UPDATE, 1/13/12: On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, Italy. It is unclear if the Costa Concordia will return to service in the future.
Costa Cruises' Costa Concordia is a popular floating resort. The waters are crowded with sea-worthy vessels, so to make planning easier, we've done all the prep work for a cruise vacation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on cruise ships, here is a tip sheet offering all the key information one could ever need to know about the Costa Concordia.
DestinationThe Costa Concordia exclusively sails in the Mediterranean, according to its official website. Cruises are all seven nights. Visited ports include Savona, Barcelona, Palermo and Palma de Mallorca.
Passenger ShipThe Costa Concordia is the namesake of the Concordia class of large cruise ships, according to the company that built it for Costa Cruises. It is 951 feet long, 118 feet wide and has a passenger capacity of 3,780.
Special FeaturesThe Costa Concordia boasts many desirable amenities and special features, according to CruiseCritic.com. Each of its two major pools has a retractable glass roof in case of cold weather; it houses a state-of-the-art Formula 1 driving simulator; and its Samsara Spa is one of the largest and most advanced on any cruise ship. Additional features include a video game arcade, two smaller pools, hot tubs and an exercise area. The casino is small, as is typical of European ships.
AccommodationsCabin accommodations on the Costa Concordia follow standard cruise ship classes, with the addition of the Samsara Spa specialty cabins, according to Fodor's. In these cabins, passengers are given direct access to the ship's excellent spa facility and exclusive access to the Samsara Spa restaurant. Otherwise, cabins follow standard interior/oceanview/balcony/suite/grand suite options, with all cabins featuring a refrigerator, mini bar and hair dryer. Higher-level suites include butler service.
CostPrices for a Costa Concordia cruise depend greatly on demand and season, according to the official Costa Cruises website. Prices for interior cabins can range from about $700 to as much as $1,500 or more for a standard seven-night cruise, depending on point of embarkation and seasonal demand. Note that unlike many other cruise lines, the Costa Concordia takes on new passengers at almost every port of call, although some ports are more expensive than others. The highest-level suites will cost at least $2,500 for a seven-night voyage, and possibly much more. Deals are sometimes available on the company website.
ExcursionsOne recommended excursion from the Costa Concordia is a tour of the ancient ruined Greek city of Ephesus, located in what is now Turkey, as detailed in this customer review on CruiseCritic.com. Those taking the tour can experience Greek and Roman ruins and enjoy shopping in the local bazaar.
Dining ExperienceDining options on the Costa Concordia are standard but enjoyable, according to CruiseCritic.com. There are two major restaurants, Roma and Milano, both of which have fixed seating times. There is a fancy, expensive alternative restaurant called the Club Concordia as well as a buffet restaurant called Parigi that serves all three meals. Travelers in the special Samsara Spa cabins can enjoy an exclusive restaurant, and there is 24-hour room service available with a limited menu.
Maiden VoyageThe Costa Concordia's maiden voyage began from Civitavecchia, Italy, on July 9, 2006, according to the ship's builder. The ship was built to order for Costa Cruises.
In The NewsOur research revealed no notable news stories or safety concerns regarding the Costa Concordia.
This official video from Costa Cruises shows many views of the Costa Concordia sailing in majestic Mediterranean waters.
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