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Costa Cruises: Costa Romantica

Costa Romantica Cruise Review

Introduced to the Costa fleet in 1993 as Costa Romantica, the ship underwent a $120-million transformation that resulted in her relaunch in 2012 as Costa neoRomantica. The renovation added a Samsara Spa, fitness center, Samsara Restaurant, à la carte restaurant, more suites, new categories of spa accommodations, and more staterooms and suites balconies. Cruises to the Western Mediterranean and Baltic are highlights of Costa neoRomantica’s European itineraries.

These two sister ships were designed to bring the Costa fleet up to speed with other cruise lines in the 1990s, and the effort paid off. Public areas clustered on upper decks are filled with marble and furnished with sleek, contemporary furnishings and modern Italian artworks. The effect is vibrant, chic, and surprisingly restful. Lounges and bars are sweeping and grand; however, the areas set aside for children are skimpy by today's family-friendly standards. The two ships diverged again after Costa Romantica's major transformation in 2012. Neither ship has a true promenade deck, but the Lido areas for sunning and swimming are expansive.

Midsize and intimate, each ship retains a like-new luster from regular refurbishments. Unfortunately, Costa Classica lacks the large number of balconies that have become as popular with Europeans as North Americans. Costa neoRomantica holds the edge here, with balconies added during her refurbishment.

Europe's number-one cruise line combines a Continental experience, enticing itineraries, and Italy's classical design and style with relaxing days and romantic nights at sea. Genoa-based Costa Crociere, parent company of Costa Cruise Lines, had been in the shipping business for more than 100 years and in the passenger business for almost 50 years when it was bought by Airtours and Carnival Corporation in 1997. In 2000 Carnival completed a buyout of the Costa line and began expanding the fleet with larger and more dynamic ships.

An ongoing shipbuilding program has brought Costa ships into the 21st century with innovative large-ship designs that reflect their Italian heritage and style without overlooking the amenities expected by modern cruisers. Acknowledging changing habits (even among Europeans), Costa Cruises has eliminated smoking entirely in dining rooms and show lounges. However, smokers are permitted to light up in designated areas in other public rooms, as well as on the pool deck.

What You Should Know


  • The layout of these midsized ships makes it easy to learn your way around
  • Duty-free shops have Italian designer goods as well as the usual logo stuff
  • The observatory has a 360-degree view by day and morphs into a disco at night


  • Outside cabins on the lowest passenger decks have large portholes instead of picture windows
  • There are no self-service passenger laundry rooms
  • With smoking areas in most lounges, the smell of cigarette smoke can be bothersome
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 590
  • Entered Service 1992
  • Gross Tons 53,000
  • Length 723 feet
  • Number of Cabins 654
  • Passenger Capacity 1,308
  • Width 102 feet

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