last night. This is a mere 5-day
initial trip, directly out of the shipyard at Fincantieri (just outside of Venice) to show this beautiful
new ship off to the press and travel agents.
The interesting thing about Deliziosa is that it is intended to be the "showpiecve" ship for this Italian
cruise line that has been in business for decades and owned by Carnival Corp. since the last 1990s.
Deliziosa is a Spirit-class ship, the same basic floor plan as the smaller but newer Carnival Spirit (and
other Carnival ships such as Pride and Miracle). Costa actually first introduced this class of vessel,
identified by its unique floorplan, with the Costa Atlantica in 2002.
These ships, also refered to as the Vista-class design (once again, referring to their basic floorplan
but each with vastly different interior decor) have been used by several Carnival Corp. owned cruise
lines inclusing for the Queen Victoria by Cunard and the Eurodam by Holland America.
The beauty of the floorplan is that all the public rooms are as low as decks two and three, which means all of the decks above these public rooms are set aside for staterroms, and they are high enough out of the water to make almost all of them balcony cabins. It was a spectacular idea at the time and it still is - one reason why Queen Victoria and the newer HAL ships have become so popular.
Additionally, for those who do not already know, Costa is virtually identical to Carnival Cruise Lines in
terms of its onboard offerings. It is not just another brand name owned by Carnival, since it does not
compete directly with Carnival as Costa uses languages other than English promarily and sails throughout Europe, South America, Asia and other world locales, the ships of the entire fleet are based upon all of the Carnival floorplans.
Basically, Costa is Europe's version of Carnival Cruise Lines, owned by Carnival, using the same interior designer (Joe Farcus) and marketing the entire cruise line almost exactly like a carbon copy of Carnival Cruise Lines in America - except that Costa is for Europeans.
There are Costa ships identical to Carnival Destiny, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Splendor (not Carnival
Dream, however) and of course, Carnival Spirit, like this one.
These Spirit-class ships are smaller, under 100,000-tons, will fit through the Panama Canal (most newer Carnival ships will not, and most newer Costa ships will not). This one also only holds about 2600 guests, not as many as 4000 like the newer Carnival and Costa ships.
But, now here is the very special thing about Costa Deliziosa - imagine if Carnival announced it was
building a smaller (Spirit/Vista-class) ship that was meant for its more upscale customers, and that the ship would be sailing exotic itineraries such as a world cruise...
That has never happened, correct?
Well, it has now happened for Costa with Deliziosa. The idea of this ship is a smaller, classier vessel
meant to appeal to upscale European cruisers. It will be the first modern Costa cruise ship (since
Carnival bought them) to sail on a world cruise (in 2011). This cruise will start in Genoa, proceed
throught the Mediterranean to New York, through the Panama Cbnal to Los Angeles, on to Asia and India, through the Suez canal and back to Genoa to end the cruise.
Deliziosa will also do a lot of exotic itineraries such as sailing out of Dubai on 7-day trips just wthin
the Persian Gulf. No, it will not approach Pirate territory which is just below the Red Sea. As a matter
of fact, Deliziosa will be inaugurated in Dubai in February - the first cruise ship ever to be officially
named in an Arab country.
So, who will the audience for Deliziosa in Dubai source from? They expect a lot of British, but also
Italians and other Europeans who are more used to visiting thr Persian Gulf as a sunny getaway. They also expect some of the more affluent locals will be cruising on the ship.
Firsts on Deliziosa: This is the first Costa ship to have bow to stern Wireless Internet access. Although I must say it is rather frustrating not to be able to use it to access Outlook Express or even an FTP program on your own laptop.
There are many other firsts. It has a huge spa and several spa-access staterooms. The thermal suite
onboard is one of the best we have ever seen, with all kinds of streamrooms and hot tubs.
This is the first Carnival ship where you can register your credit card (for onboard purchases)
automatically at kiosks onboard. Once that is done, you can buy shore tours and trickets to other onboard attractions such as the "4-D" cinema. Essentially, you never have to interact with anyone but a waiter if you do not want to.
I have to say I have really enjoyed the food onboard so far - from rabbit to lamb to squid and great
espresso coffies. It is delectable. I will be writing more, but I just wanted to get online and tell you
Deliziosa is a very sepcial ship!
