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Costa Europa

Costa Europa

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Ship Specifications
Year Built: 1986 Age Restrictions: At least one person in each
Year Refurbished: 2002 room must be 21 years of age or older.
Previous Name: Westerdam Seating Assignments: Assigned (2 seatings)
Guest Occupancy: 1,488 Assigned Dining Hours: 7:00 pm or 9:00 pm
Crew: 636 Internet Access: Yes
Tonnage: 54,763 tons Bars/Lounges: 7
Length: 797 feet Spa: Yes
Beam: 95 feet Fitness Center : Yes
Cruising Speed: 19 knots Swimming Pools: 2
Decks: 12 Hot Tubs: 2
Ship's Registry: Italy Bowling Alley: No
Casino: Yes Rock Climbing Wall: No
Show Room: Yes Ice Skating Rink: No
Disco/Night Club: Yes 24-Hour Room Service: Yes
Library: Yes Hair Dryer in Room: Yes

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Costa Europa will become (effective April 2010) a part of the U.K.-based Thomson Cruises brand. Upon this change the ship will be renamed Thomson Dream and will be sailing on 7-night Mediterranean cruises out of Palma. It has been reported that Thomson Cruises will be chartering this ship for ten years, with an option to purchase it any time after the first five years. Thomson Dream will be the largest ship in the Thomson Cruises fleet. Cruises on Thomson Dream went on sale as of July 16, 2009.

Overview
Costa Europa was originally launched in 1986 as the MS Homeric, for Home Lines (an Italian company). When in 1988 Home Lines ceased to exist, after its merger with Holland America Line, this ship was then renamed the ms Westerdam and transferred into Holland America's fleet. A major change to her structure occurred in 1990 when Holland America had her lengthened and refurbished. Finally, in 2002 she was transferred into the Costa cruise fleet and renamed Costa Europa. During this transition Costa had her refurbished, performing several updates that reflect a more European style. However, even today you'll still notice some of the Dutch influence of Holland America throughout the ship.

The Europa is one of the older ships in the Costa cruise fleet. However, she has been well maintained throughout the years, to help her keep up with the rest of the ever-changing cruise industry. Onboard you'll notice a definite European theme, as many of the styles reflect the Old World. In particular, there is an influence of Greek mythology onboard the Europa (as each of her decks is named after someone in Greek mythology, such as Hercules and Orion).

The Europa doesn't have quite the features that the younger ships in Costa fleet have (such as spa accommodations), but she does offer a decent value. Among the more popular features found onboard Costa Europa are her casino, show room, shopping areas, as well as many bars and lounges.



Destinations & Itineraries
Costa Europa will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):

2010: Middle East



Staterooms
Costa Europa has a slightly below average range of accommodations available, from inside staterooms to full suites. We say this because there are no staterooms with balconies onboard this ship. All of the staterooms onboard Costa Europa come with a private bathroom, air conditioning, safe, mini bar (from which they charge you for anything you eat/drink), 220-volt and 110-volt outlets, hair dryer, satellite TV and phone.

Inside Staterooms:
The interior staterooms onboard Costa Europa have all of the standard features listed above, plus two lower beds that can be converted into one queen-size bed. Inside staterooms (which are categories I1, I2, I3 and I4) can be found onboard the Europa on decks 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. Such accommodations are about 157 square feet in size.

Oceanview Staterooms: The Europa's standard oceanview staterooms (at about 201 square feet) feature everything her inside staterooms have, plus a window giving its guests a view outside of the ship. Such accommodations are on decks 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10, and are classified as categories E1 through E6. A category E7 is a deluxe oceanview stateroom, which is only available on deck 9. A category ES stateroom is a single occupancy oceanview stateroom, a rarity in today's cruising world. Such a stateroom is approximately 127 square feet in size and can be found on decks 4, 5 and 7 (and are in very limited quantity).

