PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. -- A special-fee restaurant aboard the
CostaVictoria, which opened about six months ago, is operating well
below its capacity, according to figures released by Costa Cruises.
However, cruise line president Dino Schibuola expressed
satisfaction with the program and said the line will go ahead with
plans to introduce the alternative dining experience on
CostaAtlantica, which begins its inaugural season this July in
The on-board restaurant -- Ristorante Magnifico by Zeffirino --
is patterned after the Zeffirino restaurant in Genoa, Italy, where
Costa is based.
The Victoria restaurant, which can accommodate up to 80 people
at one seating, is attracting an average of 45 diners on each of
the six evenings it is open during a week's cruise.
The capacity could be as much as 160 diners per evening, were
Costa operating it on a two-seating basis rather than one seating.
The below-capacity demand indicates some resistance of passengers
to pay an extra tab, currently $17.50, gratuity included, for
Such a resistance was detected by other lines, which now offer
alternative dining opportunities for only a "gratuity," ranging
from $3.50 to $6.00 per person.
Schibuola said that passengers opting to dine in Zeffirino are
pleased with the special restaurant, particularly because of the
one-seating experience, beginning at 7 p.m. and continuing until
the last diner leaves.
The restaurant, situated aft in the Tavernetta Lounge on Deck
12, offers gracious and comfortable surroundings, with candles,
flowers and soft music performed by a female vocalist and small
combo. There is also a dance floor.
"We wanted to provide this high-quality option at a reasonable
cost," Schibuola said. "We feel the experience offers more
flexibility for the passengers."
The executive said that the one-evening dining experience is
being offered on a complimentary basis for passengers booking the
ship's eight top-category cabins.
Zeffirino, which has been in business in Genoa since 1939, has
attracted a large following of celebrities over the years,
including Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Burt Lancaster and Pope
John Paul II.
A souvenir book shows many more famous guests, many from the
world of the performing arts, including opera singers Luciano
Pavarotti and Renata Tebaldi and actress Carla Fracci.