Costa Cruises is introducing “slow cruising” on Costa neoRiviera and Costa neoRomantica, a “new style of cruising with longer, leisurely itineraries and extended time in port.” In addition to a more intimate and exclusive onboard atmosphere on its two smaller ships, Costa’s neoCollection focuses on local foods and wines, and custom-developed small-group immersive shore excursions. Many neoCollection itineraries are exclusive to the line’s smaller \”neo\” ships that can sail to destinations inaccessible to larger vessels. Itineraries are designed with longer stopovers at each port — often overnight and part of the next day — to allow maximum time on shore.

As part of the immersive neoCollection experience, shore excursions for groups of 25 or fewer guests have been designed to highlight cultural and natural attractions in each destination. New menus developed in collaboration with Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenza, Italy, feature authentic cuisine that incorporates local food and wines. The relatively small size of Costa neoRiviera (624 cabins) and Costa neoRomantica (789 cabins) makes them ideal for slow cruising because they can visit smaller ports, the shipboard ambience is warm and inviting, and the service is more refined and personalized.

The Costa neoCollection kicks off with a 62-day voyage sailing from Dubai Feb. 9, 2014. The \”Grand Africa Tour\” will visit the coastline of India, the islands of the Indian Ocean — the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and Reunion — then on to Madagascar, circumnavigating the African continent on a route taking in Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena, Senegal, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and Morocco, ending at Savona, Italy. The voyage can be booked as a complete trip from Dubai to Savona or, for those with less time, divided into segments from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa, or Cape Town to Savona.

In spring/summer 2014 the Costa neoCollection moves to the Mediterranean with Costa neoRiviera sailing a 12-day “Mediterranean Heart” slow-cruise vacation. The itinerary departs Savona April 11 and 22, May 3 and 25, Sept. 12 and Oct. 4. The cruises call at Toulon, France; Salerno and Livorno, Italy, a port ideally located for excursions to Pisa and Florence; Valletta, Malta; Porto Empedocle, Sicily, with unforgettable tours to the temples of the Valle dei Templi, and an overnight call at Barcelona, Spain. The May 3 departure also includes a visit to Genoa, Italy.

A “Mediterranean Spirit” itinerary from June 5 through Sept. 1 offers the epitome of a Mediterranean summer among the historically evocative islands of the region, as well as Italy’s Amalfi Coast. With Savona as homeport, Costa neoRiviera will call at Toulon; Propriano, Corsica; Olbia, Sardinia; Trapani, Sicily; Valletta; Capri and Salerno, Italy, and Portoferraio, Isle of Elba. The range of tours includes seaside trips to inimitable gems like Costa Smeralda, San Vito lo Capo, Positano, Amalfi, Portofino and the island of Favignana.

The Costa neoCollection also features one of the most popular itineraries for scenic cruising — northern Europe. Costa neoRomantica will offer 13- to 15-day summer cruises bound for Baltic cities and the majestic fjords of Norway.