SA Design delivers stylish slice of Costa Venezia to China
A sizeable slice of Venetian style and chic will float into Asia’s flourishing cruise market next month, when Costa Venezia reaches Tokyo after a 53-day maiden voyage from Trieste taking in Middle Eastern, Indian, South East Asian and Chinese ports. The brand new ship will then prepare for its regular cruising itinerary out of Shanghai, starting from May 18th.
Anne Mari Gullikstad, Chief Executive, YSA Design played a central role in conceiving Costa Venezia and in the completion of key areas to standards designed to bring Asian guests experiences reminiscent of visiting the world’s top tourist destination.
There can be few better introductions to Italian culture than the city of Venice, Gullikstad points out. “The challenge set for us was to deliver Venice to China inside a ship in an elegant way, avoiding cliché. Creating interiors that work in a cruise environment but are also authentic, and exceptional levels of finishing from Italian craftsmen have both been pivotal in delivering on the owner’s expectations. The results are refreshingly true to the initial design ideas.”
Costa has been operating in China’s cruise market since 2006, but Costa Venezia is the first ship built “from conception to delivery” with the Chinese guest in mind, serving a trend sector specialists describe as ‘more experiential’ cruising. Delivered by Fincantieri, the 323m length, 135,500gt luxury ship has capacity for 5,200-passengers and is the largest Costa Cruise ship ever to operate in the Chinese market. Despite its scale, however, one of the principal qualities desired of the ship was intimacy. The cultural experience is therefore sustained not only through signage, lighting and plenty of ‘Lion of Venice’ sculptures, but by recreating Venetian cobbled alleys and the surprising majesty of the Venetian square.
Gullikstad draws attention to the ‘Magrodome’ on Costa Venezia’s Lido deck, which she likens to a Venetian hotel courtyard with its own cooling water fountain. Extending over two decks, the surrounding structures feature private rooms on their upper level. Also exemplary is the Canal Grande Aft restaurant on Deck 3 and 4, where Venetian colonnades provide frontage for elegant rooms with fine wall coverings, Murano lighting and classical detailing.
“We have used real plaster facades for the Venetian palacios and sourced Italian soft stone for doorways; in the case of the Canal Grande Aft we’ve also installed a real gondola made by Squero di San Trovaso artisans next to the main staircase ‘floating’ in backlit glass,” says Gullikstad. “This is an eye-catching opportunity for guests to capture an authentic ‘moment’ to show family and friends.” Another Venice ‘photo-opp’ beckons at the Delle Stelle aft bar, where guests get a flavour of Venice’s glamorous Biennale film festival and a chance to get their picture taken alongside a waxwork of a favourite film star on the red carpet leading to the up-scale art deco lounge.
Gullikstad confirms that YSA Design is working on a second Costa Cruises ship for the Chinese market, which is under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard and is expected to be delivered in 2020.