At night, Costa Luminosa just glows with live music and other forms of entertainment laid on at its lounges, not to mention its three-deck main theater. The entertainment, aimed at a multilingual crowd, relies more on music, slapstick comedy and good-natured audience-oriented pranks than it does on Broadway-esque productions. The Phoenix, the main theater, is home to musical and dance productions; one big hit on our sailing was a Groucho Marx-inspired comedy routine involving members of the audience.
Other key venues include the Grand Bar Elettra, which has a large dance floor; Supernova Atrium Bar, which features instrumentalists and vocalists who play pop (and sometimes even classical) tunes; Libra Bar; Virgo Bar; Piano Bar for fabulous international karaoke (songs sung in French, German, Spanish and English, among others); and, of course, Disco Altaire, where a DJ's selections thrum into the wee hours.
The ship's main pool, which is covered by a retractable glass magrodome, has a massive screen and is often used as an evening cinema.
On days when the ship is at sea, there's a fair range of activities. These include poolside dance workouts, video quizzes, seminars on topics like "relieving back pain," table tennis tournaments, and arts and crafts.
One big hit on Costa Luminosa is its Costa Racing Team virtual simulator, in which you can try out your Formula 1 driving skills. Cost ranges, depending on level of expertise, from 12 to 18 euros ($16.50 to $24.75). There's also a 4D cinema at the Mizar Theater; the cost is 8 euros ($11). Other inside pursuits include a virtual arcade and the sprawling Vega Casino, with everything from blackjack to slots.
Costa offers a range of shore excursions, but the multilingual approach doesn't always work so well; if there are not enough English speakers onboard who've booked tours, passengers could find themselves lumped in with a tour guide who's also catering to French or German travelers, or find the tours canceled altogether. Selection-wise, shore excursions primarily cover the usual general touring topics; a handful emphasize recreational opportunities.
In ports that are some distance from tourist attractions, Costa offers roundtrip shuttle service for a fee.
On Luminosa, there's a library, tucked away on Deck 3. It has a very small collection of books to borrow in the major languages, including Italian, English and even Russian. The real draw is its Internet-connected terminals (for a fee that ranges from 10 euros ($13.75) for one hour to 24 euros ($33) for three hours). The ship also has a small chapel, where it holds nondenominational religious services daily.
In the center of the atrium is the ship's purser's desk. One way to avoid the inevitable queues is to use one of the "totems" scattered around the ship to purchase shore excursions, make restaurant reservations, learn about the crew, check out "Today, the Daily Programme" and research spa treatments. The shore excursion desk is located there, as well.
There's a fair amount of square footage dedicated to shopping, though the merchandise is the same stuff you see on every ship: cameras, jewelry, cruise line branded souvenirs, duty-free liquor and some casual wear. On sea days, shops expand into the pool deck with special sales.
The sprawling photo shop, which takes up Deck 3 around the atrium, sells photographs and equipment. There is a medical facility onboard.
Costa Luminosa's Samsara Spa is superb. It's massive, spanning two decks, and is literally a holistic playground. Features include a thallasotherapy pool with a lovely view of the sea and an array of aromatic steam rooms, the highlight of which is the Tridosha Sanctuary. There's the Japanese Tea Room, where some lounges face the sea and others are located beneath tanning lamps. Another lovely spot is the Temple of Peace, a meditation and relaxation lounge.
There are, of course, treatments, ranging from massages to wraps and facials. The standalone Venus salon handles hairstyling, manicures and pedicures.
Luminosa's gym, located adjacent to the spa, features Technogym equipment. There's a Kinesis circuit, along with treadmills, stationary bikes and the like. Yoga and Pilates classes are offered for 10 euros ($13.75), but use of the gym itself is included in the cruise fares. Facilities in addition to the gym include the locker room, sauna and changing rooms.
Aside from passengers who are booked in Samsara cabins, use of the facilities requires a fee. A four-day pass, which offers unlimited access to the thalassotherapy pool, aroma steam, Turkish bath, relaxation areas and tanning center, is 60 euros ($82.50).
Costa Luminosa has three swimming pools. Its magrodome-covered main pool, good for all-weather play, is a hub of family fun; it's two decks high, with sun loungers scattered on both levels. More sedate is the lovely pool at the ship's aft.
One of the most interesting recreational possibilities onboard Luminosa is the Skorpion Quadline Roller Skate option, found outdoors on one of the top decks. The skates are elaborately designed with a funky, retro look. The onboard skating is harder than you'd imagine (and, indeed, tougher than the skating tracks on ships like those in Royal Caribbean's Voyager class because the skates themselves are both more sophisticated and more challenging).
There's a sports court for half-court basketball. A virtual golf center offers a choice of some 40 different 18-hole courses.
This is an outstanding ship for families, with one qualification: The Squok Club, a facility for kids from ages 3 to 17, isn't as elaborate as those you'll find on U.S.-oriented ships, but it does rival them with varied age-appropriate activities. There are four different age groups: Mini (3 to 6 years), Maxi (7 to 11), Teen Junior (12 to 14) and Teen (15 to 17).
For the younger set, there are arts and crafts, treasure hunts, shuffleboard and table tennis, as well as Nutella and ice cream parties. Operating hours vary from the usual; there, the club is open from 9 a.m. to lunchtime, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and again after dinner from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The Squok Club has a small splash pool, adjacent to its indoor facility. Unusually, Mini and Maxi clubs offer complimentary group babysitting each night until 1:30 a.m.
Teens engage in T-shirt painting, international karaoke, swimming pool frolicking and group dancing.
All kids have the opportunity for a pair of specially themed group dinners.
Costa keeps its clubs open when the ship is port so parents can take shore excursions and leave their kids safely behind.