Friday, November 1, 2013

Costa neoCollection by Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises has announced the beginning of a new style of cruising on board its ships with the advent of the Costa neoCollection. The new “slow cruise” collection is exclusive to the Italian Company, which has always been an industry pioneer, having in the past introduced innovative ideas like fly+cruise packages, the
“Around-the-World” voyage and grand cruises, mini-cruises and Mediterranean winter cruise vacations.

The Costa neoCollection is an invitation to make the most of every minute, enjoy the holiday in a more leisurely way and linger longer. This is basically a brand new type of cruise experience tailored to suit individual taste and let each person go at their own pace, both on board and ashore, making it ideal for couples and groups of friends.

The cruise routes are exclusive, on board smaller cruise ships sailing to new destinations, off the beaten path and inaccessible to bigger ships. The itineraries are designed with longer stopovers in each port, often overnight and part of the next day so as to allow you maximum time on shore and the chance to explore in depth each place en route. There is attention to detail on board combined with the discovery of cultural heritage and scenic nature ashore. Cruising is not one size fits all – hence Costa’s range of made-to-measure options, notably a series of specially devised shoreside excursions for small groups, and fine food & wine products based on the authentic taste sensations of the places visited, thanks to the new, important collaboration between the Italian company and the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo.

The Costa neoCollection debuts on February 9, 2014, from Dubai, with a special cruise on the Costa
neoRiviera, the latest addition to the Costa Cruises fleet; this is a one-off 62-day voyage of discovery, the “Grand African Tour”: a totally innovative circumnavigation of the great continent offering a unique opportunity to combine the sea and the most beautiful Indian Ocean beaches with all the adventure of a safari in South Africa. The Costa neoRiviera will also add a new dimension to cruising in spring and summer, sailing on 12-day itineraries to the most attractive destinations in the Mediterranean, away from the bustle of mass tourism. Starting June 1, 2014, and throughout the summer, the neoCollection style will also be featuring on the Costa neoRomantica, with 13 and 15-day premium cruises in Northern Europe, beyond the North Cape or to the finest Baltic cities.

The Costa neoRiviera (624 cabins) and the Costa neoRomantica (789 cabins) are welcoming and relaxing ships; their relatively small size makes them ideal for slow cruising and means they can sail to smaller ports that are gateways to great get-away-from-it-all destinations like the Amalfi Coast, Corsica and the west coast of Sicily. The shipboard ambience is warm and cozy as is the interior design while the service is even more refined and personalized; the unhurried pace of the cruise gives you more time to mingle and share experiences with your fellow Guests.

Costa neoRomantica
Costa neoRomantica

The quality that is the hallmark of the Costa neoCollection is present throughout: from the time of booking to the actual slow cruise experience itself. Before leaving, Guests can consult a team of experts and personalize their itinerary by booking the shoreside tours that best match their tastes and interests. Once Guests are on board, a Concierge assists them in the choice of custommade solutions embracing not only excursions but also a vast array of shipboard and shoreside amenities, such as the newly introduced “Dinner under the stars”, a romantic candlelit soirée with a gourmet menu under the canopy of starry skies.

The choice of food & wine is simply staggering: whether you are ashore or on board, Costa’s common denominator is the determination to preserve and highlight local gastronomic traditions based on wholesome ingredients available in the various ports of call. The menus on board comprise regional recipes designed to foster the great local culinary and cultural traditions, with the assistance of the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo. These gourmet menus come with a list of hand-picked wines, which can be sampled by the glass. In keeping with the leisurely pace of the neoCollection cruises, you can dine at any time between 6.30 and 10.30 pm without having to choose a particular sitting.

The slow food approach continues ashore, where you can go on food & wine excursions with tasting of local products. Indeed, the Costa neoCollection shoreside tours are specially designed, original, exciting and planned down to the last detail to let you lap up the culture, scenery and flavors of each place along the route. So as to enhance the independent tourist feel, each excursion is arranged in small groups of not more than 25 people.

Costa Cruises neoCollection itineraries
The Costa neoCollection kicks off in style with an extraordinary 62-day voyage sailing from Dubai on February 9, 2014, destination Mother Africa. The “Grand African Tour” on the Costa neoRiviera will be an exclusive one-off experience and a chance to discover the superb coastline of India, the paradise islands of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles, the 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 Canaries and Morocco. Two months amidst the unforgettable Indian Ocean beaches, wildlife safaris in South Africa and huge sand dunes with a sheer drop to the sea below. Highlights include the discovery of the “world apart” in Madagascar and Maputo, “the City of Acacias”, with the Iron House and train station both designed by Gustave Eiffel. Then of course there are the metropolises like Mumbai, Cape Town and Dakar, where you can appreciate authentic hands-on experience of everyday life in these cities. Last but not least, iconic and exotic Casablanca is the final stop before you head “out of Africa” and back to Europe.

This voyage can be purchased as a whole trip from Dubai to Savona or, for those with less time to spend, divided into separate segments from Dubai to Cape Town or Cape Town to Savona. In spring/summer 2014 the Costa neoCollection will also be changing the way Mediterranean cruising is experienced. The Costa neoRiviera will be operating on two 12-day vacations that are the quintessence of slow cruising, featuring destinations that are off the beaten track and enabling Guests to experience authentic Mediterranean travel.

