My first thought was that the attendant had forgotten to wipe the steam and cleanser off the shower in my Costa Toscana stateroom. Then I looked closer.
It wasn’t steam or cleanser that was fogging part of the glass door between the shower and the cabin bedroom. It was frosted glass designed to conceal the torso of the person in the shower.
The purpose, I guess, is to allow bathers to still get a wonderful ocean view while showering. Sounds good to me.
However, in case that is not desirable for either the person in the shower or the person in the bedroom, the shower also has an outside curtain that can be drawn to close off the shower view from the bedroom. Since I’m traveling alone, I’ll be leaving that curtain open to see the seascape passing by outside.
It did cross my mind, however, that some shower users might prefer to have that curtain accessible inside the shower instead of outside it so the person in the shower could control who sees the shower activity.
As for the glass-enclosed shower, it is really quite large for a cruise ship. Water pressure is excellent and hot water gushes strong at the turn of a handle. The bathroom and the cabin both have plenty of storage space.
As usual, the cabin entryway has an indoor slot where my cardkey goes to turn on the electricity. Some cruise lines do that. Some don’t. Doesn’t bother me one way or the other. It is handy to pick up my room key out of the slot when leaving the cabin.
The stateroom also has plenty of electric outlets. Very important. But passengers need to bring a European converter if they plan to plug in anything that isn’t compatible with a European outlet. Most American cruise ships offer both regular and European outlets but the Costa Toscana is truly Italian.
The bed is quite comfy with a nice white coverlet and big pillows. Then there’s the balcony. It has two chairs and a table and is huge, far larger than balconies usually found on staterooms such as mine.
Those are the visible pluses that I noticed right away on entering my stateroom. But the Costa Toscana also boasts some of the best new technology for helping preserve passenger safety and protecting our planet.
At the ship’s christening ceremony, Costa Cruises President Mario Zanetti described some of the technology used to make Costa Toscana “a traveling smart city.” Some of the biggies are cutting-edge technological innovations that I wouldn’t have noticed as a passenger.
The biggest is that Costa Toscana uses liquefied natural gas so the emission of sulfur oxides and particulates into the atmosphere is almost completely eliminated (95 to 100 percent reduction,) while also significantly lowering emissions of nitrogen oxide (direct reduction of 85 percent) and carbon dioxide (up to 20 percent).
The Costa group, which includes the Italian brand Costa Cruises and the German brand AIDA Cruises, was the first in the cruise industry to use LNG and currently counts four ships powered by this technology – AIDAnova, Costa Smeralda, Costa Toscana and AIDA Cosma.
All daily freshwater needs on Costa Toscana are met by transforming seawater through the use of desalinators. Energy consumption is minimized through an intelligent energy efficiency system. And 100 percent of separated collection and recycling of materials such as plastic, paper, glass and aluminum is carried out on board.
As Mario Zanetti noted, according to recent market research, nearly 14 million Europeans are dreaming of taking a cruise in the next 12 months, and cruises are among the trips with the highest potential to meet the needs of destinational exploration.
“We must take advantage of this upswing to promote a more sustainable tourism that respects the environment and values local communities,” Zanetti said.
“Our commitment is expressed not only through technologically advanced ships such as the LNG-powered Costa Toscana, but also by supporting innovative projects whose scope goes beyond the tourism sector.”
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
- My shipboard home for the week. (Cover photo)
- The frosted glass shower can have the curtain open or closed.
- The shower curtain closed.
- Elevator lobbies have a colorful décor.
- The ship features several pools and hot tubs.
Health & Safety Precautions Abound
Although I wouldn’t have known about the LNG used by Costa Toscana if I weren’t told, there are other tech touches around the ship that I quickly noticed. For instance, when using one of Costa Toscana’s public restrooms – which are big with colorful Italian touches – just wave your hand in front of a hand-adorned button. The door automatically opens.
I much prefer that to the second-best tech I’ve seen to enter a public restroom on other ships – push a small button outside the entrance or exit door. The Costa Toscana tech involves no touching at all.
At the entrance to the ship’s La Sagra Dei Sapori buffet restaurant on Deck 8 is a strange hand-washing machine. It looks like a sink with two open cylinders. Just stick your hands in the cylinders and your hands are automatically washed and sanitized. Dry your hands on nearby paper towels.
Again, no touching to turn on and off a water spigot to wash your hands. Plus hand sanitizers are everywhere around the ship and I’ve seen crew members constantly cleaning stair rails, elevator surfaces and other high-contact areas around the Costa Toscana.
Self-serve machines are available around the ship to test your body temperature, again without touching. Just stand in the right position indicated for the red-lighted temperature gauge to line up on your forehead. Place your keycard on the machine reader, wait for the green light and check your temperature. A fever is one of the common symptoms of COVID.
In the ship buffet, passengers don’t fill their own water glasses or coffee cups. Crew members do that. So intent is Costa Toscana on not sharing germs that salt and pepper shakers are not on buffet dining tables. Instead, a crew member wearing plastic gloves will add salt and pepper to your food or put salt and pepper in tiny bowls for you to take to your table and add to your taste.
Another major tech change that I’ve been seeing on cruise ships is the use of online menus instead of paper menus for ship restaurants and bars. Again, no touching and handling by many people needed to see the menu. Just hold your cellphone camera up to the menu code placed on restaurant tables and bars behind little plastic stands.
Then you can read the menu on your cellphone. When that tech was first being used, I would sometimes see cruise passengers ask if they could please see a paper menu because they didn’t have their phones with them. Now, I think, cruisers have become accustomed to this new policy and understand how good it is so I haven’t seen anyone not being able to use it on our cruise.
To make the cellphone menu even easier to access, Costa Toscana offers free Wi-Fi connection to use the codes. The free Wi-Fi only works for shipboard tech so if you want real Wi-Fi, you still have to pay for it.
In another post, I’m going to share some news about “The Food of the Future” that Mario Zanetti said Costa Cruises and famous Spanish chef Angel Leon are working on creating. The project involves the development of “marine grain” which is said to be a “superfood.”
And I’m going to taste it! Will let you know how that goes.
Many thanks to Costa Cruises for inviting All Things Cruise editor-at-large to the Costa Toscana christening that I got to take part in on her behalf and on behalf of All Things Cruise.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
- Hand washing stations at the ship’s buffet.
- Wave your hand over the no-touch button to enter or exit a public restroom.
- Menu codes for cellphones are used instead of paper menus.
- Self-serve stations are available to test your body temperature.