Costa Toscana is named after the beautiful region in central Italy. The grand ship takes inspiration from Tuscany’s natural beauty, its wonderful cuisine, wines and, of course, the friendly hospitality that Italy is known for. Long-time partners Costa Cruises and Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading producer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa invited us to the sweetest and most exclusive culinary cruise in 2022: Chocolate Week.
Costa has been providing cruises since 1948 and today visits more than 260 ports around the world! The Mediterranean-inspired design and festive atmosphere embodies hospitality and people at its core focus. All the crew aboard Costa cruises are all true polyglots, switching effortlessly from French to Italian to German to English – always with a smile. Costa’s ships depart from a variety of ports around the world to bring you to destinations in the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, South America and beyond.
Costa Toscana is a tribute to Tuscany. It is the result of an extraordinary creative project, curated by Adam D. Tihany, to enhance and bring to life in a single location the colours and atmospheres of this wonderful Italian region, which gives its name to the ship, its decks, and main public areas.
From Montalcino to Pietrasanta, passing through Viareggio, Montecatini, Lucca, Pienza, Bolgheri, Montepulciano, Costa Toscana is a real tour of Tuscany, with lots of areas devoted to fun, taste and conviviality. Tihany took advantage of the collaboration of an international pool of prestigious architectural firms – Dordoni Architetti, Jeffrey Beers International, Partner Ship Design and Rockwell Group – who were asked to design the different parts of the ship.
Innovative and Sustainable
Costa Toscana has been designed to be a floating smart city where sustainable solutions and circular economy concepts are applied to reduce environmental impact. Thanks to the use of liquefied natural gas, it is possible to almost remove emissions into the atmosphere, while also significantly lowering nitrogen oxide (direct reduction of 85%) and CO2 (up to 20%) emissions. The entire daily supply of the ship is met by transforming sea water using desalinators. Energy consumption is minimised thanks to an intelligent energy efficiency system. In addition, 100% separate waste collection and recycling of materials such as plastic, paper, glass and aluminium are carried out on board, which is part of an integrated approach aimed at implementing circular economy projects.
Costa Toscana has a truly incredible gastronomic offering, with no less than 21 restaurants and areas dedicated to gastronomy. I really enjoyed the traditional cruise dining model where you are allocated one restaurant and the menu changes every day. This way you get to know the team and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting Victor (who had been with Costa for 18 years) and all the team at Le Anfore Restaurant. This is also a great way of avoiding overcrowding and a refined, relaxed dining experience.
On board there is a focus on Destination Dishes, which are individual dishes interpreting the tradition and flavours of the place that will be visited the following day. They are available at the main restaurants of Costa Toscana, and always included as part of the package and cruise price.
On Costa Toscana, guests can enjoy Michelin star menus created by the legendary Bruno Barbieri, Hélène Darroze and Ángel León. The Archipelago restaurant allows for a truly unique culinary experience, with three menus to choose from, one for each chef. The menus are composed of 5 refined dishes, designed to explore through food that part of the sea that guests are sailing. Both the restaurant’s concept and design are equally as innovative.
Archipelago features “island” tables for a more intimate experience, framed by a copper sculpture enclosing unique pieces of driftwood, and installations made using wood salvaged from the shore. There is a special focus on the theme of sustainability. The chefs’ menus, just like the Destination Dishes, were designed with the greatest attention to the ingredients – most of them sourced from local producers. For every dinner eaten at the Archipelago, Costa will donate part of the proceeds to Costa Crociere Foundation, to support environmental and social projects.
For the chocolate lovers, world-class pastry chefs from Italy, Spain, France and Germany (members of the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy) joined Costa’s head pastry chef Riccardo Bellaera on chocolate week to take guests on a journey around the fine art of pastry and chocolate.
We enjoyed chocolate biscuits every day in our cabin and there was a really immersive chocolate experience throughout with special chocolate dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was a plethora of chocolate-themed activities offered all across the ship: chocolate cocktails at the bars, melted chocolate tastings, and even chocolate spa treatments.
Other culinary highlights from the overwhelming choice of restaurants include La Sagra dei Sapori’s buffet restaurant, where you’ll find a brilliant range of food to choose from. It’s a great option for a group with different tastes. Another special dining option we recommend is the Teppanyaki, grilled Japanese cuisine. The unique experience goes far beyond the expected East Asian flavours. Show cooking is part of the experience where the interaction between the chefs and guests makes it a truly fun event. From flying ingredients and acrobatic utensils, it is truly a culinary spectacle.
