On board Costa Deliziosa en route to Naples, Italy.
After 24 hours on Costa’s brand new Deliziosa, two things become apparent:
- Deliziosa feels like a Carnival Corporation ship, which, of course, it is. Those who have cruised Carnival Corp.’s other brands, particularly Carnival Cruise Lines or Princess Cruises, will feel at home on Deliziosa.
- There are about 1,000 people, or a little more than half of the population on this preview cruise, who look as though they’ve just stepped off a Milanese catwalk and onto the ship — and perhaps they have.
That’s because Deliziosa (is it just me or does the name sound like a cocktail or an entree at Olive Garden?) is an Italian ship through and through. On board, it’s not unusual to see people wearing sunglasses, indoors and in winter, mind you; or skirts so short, and with so little material, that it makes one wonder if the seamstress was fired before finishing her job.
There is a style and finesse that is indisputably Italian and all the things that Italy represents to the rest of the world, concisely characterized perhaps in the phrase, la dolce vita. With some imagination, Deliziosa, in fact, could well be just another small town in Italy.
“With Costa, there is a natural continuity between being on the water and being on land,” says Costa President and CEO Maurice Zarmati, explaining that Costa’s on board experience is similar to the experience guests might have if they were touring Italy.
Yes, there is the pizza and the pasta, the busy coffee shop, an appropriately ornate chapel, and the language. Filipino crew members greet guests with Bon Giorno! Presented in six languages, the muster drill is agonizingly long but handy if you’re attempting to master various European languages.
Customer service staff wear pins with flags depicting the languages they speak. I saw no one behind the desk with fewer than five flags, and one staff member proudly waved six from his lapel.
For the North American market, Costa may just be the least appreciated cruise line sailing Europe. We North Americans simply don’t think of Costa. The concept of “Cruising, Italian Style” never quite caught on, despite years of marketing to us. Does Costa deserve a second look for Americans considering cruising in Europe?
In answer to that, Zarmati asks rhetorically, “Is it better to sell an American on an American ship to a European destination, or could it be more attractive to sell an American on a European ship to a European destination?” Obviously, he believes Americans are better served by fully immersing themselves in European culture by cruising on a ship where they don’t represent the majority. Pack your sunglasses and short skirts and explore Europe the European way.
Now, it’s your turn to join the conversation. What do you think?