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Eli_6
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@At7Seas I think you're trying to read way too much into things by what Carnival has said or not said.

 

First, if not most importantly, this will be a Carnival, not Costa, cruise. Those who sail on it will earn points towards Carnival's VIFP program, which was communicated at the onset. All communications have referred to the ship being crewed by a Carnival crew. "Costa by Carnival" has given way to "Carnival Fun Italian Style" which has been legally trademarked. Even the first few sailings were originally sold as sailings on Carnival Magic.

 

Venezia and Firenze are also Vista-class ships like Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Panorama. There obviously is some flexibility on a ship that large, but ultimately all five ships have practically identical layouts.

 

There are certain things to expect from every Carnival sailing. One of those is that the main dining rooms are complimentary (with a few select upcharge items). One specialty dining restaurant hasn't been completely revealed, although we know some things about it from the reveal Christine Duffy did in New York. At this point all of the alternative dining venues have been revealed; they are not huge departures from what is installed on the rest of Carnival's fleet, aside from replacing Blue Iguana Cantina with a Mexican-Italian fusion concept.

 

Obviously Italian theming will never replace the experience of going to Italy. It's just that theming is now being deployed in the American market instead of the Chinese market.

 

I suspect the names will be legally changed as the ships go into drydock to get any required hull maintenance and have the new livery applied. That was when Costa Luminosa became Carnival Luminosa. Costa Venezia was going to have to go to drydock anyway, as was Costa Firenze, which will still be in Costa service until January 2024.  Even if CARNIVAL FUN ITALIAN STYLETM winds up being a failure, we're probably stuck with it until 2028-29 when Venezia and Firenze come up for drydock again.

 

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Well, my central point is that there is hardly any information and I have quite a lot of questions. What do we know?
 
Fact is that “Costa by Carnival” is announced as something completely new. The expression “Fun Italian Style” was used for promotion already in the first official announcement, it isn’t newer than the new Costa by Carnival. Protecting this as trademark should be no surprise, because everything else would be a stupidity. This doesn’t take away that I am not sure what kind of public should be attracted with these words. But if you look at the graphics below both brands Carnival and Costa are read on the Costa Venezia (I use here the name as displayed), as well as the mentioned slogan. Also the outer design of the ship is a clear combination of both brands. It is no photograph, when I saw the Venezia last month the only blue on the bow was the name and the picture was used earlier. It wasn’t made by someone who just used his own fantasy, this illustration was officially used in a press release as well:
 
https://cruisespotlight.com/wp-content/webp-express/webp-images/uploads/2022/11/carnival-venezia-ship-1024x683.jpg.webp
 
One can‘t compare this project to the full integration as with the Luminosa lately, which never was said to sail under the new concept. Being a new concept is not my interpretation, but part of the official statement. There is a very simple reason why we should believe this statement. It doesn’t make sense promoting a new concept for the same old product, it is way harder to sell. The easy way would have been to tell customers that the brand they are familiar with will offer cruises on a wonderful new ship with an unique atmosphere. The Luminosa was definitely not the first ship that left Costa, regardless whether sold to a third party or transferred to another brand and / or subsidiary of Carnival Corporation and Plc, but up to now this always happened with full integration into the new brand, often enough with a completely new name. The neoRiviera got a new name and a full new design, although the use as AIDAmira was from the very beginning planned for a short time while waiting for a newly built ship. Up to now older vessels left the Costa fleet after being at least a decade in service, this is different now, since the Venezia is only four years old. That a type of ship is used more than once within Carnival group and sometimes beyond is absolutely no surprise. If the other ships of this type are comparable in factual use indeed - and have despite of the disadvantage described above success on the US market - I can understand why exactly these ships will sail from American ports.
 
Having restaurants included in the fare is nothing special for the brand Carnival, most cruise lines do so and Costa offers exactly the same. Not having any change is no proof of becoming completely integrated in Carnival, while the owners say the opposite. A “complimentary” restaurant as proof for a full integration into Carnival I would regard as reading too much into things, for me this is another sign that we lack information. And within Carnival group you earn points with the brand you book with, not the company that actually owns the ship, AIDA is besides Costa the second brand of the company Costa Crociere SpA and sailing AIDA doesn‘t result in Costa points, neither automatically, nor on request. Just as the brands P&O and Cunard are handled separately, although both belong to the same subsidiary in the UK. Or the US based brands…
 
Running cruises from the USA with staff of Carnival Cruises has at least two obvious advantages. Costa Europe staff knows both Italian and international guests and their special wishes, those having intensive contact with guests need not only to be fluent in Italian, but in English as well and have to have some basic skills in the other standard languages aboard, while Carnival Cruises staff has mainly to be familiar with the needs of US guests. Costa Asia had different requirements than Costa Europe of course, although these were just departments of the same company. Already from this point it makes sense to keep the staff with the target market they are best qualified for. Besides the USA have extreme strict and complicated immigration rules, which causes problems to cruise lines regarding staff on cruise ships. Using staff already sailing US ports could make it much easier, I suppose.
 
