Costa Luminosa Appeals to Upscale Mass Market European Cruisers
New Costa Ships Debut
A christening ceremony for two new ships was held in Europe June 5 by Costa Cruises. The event was heralded as the first double christenings in history, of new ships, although Princess had such a ceremony in 2006 when Emerald Princess and Royal Princess were both christened on the island of Santorini.
These pending arrival of these new Costa ships, Costa Pacifica and Costa Luminosa, was announced many years ago as part of a larger multi-ship order. While the two ships are not identical, both ships have superstructures virtually identical to Costa ships already in service. In fact, Costa's ships are virtually identical to Carnival ships in superstructure, and only the interior decor of all Carnival and Costa ships is different. Costa Pacifica is of the Conquest class, while Luminosa is of the Spirit class.
The only ways in which all Costa and Carnival ships vary from one another is in the interior decor. The theme for Costa Pacifica is "music," for example, 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 record a CD of their own voices singing a popular tune. MOre than mere Karaoke, this is recorded karaoke 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. I also can't help but wonder how the licensing of the pre-recordedmusic is supposed to work. If Costa is selling the service of re-recording popular songs and making a playable copy I wonder about publishing and mechanical rights to the composer. In any case, it doesn't surprise me that a ship would build a recording studio, many live music nightclubs have them these days, as do many musicians have them in their own homes. They have a well-known gimmick called "Autotune" that is said to make any singer sound professional despite the fact that all respectable professional singers refuse to use Autotune.
As you can tell, aside from being the editor of CruiseMates I also have 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. And so I expressed a distinct interest to Costa to allow me 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 despite the fact that most of my colleagues were invited. There was no mistake made, I made it very clear to Costa that I had not been invited aboard any of its ships in three years, since I took over as editor.
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 are 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. That is why we try not to rely on outside writers at CruiseMates. In fact, even with the most seemingly glowing Costa reports on all cruise web sites; rarely will anyone say anything really good about Costa, but you will see adjectives like "interesting" or "daring," so we are urge you to read between the lines.
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 consistently 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. In Europe the shipboard activities are generally conducted in Italian, German, French, Spanish and then English. The food tends toward mutton, beans, soft bacon, open-faced mayonnaise-laden sandwiches and reportedly a decent pasta if you don't mind waiting for it.
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.