Costa is a large operation, both in terms of the quantity and size of the ships that it runs. Its fleet has grown consistently over the last twenty or so years and the majority of new additions have been larger than those coming before, building on the popularity of its Italian-inspired design ethos and relatively laid back approach to cruising. The line currently operates 16 ships, ranging in capacity from 1,300 guests on the neoClassica to over 5,200 guests on the soon to be launched Costa Smeralda.
It would do Costa a disservice to describe it as a budget operator, but it does operate in a sector of the market where its immediate competition tends to be with some of the slightly less premium lines. Nonetheless, it markets itself on the basis of style and luxury and its pricing is reflective of that.
Almost all cruise lines tend to be adult dominated outside school holidays, but Costa is one of the more popular of the big lines with families, particularly during the European summer, and its ships have plenty of leisure facilities to appeal to younger guests.
Much of Costa's popularity comes from the fact that it offers a well thought through blend of popular traditions with more modern styles and technologies. This has helped to generate the mass market appeal which is crucial to maintaining such a large and diverse fleet.
There are plenty of more obvious choices than Costa for people looking for a truly formal cruise experience, but you won't be disappointed if you are looking for the occasional opportunity to dress up in an otherwise relatively laid back environment.