A Tale of Two Costas

Cruise editor Marilyn Green blogs from Italy as Costa Crociere establishes a Guinness World Record


Cruise Editor Marilyn Green with Italian pilots // (c) 2009

Cruise editor Marilyn Green, suffering to get the story, celebrates the launch of Costa Pacifica and Luminosa with pilots from the italian aerobatics team.

At midnight in Genoa on an unexpectedly chilly June evening beneath a full moon, Costa Crociere established a Guinness World Record by inaugurating two newbuilds from the same shipyard simultaneously.

The godmothers – Israeli vocalist and peace crusader Noa for Pacifica and Italian Olympian and world champion fencer Valentina Vezzali for Luminosa – cut the cords that released bottles of Aneri prosecco to crash against the hulls before a black tie audience who dropped the provided ponchos and shawls and celebrated well into the morning.

The Italian Air Force’s Frecce Tricolori aerobatics team flew over Costa’s two new ships // (c) 2009

The Italian Air Force’s Frecce Tricolori aerobatics team flew wingtip to wingtip over Costa’s two new ships, which established a Guinness World Record with the inauguration of two newbuilds from the same shipyard simultaneously.

Earlier in the day, after well-choreographed exchange visits to the two ships by passengers on each, agents, executives, press from North, Central and South America, Europe and Asia cheered wildly for the precision air show performed by the Italian Air Force’s Frecce Tricolori. The aerobatics team created intricate figures with their wingtips less than two meters apart and flew triumphantly overhead spraying huge streamers of the red, green and white of the Italian flag. And before the inaugural ceremonies, the black tie gathering enjoyed an Italian dinner supervised by Michelin-star chefs Pino Cuttaia and Ettore Bocchia, the latter also Costa’s corporate chef.

Costa Crociere chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi is flanked by the line’s two godmothers // (c) 2009

Costa Crociere chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi is flanked by the line’s two godmothers - Italian Olympian and world champion fencer Valentina Vezzali for Costa Luminosa (l) and Israeli vocalist and peace crusader Noa for Costa Pacifica (r) – at the inauguration of the two newbuilds in Genoa.

One of the distinguishing features of Costa’s inaugurals is the participation of the community, and Genoa, Costa’s corporate center, was more than a backdrop for the inaugural celebration. Both the ceremonies themselves and the cruise experience was enhanced by visits to visits along the coastline of Liguria and through Genoa, and the extraordinary food and wine of the region was a conspicuous player during the run up to the inaugural events.

The 3,008-passenger Pacifica is a gorgeous sister to Costa Concordia and Costa Serena, and carries on the successful features of the other two ships, including the Asian-inspired Samsara Spa complex that includes a private restaurant available for all meals, four swimming pools, two with retractable mnagrodomes and one with a giant movie screen and the Grand Prix racecar driving simulator (which I crashed in record time).

Agents tried out a new stateroom feature: Playstation 3 consoles, and there are PlayStation Nights at the giant movie screen. An astonishingly serious recording studio onboard allows guests to create a CD (not a karaoke session) with all the editing bells and whistles for just $35 with equipment that could make a frog sound like Maria Callas.

Pacifica initially offers sailing seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises out Civitavecchia, calling in Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Tunis, Malta and Palermo from $899.

Costa Luminosa, using the earlier design featured in ships including Costa Atlantica, has 1.130 staterooms, 52 of which are spa staterooms, and has a more conservative design and color palette than Pacifica. The very upscale Luminosa has two pools, one with retractable dome, and a huge bronze sculpture of a prone woman in the atrium by Fernando Botero. Her new innovations include a really impressive 4-D cinema and a roller skating track.

She spends the summer sailing longer cruises roundtrip from Amsterdam in Norway and the Baltic from $1,799 before moving to Middle Eastern cruises from Dubai from $899.

www.costacruise.com

 

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