Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 331 out of 500
Accommodation: 133 out of 200
Food: 214 out of 400
Service: 257 out of 400
Entertainment: 60 out of 100
Cruise: 234 out of 400
Overall Score: 1229 out of 2000
Costa Classica Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Tonnage: 52,950 tons
Cruise Line: Costa Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 8716502
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $287 million
Entered Service: Jan 1992
Length (ft/m): 718.5/220.61
Beam (ft/m): 98.4/30.80
Draft (ft/m): 25.0/7.60
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (22,800kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 650
Passengers (lower beds): 1,308
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 40.4
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.0
Cabins (total): 654
Size Range (sq ft/m): 185.1-430.5/17.2-40.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 10
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6 (interior)
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: Euros
An elegant Italian-style ship for mature passengers
Overview. This ship, which brought Costa into the mainstream of cruising Italian-style, has a modern-ish design and styling best described as befitting European tastes. It attracts a multinational group of young (and young-at-heart) couples and singles who enjoy big-city life with constant activity and lots of noise.
The Ship. Costa Classica (in December 2014 its name will change to Costa neoClassica to join the growing Costa neoClassica division) is an all-white ship, now over 20 years old, with a slab-sided unflattering profile, which is topped by an unmistakable trio of tall yellow funnels. Lifeboats positioned in an upper location make the high-sided ship look ungainly, with no line to separate the upper from the lower hull section.
The interior design, however, incorporates much use of circles - large portholes instead of windows can be found in cabins on lower decks, and in the dining room, self-serve buffet area, coffee bar, and discotheque, for example. There is an excellent range of public rooms, lounges, and bars, plus a number of business and meeting facilities; the rooms provide multi-flexible configurations.
Some fascinating artwork includes six hermaphrodite statues in one lounge. The multi-level atrium is stark, angular, and cold. The marble-covered staircases look pleasant, but are uncarpeted and a little dangerous if water or drinks are spilled on them when the ship is moving.
Perhaps the interior is best described as an innovative design project that almost works. A forward observation lounge/nightclub sits atop ship like a lump of cheese, and, unfortunately, fails to work well as a nightclub. Internet access is available from one of several computer terminals in an Internet café.
Gratuities are charged to your onboard account. Although Costa Cruises is noted for its ‘Italian’ style, ambience and spirit, there are few Italian crew members on board. Although many officers are Italian, most of the crew members, particularly the dining room and housekeeping staff, are from the Philippines. But the lifestyle on board is perceived to be Italian - lively, noisy, with lots of love for life and a love of all things casual, even on so-called formal nights.
Note that all printed material - room service folio, menus, etc. - will typically be in six languages: Italian, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. During peak European school holiday periods, particularly Christmas and Easter, you can expect to be cruising with a lot of children of all ages.
As aboard other Costa ships, note that for embarkation, few staff members are on duty at the gangway when you arrive; they merely point you in the direction of your deck, or to the ship’s elevators and do not escort you to your cabin. Also, note that ‘wallpaper’ music is played 24 hours a day in all accommodation hallways and elevators, so you may well hear it if you are a light sleeper.
Niggles include the fact that there is no walk-around promenade deck outdoors. The ship’s rather slow service speed (19.5 knots) means that itineraries have to be carefully chosen, as the ship cannot compete with the newer ships with faster speeds. Also, the air-conditioning system in the Tivoli Dining Room is noisy. There are too many loud, repetitious, and irritating announcements. Shore excursions are very expensive.
Accommodation. There are 11 categories. These include 10 suites, while other cabins are fairly standard in size, shape, and facilities, a higher price being asked for cabins on the highest decks. All suites and cabins have twin lower beds, color TV set, and telephone.
Suites. The 10 suites, located in the center of Portofino Deck, all have a private rounded balcony, marble-clad bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, and separate shower enclosure. There is plenty of space in the living and sleeping areas, and for storing luggage, as these really are very spacious suites.
Standard outside-view/interior cabins. In general, the cabins are of a fairly generous size, and are laid out in a practical manner. They have cherry wood veneered cabinetry and accenting, and include a vanity desk unit with a large mirror. There are useful (unusual, for a cruise ship) sliding doors to the bathroom and closets, and the cabin soundproofing is poor. The soft furnishings are of good quality, but the room service menu is disappointing. The suites have more space - although they are not large by any means - and hand-woven bedspreads.
Some cabins have one or two extra pull-down (Pullman-style) berths - useful for families with small children.
Dining. The Tivoli Dining Room has a lovely, indented, clean white ceiling, although it is extremely noisy. There are two seatings, and a number of tables for two to eight, assigned according to your chosen accommodation grade. Changeable wall panels help create a European Renaissance atmosphere, albeit at the expense of blocking off windows - but during dinner, it’s dark outside anyway unless you’re in the far North.
The cuisine is traditional cruise fare that is best described as banquet-style food. Note that there are no real sommeliers, so the young waiters serve the (mostly Italian) wine (which is also young). They also dance at the tables during the cruise - it’s a little bit of show business that you get caught up in - whether you like it or not.
Other dining options. For casual outdoor eating, the Alfresco Café has teak decking and traditional canvas sailcloth awning. Breakfast and luncheon buffets are repetitious and uncreative, and the source of many passenger complaints.
Excellent (extra-cost) Italian Lavazza-brand cappuccino and espresso coffees are always available in various bars around the ship, served in the right-sized china cups.
Entertainment. The Colosseo Theater, the main showlounge, has an interesting amphitheater-like design. However, the seats are bolt upright, and quite uncomfortable for any length of time. A Galileo discotheque, located atop the ship, for the young at heart, late of night, and hard of hearing.
Spa/Fitness. The Caracalla Spa, on one of the uppermost decks, contains a gymnasium with good forward-facing views over the ship’s bows and high-tech muscle-pump machines, an aerobics exercise area, two hot tubs, Roman bath, health bar, sauna and steam rooms, and beauty salon. The spa is operated by Steiner, a specialist concession, whose young staff will try to sell you Steiner’s own-brand Elemis beauty products.
Some fitness classes are free, while some, such as yoga and kick-boxing, cost extra. Massage (including exotic massages such as Aroma Stone massage, Chakra Balancing massage, and other wellbeing massages), facials, pedicures, and beauty salon treatments cost extra. Make appointments as early as possible as time slots can go quickly.