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Costa Concordia ResizedIn the aftermath of the Costa Concordia crash over the weekend in the waters off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio, details of exactly what went wrong are still rolling in as search-and-rescue operations wind down and the ship’s “black box” is reviewed. Of the more than 4,200 people onboard, six perished in the accident and some 14 passengers remain unaccounted for – though rescue operations are currently halted due to safety and environmental concerns. Initial indications are pointing to grave human error on the part of Captain Francesco Schettino, who took an unauthorized route that brought the vessel too close to shore where it hit a reef (which caused it to take on water and ultimately topple over), and then failed to put standard Costa emergency procedures into place once the accident had occurred (he is currently under arrest, facing possible charges of manslaughter, as well as accusations of abandoning the ship prior to the completion of its evacuation).

Regardless of the cause of the Concordias demise, current Costa Cruises ticket holders (the cruise line is owned by the Carnival Corporation) may find themselves understandably jostled by the whole event, especially given the widely published disturbing images of the partially submerged vessel and tales of a chaotic evacuation scene (parallels to the Titanic – which is commemorating the centennial of its sinking in April – have been widely drawn). We’ve been in touch with the folks at Costa and sifted through their policies and press releases to bring you the lowdown on what prospective Costa cruisers can expect in the months ahead. Read more

costa-cruise.jpgUnexpected wind gusts and bad weather conditions are reportedly at fault for the Costa Europa’s crash late last night, which left three crew members dead and three others injured. While in route from Dubai to Savona, the ship slammed into the side of a pier in Sharm El Sheik resort, Egypt. The tragic incident comes just days after Costa celebrated the launch of its newest ship, the Costa Deliziosa.

Although passengers have been evacuated and moved to hotels, some have already reported on various cruise blogs that the ship was “taking on water,” and has “suffered serious damages.”

costa-luminosa_costa-deliziosa.jpgCosta Deliziosa, the 15th member of the Costa family, has successfully completed its sea trials and is now one step closer to its Grand Maiden cruise which embarks from Savona February 5. The ship will be inaugurated in Dubai on February 23 – marking the first time the city will be hosting a naming ceremony. Deliziosa will offer onboard entertainment that mirrors that of her sister ship the Costa Luminosa, including a Grand Prix race car driving simulator, a 4-D theater, a putting green, and roller skating rink. Costa Deliziosa will sail a series of 7-night cruises from Dubai, and will then re-position to Northern Europe in late spring.

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Costa Atlantic on HarborItalian-based Costa Cruises, operator of Europe’s largest cruise fleet (and a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation since 2000), has just wrapped up its very first stint sailing the New England / Canada circuit. The inaugural fall 2009 cruises between New York City and Quebec onboard Costa Atlantica (pictured here on NYC’s Hudson River yesterday), fell surprisingly under the radar of American travelers, with an estimated three quarters of the ship’s clientele touting European passports. Still, in-the-know American cruisers were privy to an exceptional chance to mingle with European travelers in a delightful Italian-inspired atmosphere, right here stateside. While the last ship has sailed on the New England/Canada season, the Costa Atlantic has one more stateside sailing left before moving onto her Caribbean-cruise-season perch in Fort Lauderdale – at bargain rates to boot. Snag a cabin on the 13-night October 25 repositioning sailing from Quebec to Fort Lauderdale (with stops in Boston, NYC, Bermuda, and more) for as little as $449, or just $35/night! Read more

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