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"WOW!" is the most likely word uttered by anyone boarding the 85,619 ton Costa Atlantica, built in 2000 as the first in an expansive newbuilding program for Genoa-based Costa Crociere.  With her eclectic, colorful interiors, Costa Atlantica is meant to dazzle guests, just like the ship of Costa's parent company Carnival Corporation have done for decades. Since Carnival took a controlling interest in Costa in 1997, the distinctive upright yellow funnels have become a familiar sight all over Europe, in the Caribbean and South America. And with the latest Costa newbuilds, the Carnival Corporation is conquering the European market with a bang.

Costa is a cruise line that is steeped in history. In 1854 Giacomo Costa started trading in olive oil and fabrics. To speed up the delivery of raw materials, the company purchased the steamer Ravenna in 1924. By 1947, the company had expanded their fleet and carried their first passengers on the steamer Maria C. and only a year later, the motor vessel Anna C embarked on the first transatlantic crossing from Genoa to Rio de Janeiro carrying 768 passengers and the company changed its name to Linea C. Specializing in crossings and cruises, Linea C became well known for operating beautiful passenger ships like Federico C and Eugenio C, later renamed in Eugenio Costa after Costa Crociere was formed in 1986.

Eleven years later, Costa Crociere was taken over by Carnival Corporation and Airtours and by the time Costa Atlantica joined the scene in 2000, Carnival gained complete control over the Italian family business. Now flying the Italian flag again, the whole Costa fleet can be spotted throughout Europe in summer. It was in Amsterdam on May 21st that I was able to visit Costa Atlantica for a couple of hours.

Cruise Line: Costa Crociere
Year built: 2000
Price tag: 361.5 million
Yard: Kvaerner MASA Yards, Helsinki, Finland
Gross Tonnage: 85,619
Length: 959.6 ft / 292.5 m
Beam: 105.6 ft / 32.2 m
Passengers (norm.): 2,114
Passengers (max): 2,680
Crew: 902
Service speed: 22.0 knots
Flag: Italy


All photos and text: 2004 Bart de Boer -

First published on June 26th, 2004. All rights reserved.