On the “Mediterranean Heart” itinerary on the Costa neoRiviera, departing Savona from April 11 through May 25, 2014 and then resuming from September 12 through October 4, 2014, Guests can visit Provence,
including the pearls St. Tropez and Cannes, thanks to the stopover in Toulon. The overnight stay in Barcelona means you can soak up the Catalan city’s pulsating nightlife. Porto Empedocle (Sicily) is the gateway for unforgettable tours to the celebrated temples in the Valle dei Templi, the archeological sites of Segesta and Selinunte, Erice, San Vito Lo Capo and Modica. The next stop is Malta. Following this, a whole day right up until two o’clock in the morning is set aside for visiting the famed Amalfi Coast. Finally, Livorno is ideally placed for excursions to staggeringly beautiful cities that need no introduction, namely Pisa and Florence, birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

The 13-day “Mediterranean Spirit” itinerary, also provided by the Costa neoRiviera, will operate from June 5 through September 1, 2014, giving Guests the epitome of a Mediterranean summer taking in the loveliest
and most historically evocative islands in Mare Nostrum – Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Capri, Malta and the Isle of Elba – as well as the Amalfi Coast and the Côte d’Azur. With Savona as her homeport, the Costa neoRiviera will head for Toulon (France), Propriano (Corsica), Olbia (Sardinia), Trapani (Sicily), Malta, Capri, Salerno and Portoferraio (Isle of Elba). The range of tours on offer on this cruise is quite extraordinary and includes seaside trips to inimitable gems like the Costa Smeralda, San Vito lo Capo, Positano, Amalfi, Portofino and the island of Favignana.

Contributing to the allure of the Costa neoCollection is one of the summer favorites with lovers of spectacular scenery: Northern Europe. The Costa neoRomantica, Costa Cruises’ luxury ship, will be offering 13 to 15-day summer cruises bound for the Baltic cities and the fjords, beyond the North Cape and towards the icy wastelands of the Arctic Ocean.

On June 25 and August 2 and 26, 2014, the Costa neoRomantica is scheduled to sail from Amsterdam on the 13-day “Northern Capitals” itinerary. After stopping at Bornholm (Denmark), the Costa neoRomantica
will call at “green” Helsinki (Finland) and the splendid, imperial St. Petersburg (Russia), where she will spend 2 days and one night. Next, Costa’s most elegant fleet member will head for quaint Tallin (Estonia),
Stockholm (Sweden) – where a visit to the old town with its medieval buildings and cobbled alleys is a must – and Visby (Sweden). The last port call is Copenhagen (Denmark), oozing history and tradition, with ancient buildings sitting alongside modern architecture and interior design shops.

Anyone who wants to admire the midnight sun at the northernmost tip of Norway can choose the 13-day “The Kingdom of Light” itinerary, which will depart on the Costa neoRomantica on June 1 and 13, July 21 and August 14, 2014. This is a unique opportunity to visit unforgettable, inimitable destinations where fjords, waterfalls and thick vegetation are the dominant natural features of the stunning landscape. The Costa
neoRomantica will leave Amsterdam bound for surprising Norway with a stopover in Hellesylt, and from there to Geiranger en route to what many consider to be Norway’s most beautiful fjord. The next port of call is the historic city of Trondheim 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 then moveson to Tromso, the famous base for many polar expeditions, surrounded by woods, fruit trees and flowers. At the Lofoten Islands, amidst peaks overlooking turquoise water and fishing villages, you can unearth the real essence of natural Arctic splendor. The last calls are at Olden and Bergen, with its typical local wooden houses, former warehouses and little shops.

Lastly, for anyone wishing to experience their shortest ever night and discover the icy kingdom, the Costa neoRomantica is offering “Beyond North Cape”, an exclusive one-off cruise departing from Amsterdam on
July 7, 2014. This is an extended panoramic voyage off the Norwegian coast, beyond the Arctic Circle, to the Svalbard Islands.

The Costa neoCollection Cruise Ships
The Costa neoRiviera (48,200 gross tonnage and 624 cabins) with her cozy, comfortable, intimate spaces is a ship that reminds you of a large sailing yacht. She is the expression of the new way of interpreting the cruise experience. With her 624 staterooms including 94 suites, 4 panoramic suites and 6 grand suites – all fitted with private verandas – the Costa neoRiviera exudes a charming atmosphere reminiscent of the Italian and French Rivieras. The ship has three restaurants (including one buffet), six bars, two shopping arcades, three swimming pools, including one for children, jacuzzis, a beauty & wellness center with thalassotherapy, hydrotherapy and massages, fitness center, show lounge and disco.

The Costa neoRomantica (56,000 gross tonnage and 789 cabins) is the “jewel” in the Costa crown. The ship is modern, stylish and exclusive with a dazzling array of amenities: from the opulent Samsara Spa – wellness area in a uniquely invigorating atmosphere – to the four restaurants and the Wine & Cheese bar. Lovers of traditional Italian cuisine will enjoy the Costa neoRomantica’s pizzeria equipped with a genuine wood burning brick oven. Light and airy, the substantial use on board of glass and wood paneling is one of the distinguishing features of the ship’s interior decoration. The different public areas blend into one another in an intriguing interplay of sleek lines and transparency, leaving even more space for the real star of the show on any cruise: the sea.

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