Live from Costa Deliziosa...
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!