by Kevin Griffin of our London office writing for cybercruises.com
Grand Mistral – Iberocruceros
Costa Group has decided to shift the 1,200-berth Grand Mistral from the Iberocruceros fleet to Costa Cruises, where she will take on the new name of Costa NeoRiviera next year.
Presumably this will see her refitted in a non-Joe Farcus style, meaning a somewhat more pleasant and less garish on board décor than most Costa ships built along Carnival designs.
Costa NeoRomantica underwent a similar renovation back in 2012. Aside from the garish balconies that now protrude everywhere where there is no lifeboat to lower, the NeoRomantica’s interiors have received very good reviews. Indeed, according to Miami-based reviewer Ernie Roller, “the result is a stunning ship that would not be out of place operating for a much more luxury line such as Crystal Cruises.”
For some reason, however, sister ship Costa Classica remains in her original form.
Costa NeoRomantica will replace Costa Voyager, herself a former Iberocruceros ship, but no new employment has been announced for the Voyager.
Since Costa NeoRiviera was French-built, one could speculate that if Costa revives once more the Paquet Croisières brand, she might be the right ship.
Meanwhile, this leaves Costa’s Spanish brand Iberocruceros with just two ships, both former Carnival vessels, with a total berth capacity of fewer than 3,000.
By comparison, Royal Caribbean’s Pullmantur Cruises now numbers five ships with in excess of 9,000 berths, or triple Ibero’s capacity when we include the two ships marketed as Croisères de France.
Of the remaining Ibero ships Grand Holiday will stay in the Mediterranean this winter, while Grand Celebration will be based at Buenos Aires.
Costa Voyager. Ex Iberocruceros Grand Voyager – image by Roberto Munao’
Costa offices worldwide will now also sell Iberocruceros while Pullmantur’s 2014 English-language brochure, just released, also includes Croisières de France.