And what tours to book now for the winter, so as not to lose money. Ideas from Costa Cruises
Do you want to go to Italy? And in Dubai? And to Italy and Dubai at the same time, and with a discount? Then you – to the operator of sea tours Costa Cruises, he has such a route for the winter. Yes, now no one wants to risk money, so Costa takes only a minimum advance payment and guarantees the ability to cancel the cruise at least 2 weeks before the start without fines and without explanation. Putting special hopes on Russia, the company studied our tastes and prepared special service formats. Entertainment, shore excursions, gastronomic pleasures … With details Ekaterina Ilyushina, Costa Cruises representative in Russia.
Ekaterina, what kind of trip is this – to Italy, but to Dubai?
We are talking about a cruise on the Persian Gulf on the newest liner of our company – Costa Firenze. Also called the Floating Florence, this ship was created to celebrate the Renaissance and the Italian taste for beauty, the highest expression of which is the Tuscan city of art.
What caused the choice of the route?
Perhaps, the UAE in a pandemic is the safest of the current winter destinations, so Costa pays great attention to it. Our company has become a sponsor of the Italian pavilion of Expo 2020 in Dubai. A logical continuation of this cooperation will be the arrival of the sensational Costa Cruises liner – Costa Firenze to the Persian Gulf. The Arabian season starts in December and ends in March, cruises last 7-12 nights. Prices start at € 509 per person (port taxes included), with a special offer for the route from Dubai until August 31: a cabin with a balcony at the price of a cabin with a window. Details here.
Of course, this is an attractive upgrade. But now it is very difficult to plan a winter vacation … Who knows what requirements will be imposed on tourists in December? What if you need a coronavirus vaccine, and none of the vaccines available in Russia will suit your company?
Costa does not insist on vaccinating guests. To participate in the cruise, you must pass a PCR test, and this can be done free of charge on the day of boarding, right in the terminal. And the Costa Safety Protocol is on board to protect your health while cruising. More details.
Well, why not dream about a winter cruise then. Tell us more about Costa Firenze. On this liner, does it really feel like you are in Florence?
Yes, it’s a masterpiece! The streets and squares of the famous city are recreated on the decks, walking along which you also enjoy the proximity of the sea. The liner is designed so that guests can spend a lot of time in open spaces.
The atmosphere of Florence does not leave you even in the cabins. All of them – from the simplest to the suites – are bright and quiet, designed in the Renaissance style, finished with exquisite high-quality materials, furnished with attention to every detail. Even in the private areas of the Costa Firenze, there is a typically Italian passion for beauty. And what is especially important – everything here is conducive to the relaxing rest that we need so badly now.
The theme of relaxation is developed by the Solemio private SPA-salon overlooking the sea, with a sauna, jacuzzi, relaxation area and treatment rooms. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is a state-of-the-art gym, jogging track, swimming pools and much more. More about the liner.
What about onboard entertainment?
This is a topic for a separate article, but here I will only say that every guest – regardless of age – will find a lot of interesting things for himself. Theater, casino, art gallery, water park, mini golf and Rope Garden adventure park. And also the Squok Club for the little ones and the Teen Zone.
Now I would like to talk in detail about gastronomy. You know, Ekaterina, how Russian travelers miss real Italian cuisine.
I know and share this feeling, so it is with special pleasure that I invite everyone on a cruise on the Costa Firenze. On the first day, it is best to perform the traditional Italian ritual of an aperitif – walk through eight bars, enjoy cocktails or ice cream. Be sure to check out the original Aperol Spritz bar, or if you love something sweet, the Nutella Bar, the only one in the world on a cruise ship, is just for you.
Then you can choose one of 13 themed restaurants. For starters, I recommend traditional Italian, and on other days – for a change – you can pay tribute to the cuisines of other countries. But at lunch, always remember to spare your energy for dinner, because every evening at Floating Florence you will find a surprise – an exclusive dish from Bruno Barbieri, a chef who has already received seven Michelin stars in his career. Signor Barbieri has created gastronomic masterpieces especially for Costa Firenze in order to surprise guests incessantly.
Costa Firenze also has a snack area, by the way, part of this area is open air, always available, even at night. And our attraction is a real cheese dairy where fresh mozzarella is produced every day.
I’m going. Convinced. But I still have questions about food. In one of your interviews, you said that your company specially studied the tastes of the Russian public in order to top it all off to offer it some kind of special menu. Does this apply to Florence?
Good question! This is part of our program of exclusive service for Russian-speaking guests, which is being implemented on Costa liners. The program includes many aspects, let me tell you about it in general, and then talk about the gastronomic topic again.
So, why did you come up with the idea to create a special format of service for our compatriots on board Costa Cruises? Because the company’s management believes very much in the Russian market, considers it one of the most promising and wants Russians to feel as comfortable as possible on cruises.
Two exclusive service packages have been developed: “gold” (basic) and “diamond” (premium).
The “Gold” level includes the following services: Russian-speaking escort on board; menu in bars and restaurants, as well as the program of the day in Russian; TV channels in the cabins and digital screens in Russian, the Costa App Russified mobile application. And also special packages of drinks.
The “Diamond” level assumes all the advantages of the “gold” level plus additional services: an increased number of Russian-speaking staff: from two accompanying staff, children and adult animators, receptionists, excursion guides; Russian-speaking waiters in bars and restaurants. Tea station, extended drinks packages, special food offer plus a menu from William Lamberti – the ambassador of Italian cuisine in Russia. Surely you know his Moscow projects – Ugolёk restaurant, Uilliam’s cafe. Senor Lamberti knows exactly what our compatriots love the most.
What about drinks?
On all liners, our compatriots are invited to additionally purchase packages of non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverages. This offer will be especially interesting for those customers who purchase a cruise not at the all-inclusive tariff (where alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are already included in the price), but at the basic tariff, where the price includes accommodation, meals, entertainment, and drinks are purchased for additional fee.
What is the number one drink in the Russian preference rating? Something alcoholic?
No, cappuccino. And it turns out that we drink it much more than the Italians themselves.
Interesting. And which liners are included in the “diamond-gold” program?
If we talk about winter 2021/2022, the “diamond” liners will be Costa Firenze in the United Arab Emirates and Costa Toscana in the Mediterranean Sea, and the “gold” liner – Costa Diadema on cruises in the Caribbean, which, by the way, does not require a US visa.
And in the summer of 2022, the number of Russian-speaking liners will be increased. The “diamond” liners will be Costa Diadema in the Norwegian fjords, Costa Favolosa in the Baltic from St. Petersburg, and in the Mediterranean – Costa Firenze, Costa Smeralda and Costa Toscana. The “golden” liners are Costa Fascinosa with long cruises in the Baltic and Norwegian fjords from St. Petersburg and Costa Deliziosa in the Greek islands.
Ekaterina, how nice it is to talk with you about cruises, take a break from the covid theme and mentally plan a vacation for the winter, as if the world had not gone crazy yet. Let’s offer our readers a new way of auto-training: visualize travel on Costa Cruises liners.
A good idea. This in itself increases the level of happiness hormones. And to be sure – book tours right now on our website or with travel agents. Moreover, you risk nothing and get the best prices.