Costa Cruises is strengthening its presence in Liguria with the announcement of three important items of news for 2019 concerning the region's main ports.
Over the course of the next year, Costa Fortuna will make regular calls at Genoa, while the new flagship Costa Smeralda will offer an itinerary that includes both Savona and La Spezia. Cruises for both ships will go on sale in the coming weeks. Important work to be carried out by both the Port Authority and Costa Cruises is scheduled to take place in Savona in the port and in the cruise terminal, so that it can host the Italian company's new flagship.
“Liguria has always been Costa Cruises' home throughout its seventy years in existence, which is why we are especially happy to strengthen our presence in all the three main ports of our region,” said Neil Palomba, Costa Cruises President. “These new investments have become a reality thanks in part to the constant dialogue we have with local institutions, including the Liguria Region, the three city councils and the Port Authorities. In particular, the support of the mayor of Genoa Marco Bucci and the President of the Liguria Region Giovanni Toti have played a decisive role in finally bringing back a Costa ship to Genoa after all these years."
Giovanni Toti, President of the Liguria Region, said: “After almost fifteen years a Costa ship is coming back to Genoa, reflecting the success of the work the institutions have achieved together with the cruise company, with initiatives that will show Liguria in an even better light. The new Costa Fortuna will call at Genoa, while the Costa Smeralda, currently under construction, will expand Costa’s presence in the port of Savona, on a cruise itinerary that will also take in La Spezia. The collaboration between the Liguria Region and Costa Cruises began when the new regional council took over with the opening of a new training centre of excellence, opened in the wonderful Villa Figoli in Arenzano, where the company and the Italian Merchant Marine Academy provide high quality training and new job opportunities for young people and the unemployed in the seafaring job market, in particular in the on-board hotel sector. The excellent teamwork between the institutions and this private company has proven to be a great success and the benefits to our region are tangible. The fact that we are all here today tells us that Costa Cruises’ contribution continues and grows even stronger, with important consequences for employment: Costa's activities generate more than 700 jobs in Savona every year and have an economic impact of almost 40 million euro on the city. The cruise company calls at Savona approximately 200 times a year, bringing with it 300,000 tourists who embark and disembark ships in the city, and over 350,000 guests in transit arriving from other ports. These flows of people generate an average spend per year of almost 100 euros for each guest and 1,020 euros from related industries and activities for each inhabitant of Savona. The presence of Costa in Savona has also led to significant investments in its port and in the Terminal, both by the Port Authority and by the company itself. Today we are all showing our eagerness to carry on creating value in our region by strengthening the cruise sector even further, not only in Genoa, but also in the region’s other two main ports, Savona and La Spezia. This demonstrates how crucially important the maritime economy is for Liguria and is proof of Costa’s devotion to our region, and it will allow us to capitalise on all the wonderful things our region and our history have to offer.”
The Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, said: “I'm extremely pleased that Costa Cruises is making this important return to Genoa. Costa Cruises is not just a shipping company for us: it is an important part of our city's history. Seeing Costa ships in our port again will be a source of great pride. But it also means that thousands of tourists will be coming to Genoa: the council and the city will provide accommodation, entertainment and cultural solutions that will meet all the expectations of Costa Cruises guests. We are looking forward to working in full synergy with the Costa group to make sure that tourists have the opportunity to explore and discover all Genoa’s treasures.”
From the end of March to November 2019, Genoa will be the home port of Costa Fortuna, a ship with a gross of tonnage of 103,000 and a total capacity for 3,470 guests that is currently in service in Asia. Its debut in the Ligurian capital is scheduled for 26 March 2019, with a three-day mini-cruise in the Mediterranean. From 29 March until 8 November, the ship will be in Genoa every Friday, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., on two different itineraries. In the spring and autumn, the ship will call at Genoa, as well as Marseille, Barcelona, Valencia, Civitavecchia and La Spezia; and in the summer, Marseille, Tarragona, Palma de Mallorca, and a long stopover in Ibiza and Olbia are scheduled. Costa Fortuna will call at Genoa a total of 34 times. The ship was built just in Genoa, at Fincantieri shipyard, and named on 22 November 2003.
Starting from November 2019, the new flagship Costa Smeralda (180,000 gross tons and 6,600 total guests), currently under construction at the Meyer shipyard in Turku (Finland), will call at Savona and La Spezia every week for the whole winter season. The first call in Savona is scheduled on 3 November 2019, for a mini cruise. After that, from 9 November, Costa Smeralda will be in Savona every Saturday and La Spezia every Friday, on a one-week itinerary that will also call at Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Civitavecchia.
In anticipation of the arrival of Costa Smeralda, important work will be carried out over the coming months in Savona, which will not compromise port operations anyway. The Authority Port System of Western Ligurian Sea will work on making the port basin deeper, while Costa Cruises will invest a total of 4.5 million euros for two new passenger boarding fingers and for upgrades work on the Palacrociere buildings.
In La Spezia, Costa Cruises has obtained the adjudication of the concession for the management of the port's cruise areas and services in 2018.
The new flagship Costa Smeralda, powered both in port and at sea by LNG, will perfectly embody the concept of "Italy's finest" that is the distinguishing feature of the Costa brand around the world. It will offer brand new innovations, as well as new developments in terms of features for the most successful products on the ships already in service. For the interiors, four internationally renowned design companies have been chosen – Dordoni Architetti, Jeffrey Beers International, Partner Ship Design and Rockwell Group – under the guidance of creative director Adam D. Tihany.