With a choice of 19 bars and lounges, you are never short on somewhere new to explore. Be sure to explore and plan the options as they include many new and specialised options, including themed bars in collaboration with major Italian and international partners, such as the Campari Lounge, two Aperol spritz Bars, and Heineken Star Club & Bistro. Look out for a range of renowned spirits and our favourite Jacquart champagne, which was included in the My Drinks Plus package.
Comfortable and elegant, even the rooms reflect the Italian style and taste. Designed by the Milanese studio Dordoni Architetti, retrace the colours and geometries of the places of reference of each deck, giving the interior space brightness and warmth. There is a room for everyone’s budget and taste with a total of 2,663 guest rooms on board Costa Toscana, including 28 suites, 106 rooms with terraces, 1,534 rooms with balconies, 168 outdoor rooms and 827 indoor rooms.
Our cabin on deck 15 Milano, the premium stateroom, offers vibrant colours, unique design accents, and comfortable furnishings. Detailed touches include multiple lighting options, from overhead mood lighting and reading light over the sofa, to the super comfortable and inviting bed smartly positioned with attractive shades of blue geometric shapes on the wall.
The floor-to-ceiling glass doors open up to the ocean, as well as a spacious sitting area to enjoy the ocean breeze. The marble-clad bathroom with a separate shower stall separated by frosted glass windows. Not to mention the multiple storage racks and shelves built into the bathroom design.
For those looking for something grand, the GS-Grand Suites will be the best cabin for you, the biggest among the cabins categories on board the ship and feature large balconies, a huge bathroom, bigger living area with a double sofa-bed, and dressing room.
Destinations and Itinerary
Costa Toscana offers weeklong cruises exploring some of the most beautiful destinations in Spain, Italy and France, calling at Savona, Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Ibiza, Valencia and Marseille. From mid-October until the end of the year, Palma de Mallorca will replace Ibiza. Our highlight was spending the day in Naples. Costa Toscana docks in the heart of Naples where we ate pizza, looked around the markets and climbed to the top of Chiostri di San Martino.
Something to look out for: from December 17, 2022 to March 11, 2023, Costa Toscana will offer a week-long itinerary to the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Costa Toscana’s new offer will provide more time for visiting the destinations included in the itinerary, thanks to the two-day, one-night-long calls to Dubai, Muscat and Abu Dhabi. On the New Year’s cruise, the overnight call will be in Dubai only, to celebrate the New Year in style.
The entertainment hub of Costa Toscana is the Colosseo, a space in the middle of the ship spread over three decks, dedicated to shows. The great thing here is that you don’t need to book to see shows – just turn up and enjoy. The big screens, positioned on the walls and on the dome, offer the possibility of creating a different story in each port of call and at any time of day, from dawn to dusk, for vocal and visual performances ranging from guest headliners to full-blown dance productions of cover songs by Annie Lennox, Coldplay, and Jennifer Lopez. Circling the Colosseo are popular bars and lounges spanning deck 6, 7 and 8, including the popular Campari Bar, Kartell Caffe Coffee bar and Caffe Vergnao 1882. If you want to watch the fun from the comfort of your room, the entertainment is screened live as well.
Other entertainment venues include Sanremo Theatre, where you can be entertained by musical acts and other live performances. For something more upbeat is the aft-facing outdoor Infinity bar on Deck 7, where the DJ spins tunes until late in the night with plenty of intimate outdoor seating – great for cigars and a late night-cap overlooking the ocean.
Explore the ship
One of the most unique features compared to any other cruises out there is the indoor-outdoor La Spiaggia Beach Club, which spans two decks and is topped with a massive glass-domed roof. The roof does not retract and instead offers windows that allows guest to use in all weather conditions.
Some of the ship’s best features include the spectacular Volare Skywalk that whisks guests from Deck 18 to a prominent perch high above the ship’s two waterslides (great for viewing) and the sports court for a panoramic view of the entire vessel. To relax and enjoy the sun, there are also four swimming pools, one of which is covered with salt water, with a private sun deck on Deck 19, reserved for adults-only, offering a chance to escape the bustle of the main areas to enjoy the pool and jacuzzis in peace.
Another amazing area on board Costa Toscana is the Sole Mio wellness area, featuring a beauty salon, sauna, hammam, thalassotherapy pool, 16 treatment rooms and the snow, salt and relaxation rooms. Those who like to keep fit even on a cruise can count on a gym and a multi-sports field with views of the sea.
In a nutshell
Our experience aboard Costa Toscana embodied the Italian cruising experience. The chocolate week was immersive and added to the brilliant destinations we stopped at in the Western Med.
To discover more, visit: costacruises.co.uk
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All imagery courtesy of Costa Cruises.