The Costa Mediterranea was the second ship built for Costa by Carnival Corporation, and also was based on the design that would become Carnival’s highly successful Spirit Class. Small enough to fit through the locks of the Panama Canal, at 86,000 gross tons it still has plenty of real estate for all the latest creature comforts and amenities.
Of course, these are Costa ships though, and their fantastical interiors offer a wondrous world of classical motifs that complement their modern flourishes. The Mediterranea takes the 17th and 18th century palaces of Italian nobility as its central idea, and the ship’s imagery is heavy on dance and theater themes.
Activities on Costa Mediterranea
Three pools include two amidships and one at the stern, the latter with a Carnivalesque waterslide. Other sports facilities include a golf driving net and sports court for volleyball, basketball or tennis. The extensive outer decks provide ample room for sunning and even some out-of-the way spots for a sea-day of reading.
Indoor public areas include a soaring atrium—again a-la Carnival—a cave-like disco, spacious casino, several lounges for all sorts of evening entertainment, a small library/internet center, a card room, and of course activity centers for kids in several age groups.
Dining on Costa Mediterranea
Dining is offered in a spacious two-deck main dining room or a two-story alternative restaurant high up on Deck 10 (this is where on the Carnival ships the alternative steakhouse is nestled under the funnel). An expansive lido buffet provides the setting for casual eating starting at breakfast and continuing throughout the day.
Cabins on Costa Mediterranea
Cabins are appointed in deep woods and rich fabrics; more than 50 percent of cabins have private verandahs, and the ship has been retrofitted with Costa’s signature spa cabins that provide direct access to the wellness center and other perks. The ship’s spacious suites are well-appointed and offer a good choice for families.
Costa Mediterranea belongs to Costa Cruises' Atlantica Class of cruise ships. This Costa ship features a specialty à la carte restaurant, a multitude of colorful bars and lounges, and nearly 700 cabins and suites with a balcony.
Year Built 2003 ♦
Ship's Class: Atlantica Class ♦
Country of Registry Italy ♦
Tonnage 85,600 ♦
Length 960 ft - 292 m ♦
Cruising Speed 22 knots ♦
Passenger Capacity (double occupancy) 2,114 ♦
Passenger Capacity (incl. upper beds) 2,680 ♦
Passenger Decks 12 ♦
Officers and Crew 897 ♦
Officer's Nationality Italian ♦
Crew and Hotel Staff Nationality International
Total 1,057 ♦
Suites with Balcony 58 ♦
Oceanview with Balcony 620 ♦
Oceanview without Balcony 167 ♦
Inside 212 ♦
Accessible Cabins (all categories) 8 ♦
Costa Cruises' cabins include luxury bedding, complimentary continental breakfast, minibar, satellite TV programming, and 24 hour room service.
TV with music channels ♦
In-Cabin Movies ♦
In-Cabin Internet Access ♦
Private Safe ♦
Traditional 1st and 2nd Sitting Assigned Table Seating ♦
Formal Nights ♦
Specialty Restaurants: Club Medusa ♦
Specialty Coffee Bar ♦
24 Hour Room Service Available
Bars and Lounges ♦
Card Room/Game Room ♦
Video Games Arcade
Sports and Activities
Resort Style Pool ♦
Sports Court ♦
Fitness Center ♦
Spa and Wellness
Full Service Spa ♦
MedSpa Services ♦
Sauna or Steam Room ♦
Beauty Salon ♦
Fitness Assessment ♦
Health and Nutrition Evaluation
Children and Teens
Family Cabins ♦
Organized Age Specific Activities ♦
Children's Pool ♦
Youth Staff ♦
Teen Programs ♦
Teen Staff ♦
Group Babysitting Services
Other Facilities and Services
Duty Free Shops and Boutiques ♦
Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service ♦
Business Center Services ♦
Floating Palaces: Costa Mediterranea, A Tour of Italy
by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.
This review could have been titled “Touring Italy On A Cruise Ship — Without Ever Stepping Ashore.” That’s because Costa Cruises’ 85,700-ton, 2,680-passenger Costa Mediterranea presents what many have come to love most, aesthetically at least, about Italy — a rich artistic heritage coupled with abundant architectural charm.
Costa Mediterranea’s public rooms, and indeed its staterooms, were designed using themes of Italian noble palaces. Thus, with only a smidgen of suspended disbelief, those aboard Costa Mediterranea can imagine themselves in Venice, Florence, Siena, or Rome — clearly something more than they might have bargained for on their cruise vacations, but a nice touch from a company that bills its vacation product as, “Cruising, Italian Style.”
The 15th-century Barbaro Palace on Venice’s Grand Canal, for example, inspired Costa Mediterranea’s Canal Grande Casino. No, there’s not a canal running through the casino center, but you will see wavy motifs on the marble columns and on the ceiling. Also on the ceiling is the night sky, or at least a representation of it. Golden stars on a purplish background are meant to reflect the open-air atriums that form the entranceway to many Italian palaces. Moreover, the casino’s primary purple and gold color schemes took inspiration from fabrics of ornate Venetian style costumes.
