It’s Pizza Time at Costa Cruises!
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Pummid’oro Costa Cruises

In October, Costa Crociere S.p.A (better known as Costa Cruises) trademarked the name ‘Pummid’oro’ with no advanced explanation. Now the reason in doing so has been revealed as a gastronomic innovation.

A three-year cooperation project of sustainable food onboard the fleet has been arranged between the company and the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) located in Pollenzo, Italy.

The project entails researching the flavours and tastes of good food that has respect for both the environment and reducing waste. Costa and UNISG will reassess their food preparation technique and provide guests with a healthy balanced diet onboard.

Special training will be provided for all Costa personnel including some processes of preparation of food onboard and the selection of products and suppliers based on sustainability criteria. There will be outreach activities and information for all guests to make them more aware of the importance and value of food.

Previously, Costa made headlines that it was returning to its roots of ‘Cruising Italian-Style’. Now they are taking that one step further by having their delicious traditional Italian and Mediterranean cuisines fall under this project.

Costa’s president Neil Palomba was optimistic about the project, stating that “Food and nutrition are main issues in people’s lives and basic factors in choosing a cruise”.

The process of collaboration has already been undertaken and the cruise company’s first move is to create pizzas made exclusively with natural yeast. They will be available on most Costa ships by the New Year, with the Costa Diadema, flagship of the fleet, being the first just 3 days ago.

La Piazza on Costa Diadema

To offer passengers this culinary improvement the company is beginning with the brand new Pummid’oro pizzaria, which will characterise the pizzerias onboard system wide. The dough that is made with 100% natural yeast is natural, more digestible and higher in nutritional value.

Flour is another basic ingredient in pizza. The suppliers will be selected by UNISG and promise to be the best of the best in quality. The Neapolitan standard of flour is Molino Casillo and is produced in Corato – Puglia. Passengers will have the choice of dough made out of this traditional flour or the Molino Casillo type. The latter contains whole wheat and fibre-enriched oat flours. It is also enriched in omega 3 and polyphenols.

Finally the Pummid’Oro pizzas will be seasoned with plump and fresh San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil and mozzarella from sourced Italian suppliers which will ensure a top quality product, prepared according to traditional recipes. You will never look at a slice of pizza being ‘junk food’ again onboard a Costa ship.

Additional work is being implemented throughout Costa’s fleet which will inform the public about healthy eating with specific changes taking place in the fleet’s buffets and other restaurants.

The Mediterranean cuisine will be fused with some unique alternatives to create menus that are sure to impress even the most fussy diner!

After 67 years, Costa is finding out that the traditions of the past are what make them so successful.

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Costa’s Italian Style Cruising to make a Comeback!
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Costa Cruises Deck

Costa Cruises made headlines in the cruising industry recently with their announcement that everything old can be ‘new’ again.

According to Neil Palomba, President of Costa Crociere, the cruise line is going to go under an extensive rebranding to give it more of a connection to its Italian heritage.

The ‘Cruising Italian Style’ is coming back gradually to Costa after a long absence and much to the delight of previous passengers. “We are passionate and joyful in everything we do,” he added. “We want to create amazing experiences for our guests and we are proud to be Italian.”

Cruising Italian Style was a symbolic catch-phrase that set Costa Cruises apart from the rest. Costa has been around since 1860 but entered the passenger ship service in 1948. Competition was stiff but word quickly spread of Costa’s ability to provide superior food and friendly, efficient service establishing the foundation of Cruising Italian Style.

In the past 10 years or so Costa removed this specific identity and pursued what its parent company, Carnival Cruises and other major players in the industry were doing.

Whilst in 2014, during the delivery of the Costa Diadema, Costa has gone back to its success formula and is reinstating Cruising Italian Style fleet wide. Costa promises that it is more than just a tagline and the moment the voyage begins, guests will be Cruising Italian Style.

Costa Diadema in Trieste

What this means is to offer a truly authentic Italian experience with all the warmth and friendliness from the staff and crew.

The Italian connection continues with the return of the ‘Buon Viaggio Celebration’ (bon voyage party) which begins the cruise and ends with ‘Arriverderci Night’. This is just a sampling of what is to follow for the rest of the sailing.

Meet the captain at the ‘Buenvenuto A Bordo’ a cocktail party and become a national for fun at the ‘Festa Italiana.’ It is as if an Italian street festival has been transported to the water.

Play bocce, dance the Tarantella, create a Venetian mask or enter and have your face painted Italian-style. There will also be cooking demonstrations to pick up some authentic recipes to try at home.

Guests will notice a change with the exquisite cuisine made with the flavors and products of the Mediterranean nation. Italian specialties will touch on fare from Milan to Sicily and include gourmet pizza, pasta, frosty gelato, frothy cappuccino and steaming-hot espresso served in cozy, romantic bistros.

