The great wave of migration after World War II from Europe to South America convinced the Costa Line (Linea "C") of Italy to enter the passenger ship business. Starting with the 11,000-ton Anna C, a converted passenger and cargo liner, the Costa Line purchased additional second-hand vessels as the trade grew. The Costa family believed that offering good hospitality would bring them success. They offered friendly service by an Italian crew with plenty of good Italian cooking. By the late 1950s the demand had increased to the point where they ordered the Federico C in 1956, their first brand new ocean liner.
Federico C was built at the same renowned Genoa shipyard as the Italian Line ships of the 1950s with plans that were influenced by the stylish Andrea Doria and Cristoforo Colombo. The new Federico C entered service on the Italy to South America route in March 1958, but in 1966 she was reassigned to a new Mid-Atlantic route from Italy to the West Indies and Florida from spring through fall, cruising from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) to the Caribbean in the winter.
With a stellar reputation, Costa Line ordered a larger ocean liner for the booming South America run, the beautiful Eugenio C. Influenced by several other Italian liners, especially the similar Oceanic of 1965 produced by the same shipyard, the new Costa ship entered service in 1966. She was the fastest ocean liner to South America and her normal path was from Naples to Genoa & Cannes (1 day), Barcelona (2 days), Lisbon (3 days) then southwest across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro (10 days), Santos (11 days), Montevideo (12 days) and Buenos Aires (13 days).
Most of Eugenio C's public rooms were on the Lounge Deck, including the First class "Ambra" ballroom and "Rubino" bar lounge plus a card room and writing room. The Cabin class "Opale" lounge and separate bar, writing and card rooms followed. Aft was the Tourist class "Turchese" lounge and bar, veranda bar and swimming pool. First class had a spacious pool area, gym and tavern midship up on the Lido Deck while the Cabin class pool and veranda bar were on Sun Deck aft. Each class had its own dining room on Restaurant Deck.
In the meantime, Enrico C also entered service in 1966, purchased second hand from the French, as a smaller consort for the Eugenio C. Along the way, Costa Line were pioneers in the cruise industry deploying their little Franca C at Port Everglades for Caribbean cruises as early as 1959.
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Built: 1958 by Ansaldo SpA, Sestri Ponente, Italy
Built: 1966 by Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, Monfalcone, Italy
Built: 1951 by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Newcastle, England