CRUISE REVIEW + 37 PHOTOS: Costa Cruises Toscana showcases Italian style. Step on board Costa Cruises new 6,500-passenger Costa Toscana and you’ll instantly notice the Italian vibe – from features such as a Colosseum-style theatre, to bars with names like Ferrari and Campari.
Costa is an Italian cruise line owned by Carnival and has continued to grow international appeal for its ships that sail worldwide. On European voyages you’ll hear many different languages that add to the exciting immersion. This voyage from Italy to Spain and France.
Mario Zanetti, president of Costa says, “The exploration of Italy starts with being on the ship and the culinary experience. It is complemented by visiting handsome destinations with tours escorted by experts such as photographers of National Geographic.”
Some port stops are now 11 hours long for a deep dive and let clients know that if they want to explore on their own, Costa shuttles into town are about 10 Euro per person to make it really easy.
The line continues to interest North Americans for its large fleet, exceptional value and award-winning European itineraries. In some regions the line also offers a unique ferry-type schedule. You can choose which port to get on the ship.
Costa Cruises Toscana has 19 bars and lounges, 11 restaurants and eateries, four pools six hot tubs, theatres, waterslides, spa, children’s centres, arcade, casino, sports court and more to please families.
At 185,000 GTs, the LNG-powered ship has 2,663 staterooms across 13 categories, including new terrace suites that feature a sitting room between the bedroom and balcony.
There are no North American electrical outlets in the staterooms. You’ll need to bring your own electrical converters and plugs and the ship doesn’t supply or sell them (but you can buy them at ports). However, there are USB plugs and hairdryers in the desk.
There are plenty of shelves in closets, but only two drawers in a desk, so consider packing cubes to keep items organized on shelves. Also, some cabins don’t have bar fridges.
Two of the four pools have lovely waterfall walls on Costa Cruises Toscana. There’s also a mid-ship pool that’s flanked by stylish cabanas and although not an adults-only pool, it’s quieter. Another large pool is indoors, protected by a retractable dome and the space is air conditioned.
The Splash Aqua Park has spiral waterslides, one that’s four-storeys high, and spins you into a donut-like bowl. There are six hot tubs and infinity-style ones at the aft offer fabulous wake views.
The Volare Skywalk is a U-shaped ramp that takes you 20 decks high to a viewing platform. You can look down on the aquapark and sports court or enjoy panoramic views of the sea. There are also great views from the glass-floored Infinity Walk.
At the aft of Costa Cruises Toscana there’s an open-air, amphitheatre called Piazza del Campo with a giant TV and plenty of space for dance lessons and large parties. A variety of seating at this popular area ranges from benches and slingback chairs, to hanging wicker chairs and traditional loungers.
At the bow, you’ll find a quiet, shady area with loungers and hammocks, as well as a panoramic view.
The Poltrona Frau Arena is a traditional theatre that seats about 915 guests on two decks. The area also serves as a disco.
The Colosseo is a unique theatre because it’s open concept with stadium seating three decks deep. You can come and go as you please during the show and also find seats near a bar and eatery to enjoy while watching the performers.
Toscana really comes alive at night. There’s live entertainment almost everywhere in including musicians, singers, dancers and acrobats. Shows are designed to be internationally understood with less emphasis on language and more on world renown music such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. The White Party and karaoke are fan favourites.
BARS AND LOUNGES
With 19 bars and lounges, choose the right Drinks Package because it’s almost essential – especially if you drink a lot of tea, coffee, pop, juice and water. These offerings are far more limited, and rarely complimentary, as on ships for the North American market.
There are also several themed bars due to partnerships such as the Caffee Vergnano, Campari bar, Heineken Star Club and Bistro, Ferrari wine bar, Kartell Café and Aperol Spirits bar.
The meal options at the buffet are adequate, but not extensive, and there’s an emphasis on pasta dishes. Many guests go to their assigned main dining room instead. The food has improved considerably from years ago, however portion sizes remain relatively small, so simply order more. Costa, like several cruise lines, are trying to reduce food waste.
Dining times vary by ship and itinerary and on European voyages are generally later at 7:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. to allow for longer port stays.
Specialty fee-based restaurants include Archipelago that provides a unique culinary experience with three set menus of five courses each, with wine pairings. They are created by Michelin-starred chefs Bruno Barbieri, Ángel León and Hélène Darroze. Portion sizes are small but offerings are tasty and the launch sets the tone for how much food has improved on board.
Sushi at Costa is dedicated to Japanese cuisine and offers excellent sushi and sashimi all day. Teppanyaki serves Japanese fish, meat and vegetable dishes.
Fabulous pizza is offered at the Pizzeria Pummid’Oro and Gelateria Amarillo has Italian ice cream.
To eat outdoors there’s Kiki Poke, inspired by traditional Hawaiian cuisine; the Green Healthy Food for wraps; Salty Beach street food for fabulous burgers and the Nutella eatery satisfies a sweet tooth.
Families will enjoy the Squok Restaurant and Lab Restaurant where guests can learn to cook.
Also consider joining the free Costa C Club discount program as savings can be as much as 50 per cent on products and services and include other perks such as laundry service.
Costa’s customer service has greatly improved over the years and crew are more attentive than ever (all speak English).
The Italian-style cruising has a relaxed pace during the day but revs up by evening – which might suit you well if you’re jet-lagged and wide awake at midnight anyway.
THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN PAX NEWS.