In 2000 Costa Atlantica debuted as the first of the Spirit Class. Built by Aker Yards the ship was not record-breaking in any way shape or form, or particularly innovative, but it did however allow for flexibility, being suitable to fit down the Panama canal and also had a significant amount of balconies.
The Vista Class, originally intended to be Holland America’s evolution of the Spirit Class, it soon became a standard across the Carnival Corporation & PLC Fleet, almost by accident. Following the success of the QM2, one of the Holland America Vista’s was transferred to Cunard to become the Queen Victoria. However during building it was decided that the Queen Victoria should incorporate more concepts from the QM2, so the ship was transferred to P&O Cruises as Arcadia. During recent refits Holland America & P&O Cruises made changes to its Vista Class ships by adding more balconies at the back, to improve the revenue from this ships.
For Cunard a new extended Vista class ship was planned, slightly longer but still able to fit down the Panama Canal. The ship emerged as the new Queen Victoria in December 2007. In October 2007 a new Queen Elizabeth was ordered as an ‘improved’ version of Queen Victoria, showcasing a new Sports deck, which gives her a ‘crown’ like profile at the front.
Nieuw Amerstdam and Eurodam are classed as Signature class ships, however they are in effect a slight change in design from there Vista class comrades with an additional deck. Finally Costa decided that they should take the best of the Spirit class and Vista class to create two hybrid ships, known as Costa Luminosa & Costa Deliziosa
It is unlikely any more of these class of ships will be built, as new ‘safe return to port’ legislation by SOLAS may mean that they will not fit the criteria and higher standards now required from new builds.
There can be problems with having such a large class of ships from an economic perspective, the next major change in the cruise product could mean these vessel, all 17 of them will require the same changes. Like the ship classes of the 1990’s have required Balconies to be retrofitted, not always the best option.
Also as the ships appear across various market segments, there can be a problem that people think that the product is degraded from the Luxury end. A common problem which is mentioned amongst shipping enthusiasts regarding Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, as nothing more than a more expensive Arcadia. However most people , once the hull is a different colour and a different funnel is used have no idea.
The onboard product of these ships varies differently, from the Las Vegas style of Carnival, to the Ocean Liner Art Deco styling of Cunard, its is unlikely people will realise they are sister ships at all. For those who are interested the 17 Ships are at the bottom of this article.
1- Costa Atlantica – Spirit Class
2- Carnival Spirit – Spirit Class
3- Carnival Pride – Spirit Class
4- Carnival Legend – Spirit Class
5- Costa Mediterranea – Spirit Class
6- Carnival Miracle – Spirit Class
7- Zuideram – Vista Class
8- Oosterdam – Vista Class
9- Westerdam – Vista Class
10- Noordam – Vista Class
11- Arcadia – Vista Class
12- Queen Victoria – Enhanced Vista
13- Queen Elizabeth – Enhanced Vista
14- Eurodam – Signature Class
15- Nieuw Amsterdam – Signature Class
16- Costa Lumiosa – Hybrid Spirit/Vista
17- Costa Deliziosa – Hybrid Spirit/Vista