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Costa Fortuna
A Preview of Caribbean "Cruising Italian Style"

by Linda Coffman

November 2007 -- To celebrate both the debut of Costa Fortuna in the Caribbean and Costa Cruises' 60-year Diamond Anniversary, Costa offered the opportunity for travel partners and media to tour the ship and spend a night on board upon her arrival in Fort Lauderdale.

Once checked in, I discovered we were assigned a suite for our overnight "slumber party" (sadly, we were docked all night). Although we didn't spend much time there, I certainly appreciated the spacious and extremely comfortable accommodations. My favorite feature was the dressing area with vanity table in a small hallway leading to the marble bathroom where I found two sinks, deluxe toiletries, and a combination jetted tub/shower enclosed by sliding doors. With its large closets and plenty of drawer space, I didn't want to leave. And I haven't even mentioned the sitting area with sofa and easy chair and huge veranda.

More than 60% of Costa Fortuna's accommodations have an ocean view, and 60% of those also feature a private veranda. With a double-occupancy capacity of 2,720 passengers (maximum capacity 3,470), accommodations include Grand Suites (8), Suites (42), Mini-suites (14), Oceanview Staterooms with Veranda (456), Oceanview Staterooms with Windows or Portholes (321), and Inside Staterooms (490). Twenty-seven staterooms are equipped to meet the needs of handicapped travelers; numerous connecting Oceanview Staterooms are suitable for families.

I felt right at home on Costa Fortuna, and small wonder--at 105,000 tons, the ship is basically a slightly smaller Euro-clone of parent company Carnival Cruise Lines' Conquest-class vessels and we'd just sailed on Carnival Freedom the previous week. That made it a bit easier to complete my whirlwind tour, although the size and mix of Costa Fortuna public rooms is slightly different. For instance, in the style favored by Europeans, the casino was made smaller to add room for the Conte Di Savoia Grand Bar that houses a suitably large dance floor.

Overall, Costa Fortuna is bold and sparkling without being garish or gaudy. Copies of posters and advertisements from the 1920s and 1930s adorn Costa Fortuna's public areas and interiors celebrate Italian passenger liners as well as the entire Costa fleet, past and present, up to the time of Costa Fortuna's launch in 2003. In fact, you'll find the fleet of 26 former and present Costa ships "sailing" on the Atrium ceiling. Oddly, the up-side vessels add a whimsical touch to an otherwise dignified space and the view from the Atrium upper levels is fun, although it reminded me somewhat of the movie Poseidon Adventure. Another bit of fancy are door handles fashioned in the shape of a Costa funnel.

In a word, her interiors are stylish, but not boring. Designed by Carnival's ship architect Joe Farcus, public spaces are reserved, yet without being humorless. Artwork throughout is captivating, although if I had one disappointment it is that the decor in Club Grande Conte--the specialty restaurant--was somewhat uninspired. 

After touring the ship, we enjoyed a fantastic celebratory dinner followed by a special presentation featuring Costa Fortuna's entertainers in the main show lounge. Other evening highlights were typical of Costa's activities during Caribbean cruises: a pizza tossing demonstration, bocce ball games, a comedy show, and dancing in the main lounges. Costa really knows how to throw a party!

You won't want to miss the additional images in Cruise Diva's photo tour of the magnificent Costa Fortuna.

Costa Fortuna, which replaced sister ship Costa Magica in the region, has now begun her season of Eastern, Western, and Southeastern Caribbean sailings that continue through April 2008. Unfortunately, she set sail without us, but now that we've sampled "Cruising Italian Style," we look forward to the opportunity to experience a real cruise soon.

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