Costa Cruises’ new promotional slogan, “Italy’s Finest,” seeks to associate the line with both quality and the home country where it has done business for the past 66 years.
That’s all well and good. I wonder if it could do more, however, to exploit American curiosity about the many regions of Italy and the different experiences they offer.
Americans sophisticated enough to want to see Italy on Costa are also hungry to know more about the country’s regions and what distinguishes one from another. Costa could attract more U.S. guests by feeding that appetite with enrichment courses, excursions and tastings on its Mediterranean ships.Italy was only unified as a country in the 1860s. It comprises distinct regions, with cities that played important roles in the history of the Mediterranean, from Rome and Florence down to lesser-known but rewarding destinations such as Pisa, Lucca and Positano.
Cruises are uniquely positioned to jump from region to region. One night they can depart Campania and the next morning pull into port in Liguria. Each is Italian but has its own set of traditions.
The idea was suggested to me on a six-day trip on the Costa Diadema, the newest and largest Costa vessel ever at 3,724 passengers and 153,000 gross tons.
One morning we were in the agricultural south of Italy, departing from Naples. Two days later we were visiting the industrial north at a snow-covered vineyard in the Piedmont region. Each had its own distinct wines, cheeses and spices as well as terrain and climate differences.
It may be enough to sell Americans on the culture and food of Italy with the “Italy’s Finest” slogan. But Costa has been marketing Italy as its identity for a long time. When I started reporting on cruises in the 1980s, Costa had branded itself under the “Cruising Italian Style” banner.