Costa by Carnival: when fun meets Italian architecture

Glen Aprile explains how Carnival Venezia and Carnival Firenze will transport guests to Italy  

Costa by Carnival: when fun meets Italian architecture

Carnival Cruise Line 

Carnival Venezia’s Lido deck will evoke the Italian Riveria

By Alice Chambers |

Carnival Cruise Line is renowned for delivering fun and memorable vacation offerings whilst sister brand Costa Cruises is known for primarily catering to the Italian cruise market. In June 2022, the brands revealed they would collaborate on a new ‘Costa by Carnival’ experience and transfer Costa Venezia and Costa Firenze to the Carnival fleet. The interiors of both ships will be upgraded before they restart service. 

“Both ships bring many beautiful and unique spaces into the Carnival fleet, and the refurbishments aim to enhance the Carnival fun Italian-style theming,” says Glenn Aprile, director of newbuilds and product development for Carnival Cruise Line. “We’re making updates across the ships to combine both of the cruise lines’ offerings.” 

Carnival will merge Costa’s Italian interior style with its own service, food and entertainment, beginning with the debut of Carnival Venezia in June 2023. To accommodate this, Costa Venezia was first to undergo a refurbishment at Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain.  

“We’re introducing a new accommodation concept called Terrazza staterooms, which will be similar to the Havana staterooms on other Carnival ships,” says Aprile. “Located across decks five to nine at the rear of the ship, the Terrazza staterooms include interior, balcony and special Terrazza Cabana cabins, which have private patios with plush loungers and a hammock. The patios also offer direct access to Terrazza Carnevale, an outdoor terraced deck featuring two whirlpools, a bar and lounging space to take in the ocean views.” 

The interior design of Carnival Venezia is fully inspired by the Italian city of Venice, whilst Carnival Firenze will evoke the North Italian city of Florence. 

“Many of Carnival Venezia’s public spaces incorporate elements that bring Venice’s world-famous architecture to life onboard, such as a real gondola in the dining room that is modelled after those found on the city’s famous Grand Canal,” says Aprile.  

“Our ships all welcome guests with beautiful atriums, but the atriums on Carnival Venezia will invoke a different kind of awe. It captures the vibe of Venice’s main public square, the Piazza San Marco. Live music will fill the atrium and cast members in Venetian costumers will entertain guests in true Venetian style.”  

Furthermore, Carnival Venezia will feature the first Lido deck in the Carnival fleet, which is designed to evoke the Italian Riveria and has a central pool with a retractable roof so guests can use the space in all weathers. This deck will also feature cafes and lounges.  

Alongside signature Carnival restaurants and bars, the brand has also introduced new concepts focused on Italian cuisine and beverages. They include La Stada Grill, an Italian street food venue; Tomodoro, a restaurant combining popular Mexican and Italian dishes; Guy’s Burger Joint, which will offer special burger options made from Italian ingredients; and Canal Grande and Marco Polo Restaurants, which will serve three-course Italian meals and feature Italian architecture and sculptures. 

“Since Italian-American culture has had such a great influence in New York, and as the US city is known for its food, many of the culinary offerings onboard Carnival Venezia will feel like an extension to New York dining,” explains Aprile. “For example, we will have an evening ‘Festa Italiana’ on the Lido deck, which is inspired by festivals in places like Little Italy in New York City. 

“We’ll also introduce the Amari Bar, which will be similar to the Alchemy bars across the Carnival fleet. Another new bar concept will be Frizzante, where guests can try a variety of bubbly drinks, and Rococó, which will serve refreshing frozen drinks.” 

From the reimagined landmark features to the art displayed throughout the ships, both Carnival Venezia and Carnival Firenze have a wealth of onboard features that will transport guests to Italy the moment they step onboard, according to Aprile.  

“The architectural immersion is what will make these ships almost like destinations in themselves and it has influenced everything we’ve planned – from food and drinks to entertainment.” 

This article was first published in the 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Interiors for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door. 

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