Costa Cruises is introducing “slow cruising” on Costa neoRiviera and Costa neoRomantica, a new style of cruising with longer, leisurely itineraries and extended time in port. In addition to a more intimate and exclusive onboard atmosphere on its two smaller ships, Costa’s neoCollection focuses on local foods and wines, and custom-developed small-group immersive shore excursions.
Many neoCollection itineraries are exclusive to the line’s smaller “neo” ships that can sail to destinations inaccessible to larger vessels. Itineraries are designed with longer stopovers at each port — often overnight and part of the next day — to allow maximum time on shore.
As part of the immersive neoCollection experience, shore excursions for groups of 25 or fewer guests have been designed to highlight cultural and natural attractions in each destination. New menus developed in collaboration with Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenza, Italy, feature authentic cuisine that incorporates local food and wines.
The relatively small size of Costa neoRiviera (624 cabins) and Costa neoRomantica (789 cabins) makes them ideal for slow cruising because they can visit smaller ports, the shipboard ambience is warm and inviting, and the service is more refined and personalized.
From the time of booking to the actual “slow cruise” experience, quality and service are hallmarks of Costa neoCollection. Guests can consult a team of experts and personalize their cruise by booking shoreside tours that match their tastes and interests. Once onboard, a concierge assists guests in choosing from an array of shipboard and shoreside amenities, such as the newly introduced romantic candlelit gourmet “Dinner Under the Stars.”
The neoCollection itineraries
The Costa neoCollection kicks off with an extraordinary 62-day voyage sailing from Dubai Feb. 9, 2014. The “Grand Africa Tour” will visit the coastline of India, the islands of the Indian Ocean — the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and Reunion — then on to Madagascar, circumnavigating the African continent on a route taking in Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena, Senegal, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and Morocco, ending at Savona, Italy.
The voyage can be booked as a complete trip from Dubai to Savona or, for those with less time, divided into segments from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa, or Cape Town to Savona.
In spring/summer 2014 the Costa neoCollection will transform Mediterranean cruising when Costa neoRiviera sails a 12-day “Mediterranean Heart” slow-cruise vacation.
The “Mediterranean Heart” itinerary departs Savona April 11 and 22, May 3 and 25, Sept. 12 and Oct. 4. The cruises call at Toulon, France; Salerno and Livorno, Italy, a port ideally located for excursions to Pisa and Florence; Valletta, Malta; Porto Empedocle, Sicily, with unforgettable tours to the temples of the Valle dei Templi, and an overnight call at Barcelona, Spain. The May 3 departure also includes a visit to Genoa, Italy.
The “Mediterranean Spirit” itinerary from June 5 through Sept. 1 offers the epitome of a Mediterranean summer among the historically evocative islands of the region, as well as Italy’s Amalfi Coast. With Savona as homeport, Costa neoRiviera will call at Toulon; Propriano, Corsica; Olbia, Sardinia; Trapani, Sicily; Valletta; Capri and Salerno, Italy, and Portoferraio, Isle of Elba. The range of tours includes seaside trips to inimitable gems like Costa Smeralda, San Vito lo Capo, Positano, Amalfi, Portofino and the island of Favignana.
The Costa neoCollection also features one of the most popular itineraries for scenic cruising — northern Europe. Costa neoRomantica will offer 13- to 15-day summer cruises bound for Baltic cities and the majestic fjords of Norway.
On June 25 and Aug. 2 and 26, Costa neoRomantica sails from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on a 13-day “Northern Capitals” itinerary. After stopping at Bornholm, Denmark, Costa neoRomantica will call at Helsinki, Finland, and St. Petersburg, Russia, where guests will spend two days and one night exploring the historic imperial city. The ship then calls at Tallin, Estonia; Stockholm and Visby, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Guests who want to admire the midnight sun can choose the 13-day “Kingdom of Light” itinerary on Costa neoRomantica departing June 1 and 13, July 21 and Aug. 14. The ship visits destinations where fjords and waterfalls dominate the stunning landscape.
Costa neoRomantica departs Amsterdam bound for Hellesylt and Geiranger, Norway, en route to what many consider to be Norway’s most beautiful fjord. The next port is historic Trondheim, Norway, followed by the North Cape, continental Europe’s northernmost point, where from May through July the Land of the Midnight Sun offers its most romantic natural spectacle.
The cruise continues on to Tromso, Norway, the base for many polar expeditions. At the Lofoten Islands, amid peaks overlooking turquoise water and fishing villages, guests will experience the essence of natural Arctic splendor. The last calls are at Olden and Bergen, Norway, with its wooden houses and little shops.
Finally, Costa neoRomantica offers “Beyond North Cape,” an exclusive cruise departing Amsterdam July 7 on an extended panoramic voyage off the Norwegian coast, beyond the Arctic Circle to the Svalbard Islands.