Costa Cruises will launch “slow cruising,” a new concept for the line, in February on Costa neoRiviera and Costa neoRomantica. The experience features longer itineraries, extended time in port that may include an overnight, shore tours that emphasize cultural attractions and are limited to 25 or fewer guests as well as local foods and wines in the dining rooms.
“Slow cruising and the neoCollection is a premium grade product aimed at a sophisticated, slightly older clientele,” says a Costa spokesperson.
Because the two neoCollection ships carry about 1,250-1,500 passengers, the Costa neoRiviera (624 cabins) and the Costa neoRomantica (789 cabins) are able to visit smaller ports that the megaships cannot.
Compared with the typical Costa seven-day Mediterranean cruise, the Costa neoRiviera’s Mediterranean Spirit slow voyage takes 12 days and includes less visited ports such as Olbia, Sardinia and the Isle of Elba. The itinerary is available June 5 through Sept. 1.
The Costa neoRomantica sails Northern Europe on 13- to 15-day voyages. The ship stops at Bornholm, Denmark, on its 13-day Northern Capitals itinerary, departing from Amsterdam June 25, Aug. 2 and Aug. 26. The ship’s Beyond North Cape itinerary, departing Amsterdam July 7, extends the scenic views off the Norwegian coast by sailing beyond the Arctic Circle to the Svalbard Islands.
Costa officially debuts slow cruising Feb. 9, 2014, with its Grand Africa Tour, a 62-day voyage from Dubai to the coast of India, the islands of the Indian Ocean—the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and Reunion—Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena, Senegal, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Morocco and Savona, Italy. The voyage can be booked from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa, or Cape Town to Savona.
Costa neoRomantica entered service in 1993 and completed a $129 million refurbishment in 2012. Costa neoRiviera entered service in 1999 as Iberocruceros’ Grand Mistral and was totally refurbished in 2005. New suites and cabins were added in 2007. Fares for the 13-day Baltic slow cruise start at about $2,036 per person.