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Cruise Ship Review

Costa Classica - Ship Review provided by Cruise Critic

Costa Classica was inaugurated in 1991 as a step upward toward luxury, and in 1999 there was a plan to stretch her, which was abandoned in favor of an extensive refurbishment in 2000. You can get drunk on the lavish display of art on this ship, set at about $20 million when she was launched, with an incredible amount of sculpture, original painting, hangings, murals and crafts, even for a Costa vessel. The nude figures in the lobby are gone now, and problems with sound carrying in the dining room, which originally reverberated from the Carrerra marble floor, have been solved. With rich wood paneling and the charming leather chairs that have been used in Costa's later ships, the Classica emerged from her refit gorgeous and very popular. This is a romantic ship, from the moment the white-gloved attendants escort passengers to their cabins, and service has real panache.

Dining

The Il Dolce Amore Patisserie lives up to its name with pastries and after dinner drinks, the casual La Taverna Pizza is a bar offering freshly made pizza, with different specialties each day, and the breakfast and lunch buffet at La Trattoria and the outdoor Al Fresco Cafe is lavish and varied, as is the artwork, from hand painted tiles to beautiful marble. The 825-seat Tivoli Restaurant operates on a traditional early/late dining policy and has its seating pretty much evenly divided among tables for two, four six, seven and ten, but the majority are actually tables for five, with a handful for eight. Cuisine is international with Italian specialties every day: pastas, veal dishes and seafood drew the highest marks from passengers, as did dishes that reflected the regions the ship cruises. Desserts too were exceptional, and Midnight Buffets took in the needs of low fat and sugar-free diets.

Public Rooms

The Ponte Vecchio shop features duty-free Italian designer goods as well as sundries. The library also houses the six-station Internet area, with 17-inch flat screen monitors and e-postcard capability. The 40-seat card room drew bridge fanatics, and the Sanremo Casino has 120 slot machines, along with six roulette wheels, seven Black Jack tables, a mini dice table and five video games. The Puccini Ballroom holds the Piano Bar and private parties were scheduled there, too, during the cruise. The Business/Conference Center has very comfortable chairs with pop-up writing tables and simultaneous translation facilities.

Cabins

The Classica's staterooms are unusually large, even the lowest categories. Suites with verandas are 580 square feet, oceanview staterooms 200 and inside cabins 175. With the refurbishment staterooms have been redone with paneling and cream walls and rich woods. Fabrics tend to be softer colors and muted plaids. The Classica has 10 suites, where guests receive V.I.P. check-in, fresh flowers, fruit daily, the option of dining room meals in their staterooms, butler service, whirlpool tubs and preferred seating in the main dining rooms. All cabins have safes, phones, TVs, hair dryers and both 110 and 220 voltage.

Entertainment

Entry into the two-level Colosseo Showroom is really impressive, very Roman; inside it's like being in a seashell with a handmade mosaic backdrop framing the production shows, dancing, travel lectures and movies that are held here. The high backed, colorful leather chairs in the main lounge's Piazza Navona Grand Bar drew clusters of guests at all hours. The captain's cocktail party is held here, as well as games and dancing. The Galileo Disco and Observatory at the top of the ship is really spectacular, observatory by day with a clear 360-degreee view of heaven, sea and earth, and a mecca for late night dancing.

Fitness and Recreation

There are two very pleasant pools on Deck 11 and two jacuzzis by the aft pool, as well as two at the Caracalla Spa and Fitness Center, run with Technogym equipment, which allows you to program your workout and take it home. An authentic Roman bath, steam, sauna and the full range of treatments and salon offerings through Steiner round out the offerings. A very pleasant Juice Bar serves smoothies and other nonalcoholic concoctions, and the front windows give really awesome views over the sea or ports of call. A walking and fitness track saw use from early morning until around dinnertime.

Family

The onboard youth center is attractive and colorful, with the children's program accommodating young cruisers ages 3-17 from 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m. except for generous lunch and dinner hours and during days in port. Group babysitting with a fee can be arranged for ages 3 and up. Costa frequently offers special rates for families.

Fellow Passengers

Since Classica sails in Europe, the ship has a very international clientele, with about 10-20% North Americans. Passengers tend to be ages 45 and over. Although announcements are still made in several languages, Costa limits the length and frequency of them.

Dress Code

Each seven day cruise has two formal nights and a Toga Night; the rest is mostly resort casual; 10-day itineraries have one additional formal night.

Gratuity

Recommended amounts are $2.50 per person, per day for the waiter, $1.50 per person, per day for the cabin steward, $1 per person, per day for the headwaiter.

Cruise Critic

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