All this does not tell us how much Costa, or if you prefer how much Italy, will remain in this new project. It is the same with the information that the Venezia perhaps might be dry docked after most works will be ready. Besides a challenging logic such a statement contains zero information. There are reasons to believe so, but we can’t call a vague statement what might be done a fact. And exactly this is my point, what are the plans? We only know that it won‘t be a full integration of the two ships into Carnival Cruises. Planning something else is one of the few facts clearly announced, which does not take away that plans will be changed at some point. I am not reading too much into what has been said or not, I have questions about what has been left out. As I said before repeatedly: lack of information. Everything officially said about the ship itself your refer to was more or less a description of what already exists, things that mostly remain unchanged. I really can reduce the real changes to American style burgers and US sockets. The name of the MDR doesn‘t explain the concept. Is the fact that the name of venues remain in Italian language everything? Introducing a ship on a new market is fine, but it doesn‘t answer at all what the new concept will be like - or for example why it is exclusively for sale in America, while all the other Carnival vessels can be booked in Europe. So I only can quote and ask the questions I have. And obviously I am not the only one who has questions, as the pure existence of this thread proves. This has been the reason why I told about my personal observations, here I definitely know something.

Edited by At7Seas
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Part of the reason of the Costa by Carnival/Carnival Fun Italian Style concept is that it doesn't require a more expensive rebranding.  Yes, some changes are being made, but Carnival isn't having to spend $200 Million like they did with the Sunshine/Destiny conversion. This is important since Carnival doesn't really have the financial flexibility to rebrand ships right now. The only thing that really is a bit of a head scratcher is not repainting the funnel even to the "throwback" Carnival design.

 

Since Costa Luminosa had the same architect as most of Carnival's fleet (Joe Farcus), she  required less work for rebranding. The decor on Luminosa is more in line with Carnival Spirit than Costa Firenze.

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As far as I know Luminosa kept her chimney in original shape, but it was repainted to fit into the Carnival brand style. So even for this there is a precedent - but obviously not planned with the Venezia. And I am not even scratching my head, because I don’t expect this could be an accident.
 
Who ever said that promoting something as a completely new concept - with all risks regarding acceptance - would be cheaper than telling customers about an innovation within the existing brand? Challenging existent customers without a strategy is no good idea, offering a new product with a special design within the known brand would definitely be the easiest way - and much cheaper. I don’t think that the new concept is based on thoughtless decisions. Avoiding costs of re-branding by introducing a new brand? This doesn’t make much sense economically.
 
When talking about economics there could be another interesting possibility. An intelligent strategy instead of stumbling around because Carnival management fears the own existing customers could not accept the architecture of a ship. This thought is based on factual communicated details and I combine these with marketing strategies only. It still doesn’t answer how the concept will be realised at all, but is at least a possible answer to the why. This leaves no questions open, no head scratching, just requires a consequent implementation. Costa has a too high capacity through the Chinese market breaking away something needed to be done. Even after all changes planned as today the European fleet of Costa 2024 will have a larger capacity than in 2019 and the ships will be younger. Sounds as being prepared for a healthy growth within Europe. Costa however openly communicated that there are European nationalities no longer booking their cruises, so again cabins are waiting for guests. Making the name Costa popular among US cruisers through Costa by Carnival would be an intelligent strategy within the group. In European waters Costa is the largest brand within Carnival Corporation and Plc accommodating English speaking guests. I don’t know whether this has been the strategy behind the concept, but with a growing US market it would be a brilliant idea for selling more cruises in the Med and other regions where Costa has a strong presence without sending another ship of Carnival Cruises or another American brand over. Smuggling another brand into the minds of Carnival guests is no reason to scratch my head, definitely makes sense economically, and a positive experience is a really great promotion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This really is just a way for carnival corp to utilize excess (and currently unprofitable) tonnage in a way that makes sense. If it is a success, they *may* bring more ships over.  In NY, it will compete with MSC (and the NYC market has a ton of italian-americans to draw from). My understanding is that this is going to be quite literally a  Costa ship with a Carnival touch (crew, entertainment, etc). Very little drydocking is being done aside from the updated livery and some of the funship 2.0 stuff (https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=3389) link explains funship 2.0 stuff

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On 1/22/2023 at 6:15 AM, At7Seas said:

Well, my central point is that there is hardly any information and I have quite a lot of questions. What do we know?
 

 

 

this is a video presented by Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line and Glenn Aprile, Director of New Build Product Development for Venezia.

 

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Everybody familiar with Costa understands through this promotion video that only very few changes are planned. A lot of “very new” or “very special” things are simply typical for Costa ships. Even a lot of venues keep their names, only a few things are adjusted to Carnival.
 
I completely agree that ships should sail - and if demand is right now from the US market ships should sail there. Regardless that there are signs that Asia might go cruising again. Of course there are definitely no Costa branded ships available for this as soon as the Firenze left the fleet. For the time being the Serena can pick up again, but this vessel is hard needed for Costa’s bread and butter cruises in the Caribbean during winter 2023/24 already. They already miss a ship for the usual tour to the Canaries, which is done with the Firenze for the last in January 2024. There are no signs that Costa can’t fill the ships planned to sail for the European market in summer 2023 and the Firenze is larger than the later returning Serena. There are simply no special promotions with give away prices as Costa does when the sale is slow.
 
And if you ask me MSC in the same port forms no serious risk for Costa - I can’t know the new project of course, so I compare the known. MSC has neither an Italian touch (they try being a compromise between international and Italian and fail with both) nor reaches the quality by far. They are just cheap. I personally regard MSC being a ferry boat line one takes if no better option is available - or too expensive.

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On 2/6/2023 at 1:18 PM, At7Seas said:

And if you ask me MSC in the same port forms no serious risk for Costa - I can’t know the new project of course, so I compare the known. MSC has neither an Italian touch (they try being a compromise between international and Italian and fail with both) nor reaches the quality by far. They are just cheap. I personally regard MSC being a ferry boat line one takes if no better option is available - or too expensive.


as someone who sails on multiple lines, I would disagree with that assessment. I have sailed in The Haven repeatedly, as well as Oceania, and do not have any issue with the MSC product. 

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