Suites: Guests staying in suites onboard the Europa get the following special added amenities: daily delivery of lunch and dinner menus, choice of pillows (via a special Pillow Menu), bathrobes and slippers to use while on the cruise, as well as a kit of bath products.

The most basic suites onboard Costa Europa are her five category S staterooms. These cabins are all located on deck 7, and are a spacious 416 square feet each, featuring an oceanview and sitting area. The most premium accommodations onboard the Europa are her six (category GS) Gran Suites, which are 552 square feet and are all located on deck 11.



Dining
Being an Italian cruise line that heavily focuses on "Cruising Italian Style," the majority of the food onboard Costa is Italian. However, other options can be found onboard (including a few typical American favorites).

Each night of the cruise typically has a different theme in the main dining room, Orion Restaurant, which is located on deck 4 (the lowest passenger level on the Europa). The menu in this venue reflects each particular evening's theme. For example, there may be a Caribbean Dinner, an Italian Dinner, an American Dinner, or even a Bacchanal Dinner (a classical Rome-inspired evening, where guests may wear togas to dinner). Besides the varying menu each night, there will always be a few additional options on the menu that remain constant (for those that aren't crazy about that particular theme's selections), including various meats, fish and pasta dishes. The menus in this venue are printed in Italian, with a second language (such as English, Spanish and German) below each description. The main dining room has an assigned seating setup for dinner, where you are assigned to either a main or late seating and dine at the same table each night (with the same wait staff serving you). Be sure when initially booking your cruise that you select the dining time you want, and please be aware that it may be on a waitlist.

There may be cooking demonstrations performed in public spaces during select days on some of Costa's voyages. When these are available they're quite a treat to see.

The Club Europa (located on deck 11) is the optional specialty restaurant (also known as a Club Restaurant) onboard Costa Europa. This upscale venue offers a wonderful à la carte menu (designed by a Michelin three-star chef), with a $20 per person cover charge and $3 per person gratuity (both which are subject to change). You can make reservations for this restaurant prior to your cruise, or while on your cruise (based on availability).

There are a few casual dining options onboard Costa Europa. Among them is the large Andromeda Restaurant Buffet, located on deck 9, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Another option is the Sirens Buffet, which is on deck 11 (aft of the pool).

Don't forget that 24 hour room service is available for all passengers. There is a basic complimentary menu, but it's an excellent option for a late night snack, or for when you're feeling a little lazy and would rather the food come to you. There are a few items on the menu that you can order at an additional cost, such as bar drinks.



Onboard Features
Because all of the Europa's interior and oceanview staterooms are located on the first four passenger decks, there are a ton of public spaces higher up on the ship.

Costa Europa has a few entertainment venues. Among them is the two-deck high Atlante Theater, the Europa's main show lounge. A different show is performed at this venue each evening. Examples of possible performances may include comedians, Broadway-style production shows, singers, acrobats and musicians. The Lerna Casino, featuring many slot machines and gaming tables, is located on deck 9. This area of the ship can get especially crowded during the evening, after one of the shows ends from the main show lounge. Located right by the casino is Ladonte Disco, featuring a dance floor and bar. Another place to dance is the Medusa Ballroom, located on deck 7.

There are quite a few bars and lounges throughout the ship as well. Among them is the Ocean Bar, Delo Bar (a cognac and cigar bar) and Argo Lounge. There will also be a bunch of staff members circulating throughout the outdoor and buffet areas, asking if you'd like a drink. As you might assume, you shouldn't have any problems finding somewhere to grab a drink while onboard Costa Europa.

There is a shopping gallery (known as the Hercules Square Shops) on deck 8, which is where a wide range of duty-free items can be purchased. Among the most popular things for sale is jewelry, liquor, perfume and clothing. Also on that deck is the photo shop and photo gallery, where you can purchase the professional pictures that the ship's photo staff members take of you during your cruise. Other areas on deck 8 are the card room, Venus Beauty Salon, a chapel, the Squok Club (the main base of Costa's children's program), the library and internet center, as well as the guest services desk (where you can go with general questions or to check out your onboard account). The shore excursion desk is located forward on deck 6.

