Costa Neo Romantica is equipped with features like the largest spa complex and the only wood-fire oven at sea, making it the favored ship for long and short-term cruises
The giant white ship stood at attention at Tokyo’s Oi Wharf, surrounded by a complex of massive shipping containers on one side, and giant tents set up for the embarkation process on the other. This was Costa Neo Romantica, the cruise ship in the Costa Crociere fleet that services the Asian market. Embarking on a six-day cruise down the length of some of Japan’s coastal cities with a quick stop at Jeju, Korea, is both welcoming and imposing.
Formerly known as Costa Romantica and built in 1993, the entire vessel was refurbished on November 2011, with two half decks added to increase the tonnage to 57,139 and passenger capacity to 1,800. Renamed Costa Neo Romantica, she is capable of a maximum speed of 20 knots. With 789 guest cabins and 10 decks (plus two for crew use), it is named after famous European cities. The entire ship is swathed in luxury from the public rooms furnished in rare woods, carrara marble and works of art available for the perusal of guests on board, and a premium spa for rest and relaxation.
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Costa Neo Romantica features six room types, with the most exclusive being the Grand Suite. Standing at 48.3-square meters, it has a double bed that can convert to two single beds and one sofa bed, generous closet space, a changing room and bathroom with two sinks and a jacuzzi. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors lead to a spacious balcony with lounge seating, allowing guests to take in the sunrise and the fresh breeze in the privacy of their own rooms.
Special suite amenities include access to a private VIP area in the terminal for embarkation, a personal valet for the entire duration of the cruise, a beverage package, assorted fruit replaced daily, and a whole day to spend at the spa.
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Situated in the ship are five restaurants that offer an authentic Italian experience. Botticelli Fine Dining Restaurant is the main restaurant, and offers Italian and Asian selections, with an exclusive dining area for suite guests. Surrounding diners on the walls are detailed shots of Sandro Botticelli’s masterworks. Giardino Buffet Restaurant has a more relaxed ambiance, with buffet options offering a variety of dishes to suit everyone on board. For those in the mood for steak, the Seafood & Steak House Restaurant features a menu with top-rated meat cuts and unforgettable seafood. For a premium Italian experience, Ristorante Casanova has a two-Michelin star restaurant menu designed by six Michelin star winner, Chef Umberto Bombana. Lovers of pizza will be happy to see that Pizzeria Capri is the only restaurant at sea with a wooden-fired oven facility, which means freshly made, Italian-style delicious pizza is offered every day.
For those in search of a night cap, options include the Verona Wine & Cheese Bar with a wide selection of Italian and rare wines paired with a sumptuous cheese selection. The Cafeteria is a coffee and chocolate lounge, where those on board can drink their hot drinks while listening to performances from an Italian tenor and solo pianist. The Cigar Lounge has in stock a rare cigar collection, along with cocktails, whiskey and snacks.
Livelier entertainment options are found at the Tango Disco, a mixologist bar with karaoke equipment, and Cabaret Vienna, which houses evening performances and has a relaxed ambiance for those who wish to socialize. The Grand Bar is the biggest entertaining complex, complete with evening shows, an international music band, dance classes and theme night parties.
An area to escape to for peace and relaxation is the Samsara Spa, which is the largest spa facility at sea at 4,400 square meters. The wide range of spa treatments include a gym, a thalassotherapy pool, saunas, a Turkish bath, a hot and cold massage room, facial treatments using Elemis products, and a hot and cold steam room.
On the top deck, the Saint Tropez Pool is open for everyone, while a more private spot is the Montecarlo deck, with an open air jacuzzi available for rent. A jogging track gives both opportunity for exercise and a place to shoot pictures, offering glorious views of the seascape and distant land.
When the boat docked on the last day for disembarkation, it was with a heavy heart that guests waved goodbye to the friendly crew. It was now time to get back to the real world, with memories forever made on this vessel at sea that offered a sense of Italy on Asian shores.
For more information and bookings please visit www.costacruises.com
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