Costa is an Italian cruise line under the Carnival Corporation umbrella. They have beautiful ships, go to unique ports, offer long hours while in port, and have wowed me from the first day aboard. While you have many choices for cruise lines in the marketplace, one that has been in business for over 100 years deserves a look. Here is what to do on a Costa cruise, as I enjoyed two fantastic itineraries.
Your Oggi A Bordo
The online newsletter you’ll have delivered to your stateroom or mailbox outside your door is called the Oggi A Bordo, or your compass on the ship. It will tell you the happenings for the next day, such as the port of call you will be in, expected arrival and departure times, highlights for onboard activities, where you can eat, the hours, and so forth.
Some may be surprised to find cultural lectures at sea or impressive art collections available for sale or auction during sailing. There is a dedicated following for trivia on cruise ships. Costa offers some fun games, such as video trivia for landmarks and famous cities or even movie theme songs or TV shows.
Costa’s entertainment team will delight you night after night with musical acts, interactive game shows, fashion shows, acrobatics, and original productions. You’ll never be far from music onboard the Costa ships, either.
I really loved the house music, which was played by DJ Flatlands and Boghan sax on my sailing. Still, there are all music stylings throughout the day and in many locations. The Costa Toscana ship is full of live music choices all day and night.
You can go from country and bluegrass to salsa, hip hop to island beats, and opera to ’80s pop music favorites just by walking across one floor at times.
Learn some new dance moves at sea with the Caribbean dance school lessons, free of charge. I saw young and old embracing the free dance options every day they were available. I’ll have to say they learned enough to manage dancing through a few songs.
Meanwhile, I met Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation and owner of the Miami Heat.
Eating and Drinking
As with all cruises, there are dozens of places to eat, drink, and be merry on your Costa cruise.
Specialty restaurants, which include a nominal fee, include:
- Teppanyaki Restaurant (a cooking show and Eastern flavors)
- La Fiorentina Steakhouse
- Casanova Restaurant (Eastern Mediterranean menus curated by famous chefs)
- Hot Pot (oriental-style cooking)
- Lobster Bar
- The Salty Beach Street Food (gourmet burgers, sandwiches, and French fries with mayo-chip you won’t want to miss)
- Dim Sum Chinese Dumplings
- Sushino at Costa (raved about sushi)
- Pummid’Oro Pizzeria (sourdough crust)
- Elite (exclusive experience)
I recommend Casanova to step out of your comfort zone and be wowed, and the pizzeria for an amazing Quattro Formaggio pizza.
Watch for special presentations (listed in your newsletter), such as Smok&Foam Cocktail night, with bubbly cocktails and TikTok-worthy presentations. Bella Bar and Gondola Lounge Bar are two of my favorite spots to order cocktails.
Who can say no to fresh-made crepes and Italian ice cream from Gelateria Amarillo? I was also hooked on the espresso drinks at Piazza San Marco on Deck 3.
Pro Tip: Visit the Aperol Spritz Bar on Deck 15, possibly one of the most fabulous spaces I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship.
I was shocked to see many outdoor offerings on my Costa Venezia sailing. The mini-golf is sensational, fun for everyone in the family, and the soccer pitch area has a full-size basketball court. When you think you’ve seen it all, a ropes course seems to appear magically.
On the Costa Toscana, you’ll find two killer (not literally) waterslides and a whole playground of water activities.
Indulge in the Solemio Spa and Gym
I never miss visiting the cruise ship spa, as the technicians are well-trained, the treatments are high-end, and the products, namely Elemis, are second to none. You can do a Solemio spa tour at the beginning of the cruise to familiarize yourself with what is offered.
Maybe you need a massage to release toxins and cater to aching muscles or an exclusive facial to treat fine lines and hydrate your skin.
The fitness center is grand and a beautiful place to break a sweat—especially when the scenery is as impressive as this. You can also participate in targeted exercise classes, yoga, or stretching get-togethers.
An unusual treatment I had on the Costa Toscana ship’s Solemio Spa was a quartz bed massage. The bed was unlike anything I’d ever seen, full of quartz sand and covered with a thin sheet. The guest lays on the sheet and is contoured by the sand around their body outline.
A massage then takes place based on the firmness you want. I go with deep-tissue massage. All the while, you are laying on these minerals said to have healing properties and enjoying the extreme comfort of the quartz bed.
The only effort I had to make during my treatment was to flip over and enjoy the back side getting the same royal treatment.
Another offering at the Solemio Spa is a visit (or even a weeklong pass) to the thermal spa. I look for this on all cruises and never pass it up if offered. In the Costa Venezia case, three 45-minute visits to a private thermal spa with a relaxation room, sauna, bathroom, shower, and substantial thermal bath overlooking the ocean ran me around $119.
On the Toscana, I bought a weeklong pass for $40 extra when booking a spa service. It was total heaven!
The Toscana’s thermal spa was gorgeous, with a vast thalassotherapy-style pool that would hold 15-20 people. The correct way to enjoy the pool is to sit on the metal bench at the far end, allowing the forceful jets to massage and aid in. your circulation.
Window seats with sheets of pouring water are great for letting your shoulders in on the fun. The inner circle, with a round metal bar for holding onto, is where you’ll feel the most forceful water.
In addition to the pool are a four-step rainfall shower area, a Hammam, sauna, a dump bucket of ice water (not for the faint at heart), and (wait for it…) a snow room. Yep, you read that right. In 50+ cruises, I’ve never seen anything as cool as the snow room.
This exotic offering takes you into a frigid space where snow is made and packed on the ground, walls, and window that overlooks the beautiful blue ocean. It felt fabulous to stand there a few seconds after a hot day exploring Istanbul or Rome and equally as exhilarating after a sweat fest in the sauna.
Plan Your Off-Shore Activities
There will be talks and services to help you plan your port excursions or time in port. Attend the in-person events to learn about the best shopping places, top attractions, and other tips the Costa staff may offer.
Speak with a cruise port staff member about available trips, the level of exertion, and to see if it is a good fit for what you hope to see during your visit. There are also future cruise staff members onboard to help you find, plan, and book your next at-sea adventure.