Costa’s ’Tiara’ Jewel Of The Fleet

ON THE COSTA DIADEMA — The first thing you should know about Costa Cruises, if you don’t already, is that this is not some obscure cruise line that nobody ever heard of before one of its ships — the Concordia — became a graveyard for 32 of its passengers.

Costa is big.

So big that it has more than half the European market in an industry that was growing until 2008 happened. To give that a little perspective, Carnival and Royal Caribbean TOGETHER don’t have 50 per cent of the North American market, which in part is because the two American cruise lines have more competition than Costa does.

In the world of corporate cruise real estate, Costa “owns” Europe.

This 67-year-old cruise line — its roots go back 161 years to the freighters on which it was founded — has the second-newest cruise ship in the world and 15 in the fleet. TheCosta DiademaDiadema arrived a month before Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, which will be replaced in the “world’s newest” category when P&O’s Britannia comes along later this month.

The Diadema’s name comes from the Italian word for “tiara” not “diamond” as might be logical. Nonetheless, it is the cruise line’s “jewel” and will be Costa’s flagship for years. News of its successor will come much sooner…in fact, company President Neil Palomba intimated to reporters on the Diadema this week that an announcement about the next Costa ship was weeks away.

This is a fun ship, which shouldn’t be a surprise since Costa is part of the Carnival conglomerate and “FunShips” are Carnival’s trademark. It's wildly colorful and gregarious Diadema poolin a clientele that's 90 per cent Europeans. They clearly love it and North Americans probably would if it ever crosses the ocean. 

Because it has such a busy Mediterranean port schedule, spending five days on it — as we are — clearly isn’t long enough.

In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll tell you why.

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival ships on the move

Carnival Inspiration
4 nights
May 4, 2015
Los Angeles (return): Catalina, Ensenada
Inside: $219
Cost per day: $54
www.carnival.com

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