Costa Diadema La Piazza

Get ready for your Costa cruise with its version of the Roman Bacchanal. This is yet another favourite and signature nighttime Costa activity from its previous days of cruising Italian style. The Staff will see to it that guests are involved and having a fun time. Walk in the Bacchanal Parade with nothing but a toga wrapped around your body. A farewell talent show will finish off the sailing.

Other nations that share the Mediterranean with Italy are also well represented with the ‘Notte Mediterranea’. This is a special series based on other countries. Entertainment and buffets are themed to the country represented. It could be Spain, France, Greece and Turkey. Special “Guest Passports” are distributed and are stamped each night. Get all nights stamped and you can win a special discount on your next cruise.

Join in conga lines and dance to the rhythm of the steel drums with ‘Notte Tropical’. Complete with Italian flair this event includes ice carvings and tasting typical Cicchetti tapas.

Costa has been gradually pursuing this tagline since 2014, with menu revamps and different performers.

Costa is also aiming to increase their market in Asian waters, with four ships heading to there in 2016.

According to Palomba, the changes are coming as “We needed to take advantage of this increasing demand by adding more ships to the Asian market”.

The new neoCollection fleet which will be a premium Costa experience consists of neoClassica, the neoRiviera, and the neoRomantica which are set to go on longer sailings and to more exotic destinations.

Costa believes its vision of returning to its previous signature ‘Cruising Italian Style’ will make the line the “most successful and profitable brand in Europe while exceeding guest expectations.

Images courtesy of Costa Cruises

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Meet Costa Cruises New Flagship Costa Diadema
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Costa Diadema

Costa Cruises are well known for their mixture of European elegance and casual cruising and the new ship they are due to unveil will be the pinnacle of their ideals. This ship is going to be called Costa Diadema.

The ship is nearly completed at the Marghera shipyard in Venice. Construction began two years ago and the ship will be delivered to Costa this October. It will be the largest cruise ship in the Italian based company and will be designated as its flagship.

Cabins

The ship will be approximately 306 meters long and has the ability to hold nearly 5000 passengers as well as 1250 staff members.

There will be 1,862 cabins in total, including the 130 cabins that are located near the spa and wellness centre in addition to the 75 private suites. 756 cabins onboard come with a balcony and offer that unforgettable view of the never ending ocean.

Diadema Suite

Highlights to Look Forward To

The big attraction onboard is going to be a Costa favourite, the Samsara Spa. This will probably be the largest spa at sea and will encompass four floors and 7,800m² of space. An enormous amount of health, well being and beauty related treatments will be on offer. The spa will contain a fitness centre, sauna, therapy rooms, Turkish baths and a solarium amongst other features.

For those seeking some poolside relaxation the ship will contain three pools onboard (one with a retractable glass roof) that will cool off passengers on a hot Mediterranean day.

The Lido Diana Pool

There will be a multisport centre for even more get-fit fun, as well as an outdoor track around the ship. Other public areas include an enormous variety of shops and designer boutiques in the ‘Portobello Market Piazza’.

Dining

The dining options onboard will be immense as you would expect from any major cruise line. There are going to be seven restaurants on board including the popular mainstay ‘Teppanyaki’ restaurant. The other dining venue names have recently been revealed as ‘Pizzeria Piazza Pizza’, ‘Scudo’ restaurant, ‘Samsara’ restaurant (which is free to those staying in a Samsara spa cabin), the ‘Sissi’ restaurant and the ‘Club Restaurant Diadema’.

A new wine venue called ‘Vinoteca’ and an in-house brewery called ‘Birreria’ are amongst two out of 15 places to stop in for a drink.

Birreria

The ship cost over 400 million pounds but it will be well worth the hefty price tag once the rave reviews from its first passengers hit the press.

Entertainment

The entertainment options will be vast and will include:

Several nightclubs are available for a night on the town including the ‘Country Rock Club’, where guests can get the taste of Nashville and learn to line dance the ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’.

A 4D cinematic experience to watch the latest films and a theatre on three levels will make every night memorable.

The Emerald Theatre

A gigantic casino and a two floor video arcade offering interactive laser games and a one-of-a-kind Gran Prix simulator will please the child in all of you. Truly, no expense has been spared to provide the best entertainment for all passengers including Costa’s regulars and those new to the concept of Italian style cruising.

A 5 day maiden voyage is scheduled for November 2014 from Venice to Savona, making the latter the ships home port. Ports of call in the Mediterranean on weekly sailings include Marseille, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, La Spezia and Civitavecchia

Costa is boasting that these brand new features onboard and the massive size of the vessel will leave all passengers in awe and ensure they will come back for more.

Mock up Images courtesy of Costa Cruise Lines

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Refurbishment of Costa Victoria
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The newly refurbished Costa Victoria is scheduled to be unveiled by Costa Cruises today after her 18 million dollar overhaul in dry-docks.

