The Costa Smeralda is a stunning part of the Mediterranean coast in Sardinia, Italy. It’s an island that is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and breathtaking landscapes.

The Costa Smeralda restaurants is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s also home to many of the most delicious restaurants in Europe.

Contributing writer Bruce Parkinson is on a four-night Mediterranean cruise with Costa Cruises this week. As he travels from Barcelona to Rome, Bruce will be writing daily trip reports to share his experiences.

That’s what I’m talking about when I say “Italian.”

One of my primary responsibilities as a member of the first North American media group to experience Costa Cruises’ Costa Smeralda is to determine what distinguishes the experience from that of a similar-sized ship catered primarily to Americans.

Costa Smeralda Trip Report, Day 1: Cruising Italian Style

Costa Smeralda is a small island off the coast of Italy (Photo courtesy of Costa Cruises)

The Smeralda draws cruisers from all over the world, including Italians, French, Germans, Spaniards, and Brits. North Americans make up a small proportion of passengers thus far, but owing to the pandemic, she has only been sailing irregularly since her launch in 2019.

Costa Smeralda Trip Report, Day 1: Cruising Italian Style

Costa Cruises is a Carnival Corporation subsidiary headquartered in Genoa, Italy. Carnival Cruise Lines’ new flagship Mardi Gras, which my colleague Doug Parker wrote extensively about during a recent voyage, shares a shell design — and a state-of-the-art liquefied natural gas power plant — with the line’s biggest ship ever.

My four-night cruise began in Barcelona and included stops in Spain’s Palma de Mallorca, Sicily’s Messina, and Rome. We’ve arrived at the first port since boarding the ship on Monday.

The boarding procedure started with a COVID-19 swab test at the airport, which took just 15 minutes to complete. Guests may board and debark at a variety of locations on the Costa Smeralda’s current seven-night circuit from Marseille, simplifying the process by ensuring that not everyone gets on and off at the same time. Because of the epidemic, current occupancy is about 60%, therefore there is plenty of room for everyone.

READ MORE: Costa Cruises Relaunches Mediterranean Sailings Aboard Flagship Costa Concordia

The Smeralda is the world’s fifth-largest cruise ship.

Costa Smeralda Trip Report, Day 1: Cruising Italian Style

Costa Smeralda is a small island off the coast of Italy (Photo courtesy of Costa Cruises)

The first priority was a ship tour to acquaint our group with the enormous 6,500-passenger, 20-deck, 185,000-gross-ton ship, which is now the sixth biggest in the world. Scott Knutson, Vice President Sales and Marketing for Costa’s U.S. branch in Miami, lead our team.

Despite the Delta variant’s recent rise, no COVID cases have been discovered aboard the Smeralda in the four weeks she has been sailing this route, according to Knutson.

“With almost 3,000 people on board, including staff, that’s incredible. Knutson said, “It’s working.”

Costa’s health standards influence all part of the experience, from obligatory online check-in and health surveys to free COVID testing in-terminal, daily automatic temperature checks, and mask restrictions both inside and outside while visitors are not eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer stations abound, and high-tech automatic hand-washing facilities may be seen at restaurant doors. Simply place your hands in the machine, and it will do the rest.

Costa Smeralda Trip Report, Day 1: Cruising Italian Style

Excursions on the Beach Are ‘Bubble-Style’

Shore excursions are bubble-style and must be purchased via Costa, and Smeralda passengers are not allowed to get off and roam about in ports. While this is a regret for many visitors, I’ve heard from a few of my fellow cruisers who are just delighted to be traveling again.

Despite the limitations, the atmosphere aboard is upbeat, with passengers enjoying the ship’s numerous facilities and excursions. These aren’t ordinary times, and visitors are mostly obeying the rules, with just a few exceptions.

Although Knutson claims that the overwhelming majority of visitors are properly vaccinated, proof of vaccination is not needed. Instead, the cruise company is relying on pre-cruise testing, as well as a second test on day four of the voyage, as well as the measures listed above.

Now for some lighter fare. The ship tour showed a number of stunning rooms, several of which were designed by famous hospitality designer Adam Tihany of New York. It’s less amusement park-style than Mardi Gras, with its emphasis on having fun all the time, and more European elegance and refinement. However, there are some fairly crazy waterslides as well.

Costa Smeralda Trip Report, Day 1: Cruising Italian Style

The Best of Italian Design Inspires This Decor

The Costa Design Collection Museum (CoDe), which honors Italian innovation from the 1930s to the present, is featured throughout the hotel. It’s not a toy – it’s a large room with over 500 displays exhibiting Italian design classics ranging from furniture to clothes.

On Smeralda, there are some beautiful places, including an indoor pool with calming stone and wood elements, as well as a mix of big and small pools, hot tubs, and sunbathing spots. There are several lovely pubs that boldly display traditional Italian design.

Costa Smeralda Trip Report, Day 1: Cruising Italian Style

There will be much more to discuss in the coming reports, but after 24 hours onboard, my general opinion is that the Smeralda provides something unique. So far, the meal has been nothing short of amazing, and despite the lack of normality, the pleasant staff is trying their best to provide excellent service. I ordered the mixed fried fish and chips in the main dining area.

Costa Smeralda Trip Report, Day 1: Cruising Italian Style

Cruisers from North America who like cruising with different nationalities and enjoying European food and entertainment will want to join part.

Note from the editor: Bruce is sailing as a Costa Cruises invited guest; nevertheless, all views and opinions expressed are his own.

UP NEXT: 18 New Cruise Ships Set to Debut in 2024

The Costa Smeralda Ship Amenities are some of the best in the world. They offer a wide variety of activities, restaurants, and shops for guests to enjoy. Reference: costa smeralda ship amenities.

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