Deliziosa night two
This is one of those truly delightful cruises where even though we are only on our third day we already feel as if the ship is our home. We settled right into the cabin with no problem. The bed is soft, the rom temperature is just right, our balcony is spacious. We have a 21-inch flat panel television, a hair dryer, wireless Internet access and room service always answers and arrives promptly.
Our second night onboard the Deliziosa was indeed a delicious one. We sampled the Supper Club at the top of the atrium looking down some ten open decks to the atrium far below.
The food was truly delicious beginning with a Caesar salad, a rabbit turenne and a fresh sea bass that was buttery and flaky as the main course. For dessert I decided to ship the melting chocolate cake – the same as the famous carnival recipe, and I opted for a nougat parfait, which turned out to be a caramel mousse atop a folded nougat shell that was crunchy and nutty. You have to love cruise ship dining.
As noted, this ship is in the Spirit-class, so it is not as big as the average Costa or Carnival ship. It is a sister ship to the first ship ever made with this floor plan, the Costa Atlantica which actually came out before the Carnival spirit. We used to call this the “upside down” floor plan because all of the public rooms are on decks two and three (some of them even on deck one) leaving all of the higher decks for plenty of balcony cabins.
This ship has a 4-D movie experience which I have not yet tried out. Apparently the idea is that you can watch any of four different movies and the experience includes 3-D glasses, moving seats, a full surround sound system and even what I believe they used to call smell-o-vision. In other words, there are odors intentionally emitted into the theater that pertain to the action on screen, whether it is a pine forest or the smell of exhaust fumes from a Grand Prix race through the streets of Monaco.
This ship is beautiful in many ways. Designed by famous Carnival interior designer Joe Farcus, Joe has toned down his design the last few years and is opting for more complimentary color schemes and is making the décor less “entertainment” and more complimentary to the overall feel of the ship.
We have just docked in Naples and will not be going to Pompeii as we did just two summers ago. We plan to just get out and experience some of the local color and life of this famous Italian city.
Tonight I have massage in the Samsara Spa, and I have to tell this is the most extensive spa I have ever seen. If you are a spa maniac, this is the ship for you. Even the thermal suite has extra hot ceramic beds, plenty of aromatherapy steam rooms, whirlpool tubs, rain showers and more. I have a deep tissue massage scheduled for tonight.
We had this discussion last night and my wife will be writing an article about the Spa. She is an expert in Spas having been a professional massage therapist for many years (working with the Phoenix Suns and other celebrity athletes over the years). What we discussed is this – most ship spas specialize in Swedish massage, which you should know is not known as the deep tissue style of massage. It is known more for rubbing and stroking with a softer touch. If you really want a masseuse to dog deep and loosen up certain muscles you need to tell them what you want.
A great masseuse will use his elbow and your oiled body to really smooth out the accumulated toxins in your shoulder muscles, for example. They will use their fingertips to dig below your scapula and loosen the knots that plague your arms and shoulders if you type all day like I do.
In any case – we also had lunch in the main dining room yesterday and it was very good. I must say I do not see why people knock Costa food. It is a bit more European than Americans are used to, lots of lamb and veal choices, for example. But the pasta has been delicious (hint, go for the filled pasta such as ravioli for the most flavor). The croissants are freshly made and crumble into a thousand pieces when you break them open. There are freshly made sandwiches on baguettes just like the famous French boulangeries. Breakfast buffets includes omelets made to order, German sausage, English bacon , Spanish ham, Italian pastries and French cheeses – the perfect combinations of everything European.
We flew a long way to get here, but so far this trip is a joy and it is only day three. We leave in two days; tomorrow we will be in Florence. As I noted earlier, it can get cold in Italy in the deep winter, so definitely bring a jacket if you plan to come between October and April.
Paul, interesting reading your ongoing review....
I was just reading an article in Cruise magazine about the Costa Deliziosa and it mentioned that the ship featured a rollerskating track. I would LOVE to experience that! Is it possible for you to take a photo of it for me?
It does have a rollerskating track. Unfortunately I didnt get pictures because the weather was very bad that day in Northern Italy - there was snow and cold wind everywhere. But the skates are very cool - they are extra-wide four-wheelers (like Hummers for your feet).
I look for pictures of the track and see if I can post it.
By the way - the 4-D was a great movie experience.