CostaConcordia Brings Grand Prix to the Sea

June 5, 2006
Cruisers, start your engines: Costa Cruises' new Concordia, slated for launch next month, has just received cruising's first ever race car simulator. The Grand Prix Driving Simulator is located 50 meters (or 164 feet) above sea level on Deck 12 (not, as we first assumed, in a dark room as is the usual habitat for golf simulators), and will offer cruisers a real on-the-track experience.

The simulator was built with "real-time vehicle modeling," the same technology Formula One drivers themselves use in training. Participants will compete in Grand Prix races --at "virtual" speeds reaching over 200 miles per hour -- in the accurately reproduced cockpit of a life-size Formula One car. They can also keep track of their performance throughout the week to compete with their top time as well as other guests'.

There are three levels of difficulty and one test mode: Test Mode (15 euro for 3 minutes), Rookie Mode (28 euro for 7 minutes), Professional pilot mode (33 euro for 10 minutes) and Championship mode (38 euro for 13 minutes).

With this most unique addition to CostaConcordia, Costa joins the race for the most innovative -- and active -- onboard features alongside worthy opponents, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, which intends to launch the industry's first bowling alley on its upcoming Norwegian Pearl, and Royal Caribbean, which made waves with an actual at-sea surf park onboard Freedom of the Seas.

The Grand Prix Driving Simulator's only downside? You must be at least 16 years old to rev it up. Sorry, kids.

CostaConcordia, in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Genoa, Italy, will be the largest cruise ship flying the Italian flag after its official inauguration in Rome on July 7; the vessel will sail its first season in the Mediterranean.