Costa, which has, in the past year, made much news with its contracts for its biggest-ever-newbuilds, from the recently launched CostaFortuna
to a just-announced 2006 model, isn't ignoring the rest of its fleet. In fact, since November five ships have spent time in dry dock undergoing renovations that range from minimal to major.
takes the lead in the major overhaul sweepstakes as the ship received the addition of 246 balconies. The ship, Costa's first "mega," was launched in 1996 -- well after the beginning of the shipboard balcony revolution -- but was designed and built without them. The ship now boasts a ratio of balconies that make up 43 percent of all outside accommodations. Other enhancements included the expansion of the ship's Bolero Buffet, and the addition of two "panorama promenades."
The remaining four vessels received attention in the maintenance areas as well as a refreshing of public rooms via new carpet, curtains and upholstery. Other enhancements
included a major casino refurbishment for CostaRomantica
(and the addition of mini-bars to all cabins) and enhanced access for travelers with disabilities -- specifically in the disco, on outside decks, and in various cabins -- on CostaAtlantica
got a refreshed disco and in-cabin mini-bars. CostaTropicale
, which underwent a major $25 million overhaul in 2001 upon its transfer from Carnival's fleet, received more modest embellishments.