Costa Victoria will sail out after her refurbishment in Singapore and she will then sail on to Semarang, Benoa and Lombok in Indonesia before returning to Singapore after 7 nights.

Costa Victoria is one of Costa Cruises’ Sky-class ships which originally debuted in 1996 and was then refurbished in 2004. This 2013 renovation will include the refurbishment of all outside cabins(drawing below) and balconies on board plus the addition of more balconies for passengers to enjoy. New windows will be put in place and Costa Cruises ‘Italy at Sea’ concept will be enforced throughout the ship in its Italian style décor and amenities.

Outside Cabin

Costa Victoria will have an emphasis on fine dining after her refurbishment and will be able to offer passengers delicious meals with a true taste of Italian style.

There will be multiple different dining options for passengers to choose from such as the Fantasia Restaurant.(drawing below)

Also a casual buffet restaurant where guests can even dine al fresco on the terrace, a pizza and noodle bar that is sure to be popular with families and even a midnight buffet that passengers can enjoy after a night sampling Costa Victoria’s nightlife and evening entertainment.

Fantasia Restaurant

The shopping area on board is also set to have been given a major overhaul. It has been treated to a luxury upgrade so that passengers who come on board looking to snap up from European designer goods at duty free prices will be able to do so in ultimate style and comfort.

Mr Buhdy Bok, senior vice president pacific Asia and Chine for Costa stated that ‘our investment in Costa Victoria will offer our valued passengers the absolute finest and most enjoyable cruising holiday…Costa Cruises is proud of how we have developed and have been able to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for cruise holidays with innovative and high quality cruising options.’

Costa have also recently announced their Costa neoCollection which has an emphasis on slow cruising and how to make the most of every minute of your cruise holiday in a more leisurely and relaxing manner. The Costa neoCollection will debut on the 9th February 2014.

The refurbishment of Costa Victoria and the announcement of the Costa neoCollection show just how much Costa Cruises are attempting to attract and keep passengers after they, and the cruise industry as a whole, have been subject to some severe scrutiny after a number of tragic and unfortunate incidents in the past couple of years, including the Costa Concordia disaster which claimed the lives of 32 passengers and crew.

Would you like to sail on Costa Victoria after her refurbishment? Do you like the sound of the new Costa neoCollection?

Drawings courtesy of Costa Cruises

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Costa Concordia Salvage team to upright Vessel
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On January 13, 2012, the cruise ship, Costa Concordia went aground in Italy and took 32 lives. It is viewable from the shoreline of Giglio as an awkward and oversized carcass of metal lying on its side.

Several flotilla platforms for the salvage project surround the submerged vessel. This event changed the once popular summer tourist haven’s pristine appearance to that as an industrial maritime centre.

Costa Concordia

One year after the disaster, at a news conference, it was announced that by the end of the summer 2013, the ship would be removed.

The original course of action was running a few months behind schedule. But they made it clear that setting an exact date would be “both misleading and unrealistic”. Obviously the statement proved to be true as the Costa megaship, Concordia, still remains capsized off the island of Giglio. Many are asking as to ‘why is it taking so long to upright and remove the vessel’?

Even with the labours of the crews working round the clock for months, the complex reality of rough seas and undermining granite rocks held up projected schedules. The island has seen 30 to 35% drop in tourism last summer and it appears that this will remain the same or higher for summer 2013.

Giglio

Those working on this massive project claim they are making progress with this delicate endeavour. The salvage experts, Costa Crociere and Titan-Micoper have speculated that the vertical rotation of the wreck and placed upright will take place this coming September.

This is no easy task and nothing is assured that it will be successful. The project entails having the team arrange a detailed observation system of installing microphones and cameras throughout the ship prior to trying to flip the ship upright.

If all goes according to plan, the 114,000-ton cruise ship will be supported on six steel platforms that have been placed on the sea bed. The vessel is presently lying on two underwater reefs with a gap in between them. To help support the ship’s hull, the space has been filled up by 18,000 tons of cement.

If successful, there is still more on the agenda. The conjecture from all involved is that an additional 8 to 10 months will be required before the ship can be dismantled and finally towed away.

Overseeing the project is South African, Nick Sloan. According to Sloane, on the crucial mission that will commence in September, “It’s going to be a long, nerve-wracking day.”

No one should speculate what happened that fatal day that the Concordia ran aground off Italy’s western coast until all the facts are calculated. However, the cruise industry upholds an exceptional safety record.

WATCH THE 3D VIDEO OF THE COSTA CONCORDIA SINKING

Several changes to cruise line policies have transpired through the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review with the participation of International Maritime Organization (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee, The European Cruise Council (ECC) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The first of new safety policies were adapted in June 2012, including the issue of the proper recording of each passenger’s nationality and pertinent information and on elements of musters and emergency instructions.

Since then, these organisations have issued several adjustments to previous guidelines to assure the public that what had transpired aboard the Costa Concordia will never occur again.

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