Costa Venezia is part of the Italian cruise company’s six-billion-euro expansion plan that includes seven new ships by 2023. A sister ship designed exclusively for the Chinese market is under construction and expected to be delivered in 2020. But the cruise line’s next new ship, 6,000-passenger Costa Smerelda, will be its first LNG-powered ship and will launch in October this year for the world market. Costa Group has three brands – Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Costa Asia – and a total 28 ships.
Costa Venezia cruise ship review: Cabins, dining, entertainment and prices explained
THE WOW FACTOR
Costa Venezia is the biggest ship Costa has sent to China, with room for 5,260 passengers, and it’s designed to showcase Italian culture, food and lifestyle – which is why the atrium is modelled on Venice’s St Mark’s Square and there are two real gondolas onboard.
In the Gondola Lounge guests can have a virtual reality trip through Venice in a gondola and its Grand Canal Restaurant has a “canal-side” walk where guests can admire the Ponte dei Sospiri – the Bridge of Sighs.
The restaurant also replicates the typical architecture of Venetian alleys, with guests served by waiters dressed as 17 th century Venetians.
Cruises will also feature a Venice Carnival party night with Venetian masks and Italian entertainment.
Despite Costa Venetia’s Italian ambiance the ship has been designed exclusively for Chinese guests so much of the entertainment is Chinese, such as the Golden Party where there are surprises and gifts to be won every 10 minutes.
Italian food includes three-star Michelin chef Umberto Bombana’s menu in Casanova Restaurant but authentic Chinese cuisine is always available in the main restaurants and speciality restaurants.
Typical Costa Cruises’ family entertainment remains at the heart of the experience, though, including children’s clubs, Water Park Laguna, mini golf and the Rope Garden for onboard fun.
High-spending Chinese guests will also enjoy the ship’s duty free shopping with luxury brands such as Tiffany, BVLGARI and Cartier.
As with most cruise ships there are shows every night in the theatre with a focus on Italian culture and productions such as Venezia Innamorata, based on the life of legendary Venetian lover Giacomo Casanova.
In the Lounge delle Stelle guests can join the Costa Venezia Film Festival, watching Venice Film Festival movies and being entertained with songs from famous films.
But the ship also offers some of the most popular entertainment in Asia: there are 11 rooms dedicated to karaoke.
And then there’s the masquerade ball, a colourful take on Venice’s famous Carnevale as well as half a dozen main lounges for pre-dinner drinks and nightcaps – plus Bella Bar for fruit juices and bubble teas.
There are four main categories of cabins among the 2,116 on offer: suites, balcony staterooms, oceanview staterooms with picture windows and inside staterooms.
All cabins come with a shower in the bathroom and the stateroom itself has twin beds that convert to a queen-sized bed, a flat-screen TV, hairdryer, safe and desk.
Balcony staterooms also have sofa beds and paid-for mini bars, with paid-for wifi available in all staterooms as well as in public areas.
Suites get free 24-hour room service, bath robes and slippers plus drinks package and personal valet.
Unusual, to Westerners at least, is the speciality restaurant Lu Hot Pot, where guests can cook their own choice of seafood, meat and vegetables in a stock pot placed in the middle of their dining table.
Street food is also available, with Dim Sum serving traditional Chinese food, and there’s a Japanese Yan Teppanaki restaurant where chefs work at the guests’ tables.
But the stand-out speciality restaurant is Casanova Restaurant, with a menu created by Italian chef Umberto Bombana of three-star Michelin restaurant Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA.
Frutti di Mare is a dedicated seafood restaurant offering Venetian and oriental dishes, while La Fiorantina Steak House and Lanai BBQ Restaurant both have sea views.
The main waiter-served restaurant and Lido deck buffet restaurant both serve Italian and Chinese food from morning to night and the always-popular Napoli Pizza delivers pizza anytime anywhere onboard.
Only Costa Venezia’s inaugural 53-day cruise is available to European and American guests. From mid-May 2019 the ship will be dedicated exclusively to Chinese guests, offering cruises in Asia from Shanghai. For details visit costacruise.com.
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