July 17, 2001
CostaTropicale -- nee Carnival Tropicale -- has officially joined the Costa fleet. The ship, which received only its second christening in 19 years (Tropicale was fledgling Carnival’s first new-build), had spent the past four months undergoing a $25 million refurbishment. The transformation was one that, apparently, wasn’t quite finished in time for the actual ceremonial christening but Costa, which held the event in Genoa, went ahead, anyway, dedicating (or should we say “rededicating”) the ship to its original godmother: Madeleine Arison, wife of Carnival Chairman and C.E.O. Micky Arison. Then Tropicale went back to the shipyard where the remaining work was completed before she set off on her true inaugural last week. As a result of the extensive updating Tropicale received, the ship, the eighth in Costa’s fleet, received complete overhauls of staterooms, a widening of decks, the addition of a pizzeria as well as a Brazilian-themed alternative restaurant, and a new smokestack. The 36,000-ton, 1,022-passenger Tropicale also features some of cruisedom’s “must haves,” such as a kids’ center and an Internet cafe. CostaTropicale sails 7-night Eastern Mediterranean itineraries from its Venice home port. In what appears to mimic the ship-building boom experienced by American lines over the past five years, Costa is in fast-expansion mode. After CostaTropicale, the cruise line will introduce four other ships in the next three years -- some of them, like Holland America’s Westerdam, hand-me-downs from parent company Carnival. Others are newbuilds that will be similar in size and style to CostaAtlantica, the Italian line’s first-ever ship designed with Americans in mind.