Bar Casanova, a casual dance club and bar, drew inspiration from a painting in Venice’s Albrizzi Palace. The painting showed cherubs holding up drapes. American ship architect Joe Farcus interpreted the painting to adorn Bar Casanova’s ceiling with sculptured draperies, painted iridescent gold to reflect the highlights. Cherubs secure the draperies at each end. Bar Casanova also features a fountain, typical of Italian piazzas, with a staircase wrapped around it that leads to shops and lounges one deck above.
The three-level Osiris Theater drew inspiration from Rome’s 16th-century Massimo alle Colonne Palace, with its central portico, columns, and courtyards. The theater features sculptures of pyramids and pharaohs to establish an Egyptian motif.
The Art of Dining
Costa Mediterranea’s two-level, 1,320-passenger dining room, the lovely Ristorante degli Argentieri, which translates from Italian to “Restaurant of the Silversmiths,” draws inspiration from a dining room at the Sicilian Biscari Paterno Palace and its notable silver collection. A spiral staircase links the two levels of Costa Mediterranea’s restaurant, and in the center is an attractive square sculptured column paying tribute to Italian silversmiths. The restaurant also features 66 glass showcases displaying silver ornaments specially designed for the ship.
Costa claims that art has been such an important part of its history that the 26 vessels of the Costa fleet since World War II also have been displays of the nation’s latest artistic and architectural trends. I found much contemporary art on Costa Mediterranea, such as the attractive Murano glass lamps throughout the atrium, but I also found much traditional art.
A good part of my days aboard Costa Mediterranea was spent admiring the art. The main gathering spot and the area most passengers likely will see first, the Maschera d’Argento atrium, features a striking 82-foot-tall, three-dimensional, wall-mounted sculpture designed as a tribute to Italian dance and the “Comedy of Art,” a performance genre that features actors in Venetian-style masks and costumes.
The sculpture begins above the atrium bar with six “Comedy of Art” characters who represent life on earth and 19 abstract dancers who represent the ascension into heaven. The overall effect is stunning and best viewed from one of the atrium’s three glass elevators.
Further imbuing Costa Mediterranea with its Greco-Roman ambience, the ship’s 12 decks are dedicated to Mediterranean mythology — Narcissus’ beauty and Bacchus’ mirth, for example. Mythological themes and characters are represented in paintings, sculptures, and friezes. I sipped a drink at the Apollo Bar by the pool, and in the background at the Port of Naples, Vesuvius loomed. In the foreground, a bronzed statue of the sky god Apollo stood over the pool.
Like its namesake, Costa Mediterranea reflects the beauty of sea, sun, and sky. On the exterior decks, primary colors are cheerful blues and yellows. A short stroll from the pools, the indoor Perla del Lago restaurant displays lovely Country French blues and bright yellows. In this buffet-style restaurant, which also features a pizzeria, blue seats and sofas accompany linen-covered tables separated by curved frames of privacy glass designed to give the impression of clouds. Over one of the serving areas, a panorama inspired by a Lake Como palace borders a glass-domed rotunda. It was a nice touch that filled an otherwise dull area with sun and sky — and a bit of art. Yet, it was the type of thing that might have gone missed had I not looked up.
True to style, Costa Mediterranea is very much an Italian-flavored ship. Crewmembers greet passengers with “Buon Giorno.” Announcements are made in multiple languages. Menus (in English and Italian) offer Italian specialties, and waiters serve homemade pasta. On this Italian-flagged ship, waiters will often step back from the table to boom in baritone “O Sole Mio.” Costa Mediterranea, which sails from Fort Lauderdale this winter, offers the experience of being in Italy — without the accompanying jetlag.
Staterooms and Suites
Costa Mediterranea’s roomy standard outside and verandah staterooms feature desks (well-lighted with mirrors and hair dryers for dressing as well as AC electrical outlets), televisions, sufficient drawer and closet space for weeklong cruises, beds that can be configured into queens or twins, and sleeper sofas. Staterooms also feature mini-bars and safes that can be locked and unlocked with a credit card (no charges apply). Showers were sufficiently large enough to position all 6 foot 5 inches of my body under the showerhead.
The ship also features 59 suites that range in size from 360 square feet to more than 600 square feet. The smallest resembles the standard verandah stateroom but features a more expansive verandah. The next category, Panorama Suite, features a sitting area. Next up, the Grand Suites feature separate living and sleeping quarters. Suite passengers are entitled to VIP check-in and disembarkation, butler service, full-course in-suite dining, additional in-cabin amenities such as robes and slippers, in-cabin Internet access (charges apply), and one night of complimentary dining (normally $23 per person) at the reservations-only Club Medusa, an elegant two-level supper club that features Versace porcelain, gold tablecloths, and an attractive Medusa mural on one wall.
New for Costa Mediterranea: 44 exclusive spa accommodations, which offer guests personalized wellness consultations, three complimentary treatments, two fitness or meditation classes and complimentary access to the Wellness Restaurant, offering a wide array of spa-friendly cuisine. Spa cabins, available in ocean view, veranda and suite categories, will feature aromatherapy diffusers, special shower and air filters, and a mini bar stocked with healthy food and beverage selections. In addition, guests with these accommodations will be offered priority spa reservation times.
Exploring the ship as I did during my time aboard Costa Mediterranea was indeed a serendipitous sojourn. As I crossed the threshold from one public room to another — or as the architect intended the public rooms to be perceived, from one palace to another — I made new and unexpected discoveries. When my trip ended, I had traversed all of Italy — without ever setting foot off the ship.