Costa Cruises, or Costa Crociere in Italian (it’s based in Genoa, Italy), is not a cruise line that has escaped our attention. We’ve written about the Costa cruise line several times in the past, both explaining general features of the cruise line and covering the headline-making incidents its cruise ships have been involved with recently. The latter have dominated most conversations about Costa Cruises over the last year or so, so we thought we should look at the basic facts of company, explaining again the cruise line behind the unfortunate recent incidents.
In case any of the basics of Costa Cruises’ recent problems escape you, we should begin with a brief reminder of exactly what happened. The first incident that brought Costa to the attention of the world was the catastrophic ship wreck involving the Costa Concordia that occurred off the coast of Italy. Less than two months after this, the Costa Allegra was left stranded in pirate-filled waters after a fire broke out in the engine room of the ship. Costa is owned by the cruise line conglomerate Carnival, and a few ships in the company’s namesake cruise line (Carnival Cruise Line) were involved in problems after the Allegra incident, most notably the Carnival Triumph, of “Cruise from Hell” fame. The last year and a half have not been kind of Costa and parent company Carnival.
Despite its problems, Costa remains a major cruise line. The company operates 15 ships (this obviously doesn’t count the Concordia, which is completely destroyed, or the Allegra, which is now in a scrapyard) spread across seven classes, making it one of the largest cruise lines in the world. Many of these cruise ships are quite large – all the sister ships in the Concordia Class have a gross tonnage of 114,500 and can hold nearly 4,000 passengers – so it is not as if they have a fleet of only small or moderately sized vessels. In terms of market share, it is the second largest cruise line that belongs to Carnival (only Carnival Cruise Lines itself is larger) and the third largest cruise line in the world. (Royal Caribbean is the second largest.) The cruise line offers voyages to virtually everywhere in the world, with an emphasis on Europe. These destinations of course include some of the major destinations (like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean), but also places that don’t come up as frequently, like Dubai and the Norwegian fjords. Since they have so many ships operating so many cruises, they are often offering heavily discounted cruises, which you can find on deal site or by clicking on the “Hot Deals” tab on their website.
Of course, it is hard not to the think of Costa Concordia disaster in particular and the problems involving Carnival ships in general when considering taking a cruise vacation. A cruise, just like a flight, places you in a vulnerable situation by the nature of the transportation it provides (way out at sea or miles in the air). However, also like flights, cruises are a very safe mode of travel. A ship that is sailed by a captain who makes a reckless decision (as happened with the Carnival Concordia) could presumably belong to any cruise line, so there is no reason to completely shun Costa specifically, which as we saw above is a major cruise line that offers tons of trips around the world. Basically, you are limiting the range of possible cruises to take if you ignore Costa, and its almost never good to reduce the number of possibilities before you.