The pandemic has certainly changed our idea of cruising during this first phase of the recovery, with the ships taking on an even more central role in the life of cruise passengers. Because of the obligation to take excursions with the company, some disembarkation bans at stopovers and some cruises that only include days of navigation, life on board has become the main focus of the overall cruise experience. While enjoying the ship experience and spending a lot of time on board, the catering and the various food offers certainly represent a very important aspect. Due to this trend, Costa Cruises has partially renewed and integrated its offer, transforming some restaurants on board and adding some specialty dining.
On board the flagship, the Costa Smeralda, the buffet restaurant, La Sagra dei Sapori, has been transformed into an à la carte restaurant with table service, while maintaining the preparation of dishes within the buffet area. The main meals are also available in other restaurants on board which have the same menu available, including: Ristorante La Colombina, Ristorante Meneghino and Ristorante Arlecchino. It is possible to be seated without needing a reserved time or table.
The Costa Smeralda also offers a series of alternative restaurants, where you can taste specialties of all kinds. Ristorante Rugantino, open at lunch and for an afternoon snack, offers a fixed menu formula that is the same every day. You are served with all the various dishes that are always available: Italian appetizers, mozzarella cheese, and excellent tortellini pasta as well as king prawns and chicken with peppers. During tea time, sweet and savory snacks are served accompanied by coffee and other drinks.
A big novelty beginning in May 2021 on this ship and also arriving on other ships in the Costa Cruises’ fleet, is “Sushino” a corner dedicated to those who love sushi and sashimi. On Costa Smeralda it has been positioned next to the Campari Bar and offers guests the possibility of having an aperitif of Japanese specialties but also a full dinner with a special “all you can eat” menu.
LAB, originally designed as a cooking school and demonstration area for the culinary arts, is now transformed into a restaurant where each evening grilled specialties and a fixed menu are available. Health safety protocols do not allow passengers to be involved in food preparations or handle kitchen utensils, so this new restaurant model was conceived to add a new proposal for dinner, while not having to change the furnishings.
Although it is more suitable for snacks or an abundant aperitif, even Il Bacaro can be an excellent alternative for a dinner on the Costa Smeralda. Here, in an environment reminiscent of traditional Venetian restaurants, many small tastings (both seafood and meat dishes) are served, accompanied by good wine or your favorite cocktail.
The Pummid’Oro Pizzeria is a stop for those who love authentic Italian pizza, as well as mozzarella cheese and other Italian specialties. This is an indulgent alternative you won’t want to miss out on, with pizzas being made right in front of you by expert pizza makers using the very best traditional Italian ingredients.
You’ll find Asian flavors at the Teppanyaki Restaurant that provides the traditional “cooking show” atmosphere already available on many ships. Here an expert chef will prepare delicious meats and fish on the grill while playing with their cooking utensils and joking around with guests. A very fun experience besides being a delicious taste of fusion dishes.
For guests staying in Suites, all meals are served in the Ristorante Panorama, which is located at the bow of the ship with an elegant environment and exceptional service. Part of the menu is the same as in the main restaurants, but with some specialties only served in this dedicated restaurant. It is also possible for any guest in other room levels to access it for a fee or even purchase a package that includes all meals here during the cruise. Ristorante Bellavista, located next to Ristorante Panorama is reserved for guests with the highest Club Costa level, but is currently closed due to the limited number of passengers on board.
For families and kids there is a special, exclusive restaurant just for you: Tutti a Tavola Restaurant is available only to families. Originally it was a buffet restaurant, but naturally it has now been transformed into a restaurant with table service. There are hamburgers, fried chicken and french fries for the little ones with dishes that are a bit more sophisticated for the adults that accompany them.
At The Salty Beach Street Food it’s possible to find hamburgers, focaccia and other yummy foods any time of day. A recent novelty is the extension of the opening times through the night as well. In fact, from 10 pm to 6 am the menu is different than the day menu and offers delicious snacks to night owls on board!
La Vetta is a refreshment point located on deck 17 that offers mainly salads and other light dishes and has flexible hours from late morning to the early afternoon. This is the ideal place for a break during a sunny day, perhaps coming right from the pool or the water park which are both in the near vicinity.
Besides restaurants, there are plenty of other little areas where you can have a tasty treat. The Nutella Bar will satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional crepes, bread, croissants and donuts all served with Nutella. The Gelateria Amarillo, besides offering excellent gelatos, also serves hot crepes and slices of freshly made cakes.
The Costa Cruises flagship, the Costa Smeralda, offers a truly vast range of alternative restaurants, bringing an added value to the cruise, especially during this period when guests are spending more time on board than ever before. It features a series of restaurants that are all worth a try and with generally modest prices that allow you to taste something different every evening.
International Cruise Summit 2021 17th & 18 November - Madrid