I’m a cruise addict, and cruising Europe is my all-time favorite. If you haven’t been because it seems too far, too costly, or too intimidating, let me convince you otherwise. I just finished my first cruise with Costa Cruise Lines, a brand under the Carnival umbrella. Costa is an Italian cruise line that has been in the cruise market for nearly 170 years. They offer deep discounts for their sailings and have prices to fit almost any budget. Let me tell you how to cruise Europe at discounted prices with Costa.
I was hosted by Costa Cruise Lines to familiarize myself with their ship and features. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
Watch For Sales
To be competitive in today’s cruise market, especially coming off a pandemic, you must be reasonably priced. There are several levels of cruise ships, but to find a luxury cruise line that sails Europe for often only a few hundred dollars, some even balancing out to $75 per day, is unbelievable. To add to this, I’ve sailed Europe at discounted rates with other cruise lines for $799, $999, and $1299. I thought I was doing good. But now, you can book your week-long cruise with Costa for often $499-$549.
Have you ever thought you might be able to book a dream trip to locations such as Rome (Italy), Barcelona (Spain), and Istanbul (Turkey) for rates like this? Let me remind you this includes all meals, entertainment, swimming pools, and fun.
Let Costa Book Your Air
Cruise lines can often book your flights for your dream cruise vacation. I’ve used that option for several cruises, both river and ocean, and for traveling to Europe. I can sit there playing with itineraries on Kayak all day, and sometimes they can still beat the prices I’m seeing.
If you want to really save money on your flight, be very flexible with your travel plans. That can help snag better prices, but if you expect the quickest flight time or most desirable seats, you may have to do it yourself. The cruises I’ve taken where I’ve flown with the cruise line, including Costa, have been splendid itineraries, and I’ve had no complaints.
Fun Fact: Your first bag is free when you fly internationally, so you’ve already saved a bundle. The flight includes a meal on your longest journey (the US to Europe) and provides snacks, so that is even more savings.
Pro Tip: If you want additional savings, buy the transfers from the airport to the cruise ship. That means that when you get off the plane, collect your luggage, and manage your way through immigration and customs; the cruise line will be waiting for you to take you and your luggage to the ship. You may have to wait for a few minutes to sometimes maybe an hour, but it’s worth it to me to save the money and headache of finding my own transportation.
Spend Your Vacation Budget Where You See Fit
With a discounted cruise, you may have extra money for special things onboard, such as specialty dining, shopping, purchasing a drink package, or indulging in a spa treatment. With Costa, there is an additional fee for quite a few things. Still, we didn’t mind paying $2.50 for fresh-made dim-sum dumplings, $5 for an entire Quattro-Formaggi pizza, $4.50 for a Nutella and banana crepe, or $36 per person for a Teppanyaki dinner experience.
I hear other cruisers generally talk about cruise lines, “nickel and dime-ing them to death.” Still, without the hefty price tag, you have the extra money for the splurge items, or you can do without since basic meals (which doesn’t mean less desirable) are included. I must add that the jewelry shops are ready to wheel and deal, seeing that their inventory is 2+ years old now—make an offer. And check out the incredible luxury goods selection onboard Costa cruise lines. Pinch me…I’m dreaming!
Pro Tip #1: Book a spa treatment on a port day for extra savings.
Pro Tip #2: Purchase a drink package if you think you will drink a decent amount of soda, wine, beer, or cocktails. The basic drink package with Costa runs $22 per day for those 18 and up, meaning European cruises. The package includes unlimited wines, beer, and soft drinks by the glass. One caveat is that all guests in the same cabin must purchase the package. Younger guests under 17 can enjoy unlimited soft drinks for $11 daily.
Things I Loved About Cruising With Costa
Costa has many specialty restaurants and single items, such as Chinese dumplings, sushi, focaccia sandwiches, lobster, and jumbo prawns. The staterooms are tastefully decorated, like the rest of the ship, and have the best showers at sea.
Elevators are the coolest, where you select your floor from the outside panel, telling you which elevator to get on. From the inside, there are no buttons to push for floor stops, so the elevators run. Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Costa’s itineraries are spectacular. You may be able to check off several bucket list items with only one cruise. Start planning your special trip today.
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