Costa Mediterranea (photo: Sergio Ferreira)To mark its 65th anniversary, with official celebrations taking place on March 31 this year, Costa Cruises has announced its cruise program for 2014 and winter 2014/2015.

There are about 1,000 cruise holidays to choose from, all over the world, throughout the year, with a total of around 250 destinations to visit, plus the convenience of being able to depart from 44 different ports of embarkation.

Without doubt the headline news is the arrival of the Costa Diadema, the biggest Italian cruise ship, currently under construction in Fincantieri’s Marghera (Venice) shipyard. 

The new Costa flagship will make her debut sailing from Venice on November 5, 2014 on a 5-day cruise to Savona, which will be the Diadema’s homeport throughout the winter season.  From here she will be deployed on a 1-week itinerary including the chance to visit two of Italy’s must-see cities – Rome and Florence – on the one cruise.  The port calls are Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.

Once the Costa Diadema has joined the fleet, Costa’s offering in the Mediterranean in winter 2014/15 will rise by some 50%. 

Another growth area in winter 2014/15 will be the United Arab Emirates, with an increase of around 20% as a result of the positioning of a larger ship, while company operations will be boosted by 20% in Northern Europe in summer 2014 on account of the deployment of 5 ships compared to 4 in 2013.

In the Mediterranean, Costa will be offering year-round itineraries appealing to all types of consumers, with some 13 ships deployed in the region. 

Another new entry will be La Spezia, the gateway for excursions to Tuscany’s magnificent art centers – Florence and Pisa – or to the stunning landscape of the Cinque Terre and Portovenere. 

The Eastern Mediterranean cruises offer the crystal clear waters of the Greek islands and the enthralling cities of Turkey and Croatia. 

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Costa will be offering once again two of its most popular itineraries that are exclusive to the company: the Dalmatian Coast including excursions to Medjugorje, one of the world’s most important pilgrimage sites; fly+cruise package out of Crete, visiting a different island in the Aegean Sea each day and also porting in fascinating Izmir.

The mini-vacations will also be back.  This type of holiday is extremely attractive in terms of both affordability and duration, from 3 to 5 days on journeys of discovery amidst sun, sea and culture in places like Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Marseille and Ajaccio.

For a more leisurely look at the physical, architectural and cultural landscape of the Mediterranean, there are longer cruises, from 10 to 14 days, with more port calls, longer stopovers and more out of the ordinary destinations in exotic places such as Egypt and Israel, the Black Sea, Lisbon and Casablanca. 

The main innovation is the Greece and Turkey route including an overnight stopover and 2 days in Istanbul, allowing visitors to make the most of the incredible cultural diversity of this city straddling East and West. 

Another offering is a cruise to the Canary Islands and Morocco, departing from St. Cruz de Tenerife with 2 days and 1 night in both Casablanca and Madeira.

Once again in 2015 the line is offering a world cruise, 115 days on the Costa Deliziosa.She sails from Savona on January 6, 2015, on a world voyage westbound to extraordinary destinations on 5 continents – the most convenient way to travel, without having to continually pack and unpack or change hotels.

In summer, Costa’s Northern Europe program will be enhanced by the addition of a fifth ship, as opposed to four operating in 2013, by virtue of the arrival of the Costa Mediterranea, with homeport Hamburg. 

There will be a wide range to choose from, with cruises lasting between a week and 16 days, giving you the chance to discover – from the unique vantage point of a Costa cruise ship – wonderful Baltic cities like St Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki, the scenery of the Norwegian fjords, and the majestic natural spectacle of North Cape, Spitsbergen Island and Iceland.

2014/2015 will see three ships on one-week and 10-day Caribbean programs.

For a winter beat to the rhythm of the tango and the samba, there will be cruises to South America on 2 ships – the Costa Favolosa and Costa Pacifica – touring Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. 

Another option is the one-week “The thousands and one nights” cruise to the UAE and Oman on the Costa Serena, featuring the luxury and futuristic architecture of cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi or the striking beauty of Muscat, the capital of Oman. 

Meanwhile the 7-day Red Sea itinerary on the Costa Voyager includes the splendid barrier reef and the must-see ancient civilizations of Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

The Far East will be on offer throughout 2014 and winter 2014/15 with two ships operating – the Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica.

The program for 2014 and winter 2014/15 will also be available in the 2014 edition of Costa’s annual brochure, due out in mid-April, as well as in travel agencies and on the Company’s website.

Counting the new flagship Costa Diadema scheduled to make her debut at the end of October 2014, the Costa Cruises fleet consists of 15 ships, each with their own distinctive characteristics and unique style.