Innovation at Sea

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The solarium on board the Costa Deliziosa.
The solarium on board the Costa Deliziosa.

Whether it’s building a naturally powered ship with the largest guest capacity in the world or utilizing the latest technology to satisfy guests’ needs, there’s no shortage of innovations coming from the Genoa-based Costa Group, whose Costa Cruises line, interestingly enough, began as a party cruise—it’s come a long way, baby.

Costa Deliziosa's Sharãzãd Disco. 
Costa Deliziosa’s Sharãzãd Disco.

A Taste of Italy in the Tropics
Guests may find it difficult to believe that Costa Cruises started sailing out of Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades in the 1950s as a party cruise, but that is exactly what I, and group of journalists, learned on a recent press tour of the 2,260-passenger Costa Deliziosa ship. The cruise line returned to Port Everglades last December, docking the Costa Deliziosa at its new winter homeport in South Florida, where it is currently sailing on Caribbean itineraries with rates starting at $659 pp dbl.

Costa Cruises shed its “partying” ways in the ’60s, but still features plenty of onboard entertainment across its entire fleet. The Costa Deliziosa, in particular, features a playfield/sports area, a roller-skating track, and a putting green, plus a 209-seat nightclub, three jacuzzis, and three pools (one of which is for children). After the fun and games, guests can wind down in the solarium in the Samsara Spa, or watch the latest blockbuster movies at the on board 4-D cinema. Coming this spring, Costa Cruises will debut a completely unique form of onboard entertainment that combines robotic and emotive technologies.

Pepper, the world's first emotional robot, is scheduled to make "his" debut on board the AIDAprima and Costa Diadema ships this spring.
Pepper, the world’s first emotional robot, is scheduled to make “his” debut on board the AIDAprima and Costa Diadema ships this spring.

Pepper, the Emotional Robot, Earns His Sea Legs
Costa Group recently announced its plan to deploy the world’s first emotional robot, “Pepper,” on board its Costa Diadema ship in spring 2016. Pepper, a creation of the Japanese company SoftBank Robotics Corp. and the French company Aldebaran, is the first humanoid robot capable of reading main human emotions and interacting with people while taking its environment into account. Weighing in at just over 60 pounds, Pepper features a 3-D camera for detecting movement and a 10-inch touch screen that allows “him” to analyze expressions and voice tones to then provide recommendations and tips on restaurants, events and excursions in German, Italian and English. Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group, says that the advancement is “an important step towards a digital future for our brands” and is “once again continuing our tradition of innovation.” Expect to see the rest of Costa Group’s Pepper deployments on board the Costa fleet by summer 2016.

The Future Looks Green
In 2019 and 2020, Costa Cruises plans to launch two eco-friendly next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world. Approximately 750 Italian crew members will work the two ships, which will each exceed 180,000 gross tonnage, and offer more than 2,600 passenger cabins for a total capacity of 6,600 passengers. The Costa ships will be the first cruise ships powered at sea by liquefied natural gas, the cleanest burning fossil fuel. For more information, call (800) 462-6782 or visit costacruise.com.