Costa Cruises, the Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest leisure travel company and cruise operator, celebrated the traditional coin ceremony for its new ship, Costa Smeralda, yesterday, July 4, at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland, one of the biggest shipbuilding complexes in the world.
Entering service in 2019, Costa Smeralda will be the first cruise ship to be marketed broadly to consumers around the globe, particularly in Europe and Italy, that will be fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel.
With dual-fuel engines, Costa Smeralda will be fully powered by LNG while in port and at sea – an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality as LNG prevents emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides almost entirely at sea and in port. It also significantly reduces the emission of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.
Costa Smeralda represents further evidence of the pioneering and innovative spirit that characterizes the Costa Group, the market leader in Europe and Asia for cruising with AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises and Costa Asia.
During the ceremony, some commemorative coins were positioned along the keel of the ship as a symbol of good fortune for members of the crew, passengers and future voyages. This symbolic moment, which is part of shipbuilding tradition, was celebrated with an event attended by the senior management of Costa Cruises and the Meyer Turku shipyard. Elisabetta Moraci, a 28-year-old from Messina, Italy, second deck officer in the Costa fleet, served as godmother of the event.
“We celebrate this symbolic moment for our new ship with great enthusiasm,” said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “With LNG a breakthrough in fuel technology, Costa Smeralda represents a major innovation for the international market and an important step toward setting new standards for the entire sector. Costa Group is the market leader in Europe and Asia, and we continue to make sustainable tourism a key part of our industry leadership. Our strategy of ongoing innovation and continuous improvement will provide a significant boost to the development of LNG as an alternative fuel technology in the cruise industry.”
Costa Group, along with its sister brands within Carnival Corporation’s global portfolio, has been an industry leader in promoting and developing sustainable and environmental solutions. In addition to the use of LNG for cruise ships, Costa Group and Carnival Corporation’s global cruise brands have been industry leaders in pioneering the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) in the small confines of a cruise ship. Considered an environmental breakthrough, EGCS is installed on about 60 percent of ships in the Costa Group and Carnival Corporation fleets. The use of LNG and EGCS will both play an important role in further improving the impact of Costa Group’s marine operations.
“The coin ceremony marks the beginning of the hull assembly for the ship. From here our design and steel construction efforts will start to turn into an actual ship, so a very exciting time for us shipbuilders. We are very happy that Costa Cruises has entrusted with the design and the construction of this sophisticated LNG powered ship with a unique architectural design that truly expresses the Costa spirit. Now we are bringing our designs and plans to life,” said CEO of Meyer Turku Jan Meyer.
Added Palomba: “In addition to being a ship that represents the latest advancements in fuel technology and environmental impact, Costa Smeralda and its to-be-named sister ship expected in 2021, will be unique in terms of the services offered on board and the design. She will represent the best expression to date of our brand promise to deliver ‘Italy’s finest’ to our guests, which characterizes and differentiates Costa Cruises internationally. Costa Smeralda will create further opportunities to welcome new and existing guests into the exciting and immersive environment of a next-generation cruise ship, offering them an unforgettable vacation experience.”
In total, the Costa Group has 26 ships in service, which equates to 74,000 beds. Seven new ships will be coming into service between 2018 and 2023, including two for Costa Cruises, two for Costa Asia and three for AIDA Cruises, representing a total investment of over 6 billion euros. Once these seven new ships have entered service, the Costa Group’s capacity will have increased by over 50 percent to meet rising consumer demand for cruising over the next several years.
With a gross tonnage of more than 180,000 tons, Costa Smeralda will offer over 2,600 rooms and will enter service in Oct. 2019. Delivery of a second vessel, the sister ship of Costa Smeralda, also built by Meyer-Turku, is expected in 2021.
Costa Smeralda and its sister ship will be the first ships to be marketed broadly to global consumers that will use LNG to generate 100 percent of their energy, both in port and at sea, contributing to environmental protection and to achieving the ambitious sustainability goals set by Costa Cruises and its parent company Carnival Corporation.
Costa Smeralda’s debut is expected on Oct. 20, 2019, with a 15-day maiden cruise from Hamburg to Savona. The itinerary includes two-day stopovers in some of the cities with the richest history and culture in Europe, including Hamburg, Rotterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona and Marseille.
The Costa Smeralda christening ceremony will be celebrated in grand style in Savona on Nov. 3, 2019. The six-day inaugural cruise will depart from Savona on Nov. 4, 2019, and sail to Barcelona, Marseilles and Civitavecchia (Rome). Costa Smeralda will then continue to sail around the Western Mediterranean until April 2020, offering weeklong cruises including Marseille, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Civitavecchia, La Spezia and Savona, Italy.
Cruises on Costa Smeralda are available for immediate booking.