Costa Cruises has golfing down to a tee

Costa Cruises has golfing down to a tee

Costa Deliziosa (www.costadeliziosa.com) and her sister ship Costa Luminosa, the most exclusive and innovative ships operated by Europe’s number one cruise line, are bringing golfing and cruising closer together. 

They offer avid golf enthusiasts a complete golf programme with waterborne golf on the world’s leading simulator, plus shore excursions to exotic and famous golf courses in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf.  The shipboard simulator is based on state-of-the-art technology making it the undisputed leader in indoor golf simulation.  Using real balls and clubs, the simulator combines the feel of playing golf with the visuals of a live PGA event.

Guests on Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa will also be able to work on their short game using the custom putting green, which is just a chip away from the simulator.  Situated on deck 10, near the top of the ship, the practice area extends about 100 square metres and features six different holes.  The ultra-light synthetic turf and special construction techniques provide true ball roll and make this putting green very realistic for the discerning golfer. 

Golf buffs will be able to enjoy their sport in the unique setting of a fabulous fun vacation on board the Costa Deliziosa or the Costa Luminosa, emblems of Italian-made excellence worldwide, both of which are 92,600 gross tonnage and can carry up to 2,826 total guests.

Not only will they be able to play on board; the Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa have introduced itineraries featuring stops at resorts with actual courses and dedicated excursions.  In the 2010 summer season, both vessels’ Northern European cruises include tours to world-class golf courses from the two main Norwegian ports:  namely the Baerum GolfKlub Oslo and the Meland Golf Club in Bergen. 

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The Costa Deliziosa offers two regular seven-day cruises:  the first to the northern fjords departing from Copenhagen (Denmark) and stopping over in Flam, Hellsylt, Geiranger, Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo (Norway).  The second itinerary also operates out of Copenhagen and takes in the Baltic cities with port calls at Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland) and Stockholm (Sweden).

The Costa Luminosa is deployed on two regular 11-day itineraries:  the first goes to the Baltic cities departing from Amsterdam (Netherlands) and calling at Copenhagen (Danimarca), Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Tallin (Estonia).  The second cruise sails to North Cape, once again sailing from Amsterdam, and includes stopovers in Hellsylt, Geiranger, Honningsvag, Tromso, Giavdal, Trondheim, Andalsanes and Bergen (Norway).

Next winter, on their Arabian Gulf cruises, the Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa will be offering tours to famous golf clubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Guests will enjoy up to 60 minutes on the practice range followed by a round lasting four or five hours on lush courses carved out of the desert against a backdrop of sea, endless beaches and luxury hotels.  These international standard courses in the United Arab Emirates offer golfers of all handicaps a great game of golf.  Costa Cruises’ Arabian Gulf itinerary comprises seven-day cruises departing from Dubai:  Two nights in Dubai and one-day stopovers in the ports of Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (UAE), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Bahrain.

Cruisers who choose the Mediterranean routes on one of the other Costa ships can also go on excursions to the following courses:  the Do Santo Da Serra Golf Club in Funchal, Madeira (Portugal), the Costa Teguise Golf Club in Lanzarote (Spain), the Glyfada Golf Club of Athens and the Afandou Golf Club in Rhodes (Greece), the Kemer Golf Club in Istanbul, and the Filanda Golf Club in Savona.

The new standard in golf simulator technology

The interactive golf software is based on GPS (Global Positioning System) data and satellite imagery to create the most realistic experience in golf simulation today and allow you to play 18 holes on famous courses from around the world.  The 4D CAD (Computer Aided Design) modelling software uses the most advanced computer-generated imaging to provide the ultimate golf entertainment experience.  4D because the temporal dimension is added to the spatial:  advanced animation techniques are used to display complex sequences for moving objects.  The high definition graphics resolution in over 16 million colours is so realistic that playing virtual golf on the simulator is just like the real thing.  The computer-driven game reproduces every last detail on the video screen – buildings, fairways, water hazards, bunkers, greens and even the weather. 

You play with real balls and clubs.  Guests on the Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa can choose a set of clubs for men or women, and there are also junior sets (10-14 years old) and sets of left-handed clubs.

A system consisting of sensors positioned on the ground and two high speed video cameras is used to measure the swing path, club head speed and face angle and to calculate the force, ball speed and launch angle, shot direction, hit distance and swing tempo.  The screen displays the ball’s trajectory in 4D and players can choose between two options:  “fly-with-ball” using a virtual camera view from the ball itself, or picking up the shot in flight and showing it landing on the fairway (or in the rough). 

The golf simulator combines a high tech design concept with user friendly features, such as a touch screen monitor and instructions in a choice of 20 different languages.

There are 37 championship courses from around the world to choose from, including the St. Andrews Old Links in Scotland, Pebble Beach in California, the Preserve Golf Club in Kenya, the Kungsangen Kings Golf Club in Sweden; the El Cortante Golf Club in Sierra Nevada (Spain) and the Tempete Golf Club in Quebec (Canada).  The scenery includes desert, lakes, forests, mountains and parks – all faithfully reproduced by the simulator.  Before you start you can tour your course of choice and see a simulated “bird’s eye view” of all 18 holes.  You can choose whether you want to play a full round, the front nine, the back nine, or one hole in particular.  You can also decide on the weather conditions:  sun, cloud cover, rain and wind. 

There are several game modes, including longest drive, nearest to pin and putting green contests.  Each player’s data (name, handicap, right- or left-hander, etc.) are stored in the database so that the information can be retrieved when they start a new game.  While you play you can see the details of each stroke as well as your current score.

The simulator costs a minimum of 20 euros for half an hour.  Novices and others who wish to hone their skills can also take part in shipboard golf clinics (individually or in pairs) led by a professional golf instructor.

The golf facilities on the Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa are managed by “Golf Community”, a partner company of Costa Cruises (www.golf-community.it).

Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa

The two Costa Cruises’ diamonds are the most exclusive and innovative members of the fleet, constituting the Italian company’s top of the range offer.  This is readily apparent in their cutting-edge design conceived by innovative architect and interior designer Joseph Farcus, and in the use of premium materials.  Costa Luminosa has 20 different types of marble, timbers, mother-of-pearl, granite, 120 “La Murrina” Murano glass chandeliers and LED lights.  On Costa Deliziosa, guests can admire various types of marble and granite, stucco applied by spatula using the technique known as “spatolato veneziano” and other decorative interior finishes including “parchment scroll” lamé, refined Zebrano wood and Wenge timber, Murano glass, stylish polished and glazed steel, and 970 La Murrina chandeliers.  In the stunning atrium, very much the focal point here as on all Costa ships, are fine works of art, notably the sculpture “Reclining Woman 2004” by Fernando Botero on the Costa Luminosa and “Sphere” by Arnaldo Pomodoro on the Costa Deliziosa.

Whether it is fun or relaxation, there are an incredibly large number of entertaining things to do on board the Costa Deliziosa and the Costa Luminosa, all involving the use of leading-edge technology:  4D cinema; roller skating track; the latest generation super-realistic golf simulator, with a real outside putting green; Grand Prix driving simulator, produced from an original GP car with the same software and technology used by the F1 champion drivers themselves in training; the exclusive 3,500 square metre “Samsara Spa” wellness centre with the Technogym Kinesis circuit, a world first; and “PlayStation World”, an area on board dedicated exclusively to PlayStation3, plus the “PlayStation on demand” cabin service.