Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s number one cruise line, has released advance copies of its 2011 brochure, which will be distributed to 80,000 travel agencies worldwide. The publication of the brochure, almost a year ahead of the cruise departure dates, enables all Costa’s customers to take full advantage of “ProntoPrice”, the Company’s landmark pricing policy with greatly discounted rates exclusively available to early bookers.
Costa Cruises’ staggering range of holiday options in 2011 includes more than 250 destinations and more than 130 different itineraries. In keeping with its tradition of pioneering strategy, the Italian company has come up trumps yet again, offering its customers an array of innovative cruise routes next year – routes that are exclusive to Costa and a first for the global cruise industry as a whole:
1. “Round-the-world” cruise: 100 nights in the wake of famous navigators
Costa Deliziosa, the latest jewel of the fleet delivered by Fincantieri on 29 January this year, will be the first Costa liner to offer once again the historic “round-the-world” cruises, for so long a highlight of the Italian company’s operations spanning more than sixty years. On 28 December 2011, Costa Deliziosa will depart from Savona on a 100-night world voyage. The cruise can also be broken down into three stand-alone segments: from Savona to Los Angeles via the Caribbean and the Panama Canal; from Los Angeles to Singapore with stopovers in Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia; and from Singapore to Savona via Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, the Red Sea and Egypt. This splendid, 100-night trip of a lifetime costs from just £9,989.
2. Red Sea
During the winter 2010/2011 season, two ships – the Costa Allegra and Costa Marina – will be offering seven-night cruises in the Red Sea. Both ships will depart from Sharm El Sheikh – Costa Allegra every Monday and Costa Marina every Thursday. The itinerary includes three days in Sharm El Sheikh and one-day calls at Adabiyah (Egypt), Safaga (Egypt), Aqaba (Jordan) and Eilhat (Israel) before returning to Sharm El Sheikh. This offers a wonderful chance to enjoy a holiday in a unique setting amidst desert and crystal clear sea, entertainment and culture.
3. Costa Favolosa, the “fairytale castle”
Costa Favolosa (114,500 gross tonnage and 3780 total guests), which is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard, is the first of two sister ships due for delivery by 2012. The second, the Costa Fascinosa, will join the fleet in spring 2012. Favola is Italian for “fairy tale” and the Costa Favolosa will indeed be a contemporary “fairy tale castle” in the sea – a perfect combination of magical atmosphere and state-of-the-art, hi-tech fun. The main innovations on board include six new veranda suites with their own jacuzzis and a new entertainment area called Club Cavallo Bianco. This will comprise of a 4D Cinema, PlayStation World, a bar, children’s dance floor, games room and a new aqua park water playground for little ones, complete with its own galleon. Costa Favolosa will leave from Venice on her maiden cruise on 7 July 2011 – a ten-night voyage of discovery to Israel, Greece and Turkey, with stopovers at Bari, Corfu (Greece), Haifa (Israel), Izmir (Turkey) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Costa Favolosa will be operating on seven-night cruises from Venice and Bari to Turkey, Greece and Croatia throughout the summer season in 2011.
4. New Mediterranean destinations: Valencia with excursions to Madrid, seven-night winter holidays
Costa Cruises is also introducing new options in the Mediterranean, in both winter and summer. The main news for the summer season is the addition of Valencia to the seven-night itinerary on Costa Magica, with the chance to visit Madrid thanks to the high speed train linking the two Spanish cities. For the first time, Costa Magica will also be offering seven-night winter cruises calling at Savona, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Tunis, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Marseilles.
5. Continental cruising with a difference
Two ships will offer 11-night cruises taking in three continents without leaving the Mediterranean – Costa Mediterranea in the summer and Costa Pacifica in the winter. They will stop at Italy and Greece (Europe), Turkey and Israel (Asia), and Egypt (Africa), which all provide ports of call on a historic route following in the footsteps of St. Paul. For those who want a longer holiday, the Costa Fortuna will depart from Santos (Brazil) on a 20-night transatlantic cruise to Venice, on 18 March 2011.
6. The Far East
In March – April 2011, Costa Classica will be offering a new 14-night itinerary, which can be enjoyed as a whole or broken down into two seven-night segments, in both cases departing from Singapore. The route takes in the highlights of Malaysia and Thailand.
Also confirmed for the second consecutive year is the exceptional cruise in Greenland, which will occur in summer 2011 when the Costa Deliziosa sets sail from Amsterdam.
The innovations in Costa Cruises’ 2011 brochure don’t stop with the new routes and ships but also include the range of services and products available on board, including new excursion packages and new Samsara Dream wellness packages. The former, available on a vast range of seven-night Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises, comprise the top three excursions on each itinerary at a special discount price, thus enabling you to make the most of the cruise experience both on board and ashore. The new Samsara Dream package means even passengers not staying in a Samsara cabin will be able to enjoy a full spa experience in the exclusive wellness areas on Costa’s ships. This includes a tea ceremony, two fitness lessons, two admissions to the solarium and access to the Samsara Restaurant. To make the 2011 cruise experience even more memorable, there will be new exclusive Costa products for purchase in the shipboard boutiques: fashion wear, designer gift items and accessories.
The 2011 cruise itineraries include the increasingly popular eco-tourism excursions. These comprise of visits to parks, oases and nature reserves with programs that minimize the impact on the ecosystem and create economic opportunities for the local communities, as well as “made to measure” food & wine excursions organised in restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide.
Once guests have purchased a Costa cruise, they can personalise it before departure, according to their preferences. This is done by booking any of a vast array of services at www.costacruises.co.uk, including excursions; wellness treatment packages; dinner at the Club Restaurant; champagne and spumante to celebrate that special occasion; packages offering a choice of the finest wines; “welcome to your cabin” packages; birthday/anniversary celebration packages; floral arrangements; Costa gift items and “PlayStation on demand” cabin service on the Costa Deliziosa, Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica.