Costa Lines was established in 1924 but sailed with only freighters untill 1947 when the Maria C. recieved some passenger accomodation (120 passengers besides cargo). One year later, the Anna C. was their first purpose built passenger liner, operating mostly on the Genoa-South America run. This was the main Costa passenger line. Costa Lines grew larger and at their best years they were the largest passengerline in the western world, only surpassed by the Russian communist fleet. Costa is now again part of the biggest cruisecompany in the world and especially from the second half of the nineties onwards, the fleet was rapidly growing with big cruiseliners. From the year 2000 onwards, the line added some 100.000-plus tonnage ships based on an improved Destiny-class design.
Costa Romantica during a stay in Amsterdam in the summer of 2001.
Costa Romantica and her slightly older sister Costa Classica were the first megaships of the Costa Line. The introduced the 'Euroluxe' concept to the company, being far bigger than the older ex-liners in the Costa fleet at the time. In the year 2000, their homeports changed from Monrovia to Genoa and they became part of the ever growing Italian passengerfleet. Because a lot of European countries made it more profitable to reflag the foreign passengerliners again back to their own colours, this has become common the last years.
Just after these two ships entered service, two even bigger ships were ordered for Costa and they would recieve the names Costa Victoria and Costa Olympia. They were built at the Bremer Vulkan Werke at Vegesack, Germany. Their tonnage was 75.000 and they were built to transport around 2000 holidaymakers. But a few months after Costa Victoria was floated out, the wharf went bankrupt and work on her sistership stopped when this ship was complete for 35%. This second ship was sold to Norwegian Cruise Line and they brought her into service in 1999 as Norwegian Sky. Costa Victoria sailed her first cruise from Venice at the 28th of july 1996. She was rebuilt in 2004 when she recieved 246 balconies for her outside cabins because this became the new standard for modern cruiseliners.
At the end of the year 2000, far bigger liners had entered the fleet of Costa and the former biggest Italian liners ever were becoming the smallest. Costa planned a lenghtening for the ships at the old Cammell-Laird wharf at Birkenhead, so on the 23th of november 2000 Costa Classica went to the English wharf. Not everything went as smoothly as it should be and the middle part arrived far too late for Costa. They ordered the ship back and Cammell Laird stayed with the costs and went bankrupt. In 2011 was announced that Costa Romantica would be rebuilt in the winter of 2011/ 2012 and re-emerge as the Costa neoRomantica. At least this will be a very neo-naming system in the cruise industry. The new looks of the ship are not welcomed by everyone, see her page, but her inside is really splendid. So she is a typical example that you do not judge a woman on her looks and it is the inside that counts most...
In 2012, Costa came in the news in a terrible way, when at the 13th of january one of their 110.000-ton flagships Costa Concordia hit rocks at the Italian island of Giglio. The ship was holed badly and unable to be manouvred properly she capsized and came to rest on a shallow piece of rock close to the port of the island. In all, 32 people lost their lives and it was the first time as modern cruiseliner was lost. Luckily, the ship drifted towards the island, otherwise, 2012 would be remembered as the year a modern Titanic went down. Because of the list of the ship, half of the lifeboats could not be lowered and this would probably have caused a still more horrific number of fatalities. Costa Concordia was finally refloated in july 2014 after the largest maritime operation since the removal of the wreck of Normandie in the port of New York in the 1940's. Another blow came a month later, when Costa Allegra suffered a major engine room fire. Luckily, nobody was injured but because of the Concordia tragedy it was widely covered in the worlds media. Costa Allegra was too old to repair and she sailed of to the breakers yards at Aliaga, Turkey. At the end of 2012, Costa started building their new megaliner Costa Diadema, but rumours suggest that the order had been tried to be postponed or even cancelled due to the financial markets at the time. despite this, Costa Diadema was built as te largest ship of Costa Cruises and the ship had her technical launch from the Fincantieri yards at the 15th of november 2013. The 5000-passenger ship will be sailing her first cruise during october of 2014.
Next to this, at the same time Costa announced a new concept within their fleet, the Costa neoCollection. Not so much a new company within the fleet, but a new style of cruising aboard the smaller ships within the fleet. Within Costa neoCollection, passengers can customize their cruise by chosing their own extra's like special evenings or small-group excursions ashore. Also, the style of the ships is much more sophisticated then with the larger, American market orientated ships within the fleet. Next to this, the ships will have longer stopovers in ports visited and 'local culture' is highlighted during the cruise, which will mainly mean that cuisine is locally orientated. This all will offer the passenger a 'more leisury cruising experience. The new naming style for those ships was introduced by the smallish Costa neoRomantica (that had been the companies largest ship in 1991) and this was followed by the former Grand Mistral of Iberocruceros. As Costa neoRiviera she officially started the neoCollection with a cruise departing Dubai at the 9th of february 2014.
Costa neoRomantica passing the IJmuiden Tata Steel plant on her way to Norway at the 26th of may 2016.
Costa is not only active in cruising, as the company is also working on improvement of life for the most vulnerable people in Genoa, the homeless. Through the Costa Crociere Foundation, that was formed in the fall of 2014, together with the community of Sant'Egidio, funds were provided for the renovation of six appartments in the central part of Genoa. Since january of 2015, twelve former homeless persons are housed there, including a family of four. Costa Corciere Foundation and the community of Sant'Egidio are also helping them to get back in social and economic life and this way, the company is doing something back for the city where it is connected to since its beginnings in the 1920's.
Several other ships that have been sailing or are now sailing under the Costa Cruises brand are also included at Castles Of The Seas, but those are placed under other companies. The following Costa Cruises ships are also present on the site:
World Renaissance (1978-1985) is placed as Grand Victoria
Danae (1979-1992) is placed under Classic International Crusies as Princess Danae
Costa Voyager (2012-2014) is placed as Grand Voyager under Iberocruceros
Costa neoRiviera (2014-onwards) is placed as Grand Mistral under Iberocruceros
For booking information, visit the website of Costa Crociere.