Costa Cruises, the Italian company of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest leisure travel company, and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world, today celebrated the official float–out ceremony of Costa Venezia, Costa’s first ship designed and built specifically for the China market. The ceremony was held at Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the ship is being built.
As part of today’s float–out ceremony, the new Costa ship officially reached the sea for the first time. The celebration followed the protocol provided by the seafaring tradition for such occasions, by flooding the basin where the ship took shape in recent months, following the cutting of the ribbon and the breaking of the bottle by the float–out ceremony’s godmother Chiara Ustulin, an employee of Monfalcone shipyard. Costa Venezia will enter service in March 2019, once the interior fittings have been completed.
More than just a new addition to its existing China-based fleet, the Costa Venezia marks a new milestone for the Italian company and its commitment to the future of the Chinese cruise industry.
“As our first ship built specifically for the Chinese market, Costa Venezia marks a new era not just for Costa Cruises and Fincantieri but for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole,” said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. “From its initial conception all the way through to today’s float–out ceremony and beyond, everything about Costa Venezia has been designed with the Chinese consumer in mind. Costa Venezia will continue to deliver on Costa Cruises authentic Italian experience while also providing a unique vacation experience that will resonate with Chinese guests by being fully tailored to their travel preferences.”
“Today we celebrate a milestone in the construction of Costa Venezia which, together with its sister ship, will strengthen Costa‘s commitment in an emerging market,” said Luigi Matarazzo, Fincantieri Executive Vice President New Building – Merchant Ships Business Unit. “Thanks to the effort of the Monfalcone shipyard, in a moment of exceptional growth of the cruise industry, we confirm our global leadership in this sector and our long-term relationship with Costa Cruises”.
Designed with the specific leisure and entertainment requirements for Chinese guests, Costa Venezia will bring to life the passion of Venetian and Italian culture. The ship’s theatre will be inspired by the Venetian “La Fenice” theatre; the main atrium will recall “Piazza San Marco”, while restaurants will be dedicated to the typical architecture of Venetian alleys. Costa Venezia will also feature original “gondolas”, made by local artisans. An enchanting masked party will recreate on board the magic atmosphere of the famous Carnival of Venice. Guests will also be able to sample the delights of fine Italian dining, luxury Italian shopping and world-class Italian entertainment, while enjoying home comforts such as a range of Chinese cuisines and Chinese-style karaoke and the “Golden Party”, with lots of surprises and gifts to be won every ten minutes.
Before arriving to China next May, Costa Venezia will set sail for two cruises, both departing from the Italian port of Trieste. On March 3, 2019, the vernissage cruise to Greece and Croatia, followed on March 8 by a 53-day inaugural cruise, in the footsteps of Marco Polo, making its way through the Mediterranean, the middle east, Southeast and East Asia, before arriving at Tokyo. The vernissage and the inaugural cruises will be the only departures available for European and American guests to enjoy a holiday on the new ship. Starting from May 18, 2019, Costa Venezia will be dedicated to Chinese guests, offering them an Italian twist throughout East Asia, with homeport in Shanghai.
Costa Venezia will mark the latest step in a long list of innovations from the first international cruise company to begin serving the local Chinese market in 2006. At a length of 323 meters and measuring 135,500 gross tons with a capacity of more than 5,100 guests, Costa Venezia will be Costa largest ship operating homeport cruises from China. CostaVenezia will also be followed by the launch of its sister ship in 2020, being built by Fincantieri at Marghera shipyard. These two new ships for Asia will bring to 14 the total number ofCosta ships built by Fincantieri in Italy, for a total investment of over 6 billion euros. The projects for construction of the new ships require thousands of shipyard workers and ancillary employees. Employment benefits not only concerns the shipyards but, above all for the interior design, also external companies, most of which are Italian.
Overall, the Costa Group currently has seven new ships on order by 2023. Costa Venezia will be followed by Costa Smeralda, the new flagship of Costa Cruises, scheduled for delivery in October 2019.