Italian Cruises

Ciao, Costa – A cruise director returns on board

Ciao, Costa

After 25 years, a former cruise director returns to his roots.

By Steve Leland

After living under the yellow and blue funnels of Costa Cruises for 10 years as cruise director, along with my wife as casino manager, we left our pseudo, onboard Italian family in 1990 to raise our own. Now, after 25 years in the onshore world of reality, we found ourselves about to embark on a reunion of sorts, a return to the distinctive yellow and blue “C” of Costa Deliziosa.

Welcome (Back) Aboard

In the early ’80s, we were part of the adolescent days of the cruise industry, when Costa had a significant presence in the American market, sailing to an assortment of Caribbean ports from South Florida and Puerto Rico. The company became synonymous in the United States with its Cruising Italian Style mantra on ships such as Carla C, Flavia, Daphne, and the popular Costa Riviera. Today, after a brand refresh and an infusion of new upscale ships, the company offers a redefined contemporary cruise experience.

With a slight tinge of melancholy, our short drive to Port Everglades evoked memories of returning to our floating home on countless Saturdays after a few precious hours on shore. Today, technology has streamlined the embarkation process and after a few brief formalities we stepped aboard the eye-popping Costa Deliziosa. The vibrant welcome opened a mental time capsule providing us with the nostalgic feeling that we were home.
Our 10-day cruise promised a return to the often-visited ports of Freeport, Ocho Rios, and Grand Cayman along with new calls for us to Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and the new port of Amber Cove on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.

Living the Life

Having lived for several years in a minimalistic staff cabin with a small round window to the world, our exceptionally well-appointed stateroom with veranda balcony was astounding. Luxury, functionality, and elegant design were all something we had never previously enjoyed. Now we were living large with an extremely comfortable queen-sized bed, an endless view of the sea through sliding glass doors, and an array of special room amenities. Comparing our initial Costa boarding in 1980 to today, very little was reminiscent of our previous onboard lives. “Adequate” and “nice” have been replaced by “wow” and “extravagant.”

Costa Deliziosa was designed by renowned ship architect Joe Farcus, retaining consistency with trends toward neon-infused glitz. A wealth of decorative detail is spread throughout the lavish multistoried atrium and public rooms, generating an aura of excitement. A walk around the ship portrays every style imaginable, with each area pushing a different mood button. Cleverly designed mosaic walls in one area give way to a whimsical eclectic theme in another. Art deco merges into classic marble and nautical décor into ultra elegance, yet it all works seamlessly.

More recent trends have seen cruise lines placing…

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Photo: Costa Cruises

As a former Cruise Director, Steve has been cruising the world for the past forty years. Bringing a new dimension to cruise journalism, he continues to spin the globe searching for off the grid cruise adventures and unplugged destinations to share with Porthole Cruise Magazine readers.