There are a couple of swimming pools onboard the Europa. One of them (the Lido Sirens) is located on deck 11 and is part of a solarium. There are a couple of hot tubs nearby this pool. The other swimming pool, the Lido Andromeda, is located aft on deck 9 (also in a solarium). Nearby each of the Europa's swimming pools are many lounge chairs and tables, great for relaxing in the sun or grabbing a bite to eat outdoors.

The spa and fitness center is located on deck 10. In this area are a couple of saunas, various fitness equipments and a couple of massage treatment rooms. Located even higher up onboard the Europa, on deck 12 are a couple of practice tennis courts.


Dress Code and Attire
During the day people dress casual while onboard a Costa cruise. Examples of such dress include light, cotton clothing or swimwear with cover up when indoors. Some tours prohibit shorts and sleeveless shirts, and may require ladies to wear knee-length skirts or slacks.

Almost every night on a Costa cruise is informal. Costa asks you to feel free to dress comfortably in resort attire, as jackets are not required. Depending on your cruise's length, there are usually one or two formal nights. If you choose to dress formally, Costa recommends a suit for men and a cocktail dress for women. You may also dress more casually on such nights, in elegant resort wear.



Children Programs
Costa's children's program, called Costa Kids Program, varies based on the number of children onboard each sailing and on the particular ship and itinerary. When in full effect, this program offers four age-based children's programs:

Mini: ages 3 (out of diapers) to 6
Maxi: ages 7 to 11
Teen Junior: ages 12 to 14
Teen: ages 15 to 17

The Costa Kids Program is an interactive program that provides daily activities for children and teens. Activities vary based on age-group and include activities such as costume parties, sports tournaments, evening parties, treasure hunts, board games and junior aerobics.

The parents of children in either the Mini or Maxi groups are able to take advantage of free nighttime group babysitting (held in the children's area until 1:30 am). Nighttime babysitting is not available for children under 36 months of age.

Children have special counselors and a room designed for their activities. Children under the age of 3 are allowed to enter and stay in the room only during certain times (not during busy times in high season) and must be accompanied by an adult. Children's activities vary by ship and itinerary, as the number of children varies by sailing and programs are adjusted accordingly. Infants under the age of 6 months at the time of boarding are not allowed on board. This lower age limit is raised to 12 months for cruises lasting 15 days or more.


Tipping and Gratuities
Costa will automatically charge your onboard expense account a per person, per day "service charge" to cover many of the staff members (such as the dining room staff and room stewards) that service you throughout your cruise.

Costa's service charge is based on your cruise's destination and duration. It is as follows (subject to change):

Destination
Cruise Length
Charge per adult (per day)
14 to 17 year olds
Under 14
Caribbean
(departing from a US port)
Up to 8-nights
$10
50% of adult charge
No charge
Over 8-nights
$8
Caribbean
(departing from a non-US port)
Up to 8-nights
6 Euro
Over 8-nights
4.50 Euro
Europe
Up to 8-nights
6 Euro
Over 8-nights
4.50 Euro
Far East (Asia)
Over 8-nights
6 Euro
South America
Up to 8-nights
$6
Over 8-nights
$4.50
Transatlantic
Any Duration
4.50 Euro

If you'd like to increase or decrease the amount charged by Costa for service charges, you may do so by contacting your ships' Guest Relations Desk (prior to the end of your cruise).

A 15% gratuity will automatically be added to any beverage purchases you make. It is at your discretion to tip bartenders, servers, deck stewards and various other staff members, if you so desire.


Alcohol Policy
The minimum drinking age on all Costa cruise ships departing from a US port is 21 years of age. If the ship departs from a non-US port, the minimum drinking age is 18 years old. Any bottles of alcohol that you purchase onboard the ship (in the gift shop) or at a port of call will be held for you by the staff, until disembarkation.


Gambling Policy
The minimum gambling age on all Costa cruise ships is 18 years of age.


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