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Voyages Cruise Guide – What’s Inside:

Voyages by U.S. Tours presents its 20-page inaugural guide to cruise opportunities on the oceans and rivers of the world. This new division of respected operator U.S. Tours aims to become “group cruise central” for professional tour planners. In the guide, profiles of 10 partner lines provide highlights of each cruise company and suggested voyages. These partners include Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean, plus small-ship lines AmaWaterways, American Queen Steamboat, Seabourn and Victory. From beginning to end, Voyages by U.S. Tours handles all the details of planning a cruise, including collecting deposits and final payments, coordinating schedules, getting documents, arranging for special side trips and just going to bat for you should a problem arise. Its dedicated group department also can offer complimentary meeting space on the ship if needed and coordinate any special events you might wish to include.

Costa Cruises is one of Italy’s biggest tour operators and a top vacation provider in Europe.

Fleet size

Fourteen large cruise ships primarily in two classes—one carrying approximately 2,800 passengers and the other accommodating 3,400 to 3,800 passengers. A new ship carrying 5,200 passengers launches in late 2019.

Destinations

Costa is a leading cruise line in Italy, France and Spain, deploying ships in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, South America, the Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Far East. Costa offers a wide range of itineraries, generally ranging from 7 to 20 days, with longer sailings to 30 days. Costa is also a top cruise line in China.

Discernible differencesCosta Cruises

Building from its Italian heritage, Costa offers multi-lingual service that attracts an international passenger mix. The onboard environment highlights Italy and the Italian lifestyle with food and a partnership program using Italy’s most popular food and beverage brands to enhance the Italian ambiance.

Group policies

Group size is a minimum of eight cabins based on double occupancy, and tour conductors receive one free berth (maximum of four berths) for every eight cabins, double occupancy. Deposit policies vary between $25 and $100 initial deposit and $250 to $400 per person for full deposit based on destination and length of the cruise. Costa customizes for each group and offers amenity points that can be converted into valuable extra concessions such as additional commissions, onboard credits, champagne or cocktail parties.

What’s new

Between 2019 and 2021, four new ships will enter service for Costa, with a 43 percent overall increase in capacity. In March 2019 the new Costa Venezia, dedicated to the Chinese market, will be followed by a sister ship in 2020. In the fall of 2019, Costa launched the 182,700-gross-ton Costa Smeralda, the first of two ships to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ship’s name pays tribute to Costa’s partnership with the Emerald Coast (or Costa Smeralda), a famous resort destination in northern Sardinia. Costa is updating current ships in its fleet, while its smallest, the Costa neoRiviera, will leave the fleet in the fall of 2019. Costa has launched a joint project with the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association aimed at making vacations more accessible to people with impaired mobility.

Awards won

For 18 years in a row, Costa has been recognized for the Best Mediterranean Itineraries in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards. The line has been awarded as a Top 10 Cruise Line in the USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards and the Cruise Critic Editor’s Pick for Best Spa Facilities at Sea.

Suggested Voyages

The leader in the Mediterranean, this 70-year-old company offers Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises and is our choice for the Baltic Capitals and Norwegian Fjords. It also has a very festive New Year’s Eve Cruise out of Fort Lauderdale for your group.

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