The little girl walking in front of me stopped in her tracks. “Fun beautiful,” she said, describing the new Costa Toscana we were boarding. Looking around, she repeated her statement, “Fun beautiful.”
From the mouths of babes. The Costa Toscana is definitely both beautiful and fun. Just being surrounded by the sunny décor sets a happy stage for a wonderful cruise. The colors and bright Italian décor are not too much as to overwhelm the senses. The décor lets passengers know this is a vessel that values comfort, adventure and national heritage with a welcome invitation to relax and enjoy.
Aboard the Costa Toscana for a week, I’m here to witness the ship’s christening. Although the Toscana started cruising in March, she was not to be christened until June upon her arrival in Barcelona.
For our cruise, we boarded in Civitavecchia, the port of entry for Rome. Our itinerary includes stops in Naples, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Valencia, Spain; Marseille, France; Savona, Italy; and back to Civitavecchia in Rome.
Boarding was a very easy process since I had already done most of it online and had my boarding pass and other important documents in hand. Plus, many European cruise lines handle their boarding destinations differently using what is called a “ferry schedule.” That means passengers can book round-trip passage from several ports the ship will be visiting instead of everyone embarking and disembarking in the same place.
Although I am boarding in Rome and will disembark in Rome at the end of the week, other passengers will be boarding and disembarking in other stops. So there is no mass entrance or exit of passengers on one specific day. Certainly cuts down on the necessary processes to get on and off a ship.
I simply walked on Toscana in the morning and headed to my cabin which was ready for me shortly after 9:30 a.m. That’s quite a change from many cruise lines where passengers cannot board early or get into their cabins before the afternoon.
In fact, when I stopped by the reception desk to get some data from agent Celena, she informed me that the number of passengers would increase greatly at our next stop in Naples and even more in Barcelona.
On my first day aboard the ship, the 5,224-passenger Costa Toscana had 3,157 passengers. Most the passengers – 1,430 – were from Italy, followed by 577 Spain, 280 France, 160 Germany, 53 America and more from elsewhere.
Tuscany Celebrated Decor
Announcements aboard the ship are made in several different languages. But the main emphasis on Toscana is celebrating the culture and cuisine of Italy. The ship’s name, as well as the furnishings, lighting, fabrics and other designs are a tribute to Tuscany.
“The subject here was Italy,” said ship designer Adam D. Tihany. “It is a product of love.”
His goal, Tihany said, was to bring the Italian region to life aboard the ship at sea. In my opinion, he succeeded.
“I am of course very proud to see such a beautiful ship fully and truly Italian,” Riccardo Guariglia, ambassador of Italy to Spain, said at the christening.
The heart of the ship is a huge atrium called the Colosseo, so named in honor of the Colosseum in Rome. The Colosseum is the largest ancient amphitheater ever built and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today.
The Toscana Colosseo soars from Deck 6 to Deck 7 and Deck 8, offering stadium seating, wraparound screens, rising performance floor and beautiful changing scenes around and overhead. In the evening, the Colosseo offers a wide range of entertainment from singers, dancers, musicians, acrobats, aerialists, electric violinists, “The Voice of the Sea” contest and such specials as a salute to Queen’s Freddie Mercury.
As if that weren’t enough, Toscana has a theatre with live shows. Other musical performances are offered around the ship, such as the Heineken Star Club & Bistro. In fact, there is so much entertainment going on every night that I doubt if I can see it all.
For accommodations, the ship boasts 2,663 staterooms of which 1,550 have balconies. A wealth of dining options includes 21 restaurants and dining spots as well as 18 bars. Three specialty restaurants are Pizzeria Pummid’oro for Italian-style cuisine, Teppanyaki with Japanese food and Laboratoria Del Gusto where passengers can create their own food. The Squok restaurant is dedicated to families with children.
The Toscana wellness complex includes a large fitness center and the Samsara Spa with its beauty salon, thassotherapy pool, sauna, salt room, snow room, relaxation room, Turkish bath and treatment rooms for massages.
The cruise liner has a multitude of swimming pools – a central/glass roof inside pool, an outside pool with a swimming lane, two kids’ pools and nine large outdoor hot tubs. Younger children can play at Luna Park as well as Aqua Park. Then there’s a teens-only interactive game room.
For thrills and fun photo opportunities, a glass-bottomed Skyway zooms 213 feet above sea level. An outdoor playground is for playing basketball and volleyball. A two-deck high Galleria Shops features boutique stores selling designer clothing, jewelry, sunglasses, perfumes, handbags, hats, souvenirs and more.
As for the christening, it was truly an extravaganza. Held in the lovely Colosseo, cruise officials celebrated the memorable occasion hosted by two stars of Spanish television – Carlos Sobera and Flora Gonzalez.
“It’s a great thrill to celebrate the christening of our Costa Toscana in Barcelona, a city to which we are particularly attached and where we have been at home since the beginning of our history,” said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Cruises.
Founded in 1854 as a cargo shipping company, Costa started passenger services in 1947 with regular Transatlantic crossings between Italy and South America. In 2000, Costa Cruises was acquired by Carnival Corporation. The Genoa-headquartered Costa Cruises is Europe’s second-largest cruise line after MSC.
Despite all our guesses, none of us was correct in the identity of the ship’s godmother. To great applause, new godmother Chanel was brought on the stage. The young singer, actress and dancer gained popularity in Spain and across Europe after her performance at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.
Chanel joined ship Captain Pietro Sinisi for the ceremony where a bottle of Italian sparkling wine was broken on the ship’s hull in the time-honored maritime tradition. Seated in the Colosseo, we saw the live wine breaking televised on the huge atrium screen.
To close the ceremony, Italian violinist Andrea Casta performed with his electric violin and unique luminous bow. In upcoming posts, I’ll share more about what I discover on this sensational new cruise ship. Hope you’ll come along for the journey.
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
- Officials prepare to christen Costa Toscana.
- Entertainer Chanel was chosen as godmother for Costa Toscana.
- Designer Adam D. Tihany said the “floating smart city” was a labor of love.
- Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Cruises, notes that Barcelona has been Costa home ‘since the beginning of our history.’
- Ship Captain Pietro Sinisi celebrates the christening.