The first steel was cut today at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland for Costa Toscana, a future addition to the fleet of Costa Cruises, the Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest leisure travel company.
Costa Toscana is the second of the two new sister ships ordered by Costa Cruises and powered both in port and at sea by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. The first, Costa Smeralda, is nearing completion with the finishing touches being put to the interior fit-out at the same yard in Turku prior to her entry into service in October this year. Meanwhile Costa Toscana is expected to be delivered in 2021.
The introduction of LNG fueling is a ground-breaking innovation that will minimize environmental impact. It will mean improved air quality with the virtual total elimination of sulfur dioxide emissions (zero emissions) and particulate matter (95-100% reduction). The use of LNG will also greatly lessen emissions of nitrogen oxides (85% direct reduction) and CO2 (reduction of up to 20%). The gas will be stored in special tanks on board and will be used to generate the energy required for navigation and onboard services, thanks to dual-fuel hybrid engines. Costa Smeralda and Costa Toscana are an integral part of the strategic plan for carbon footprint reduction, defined by Carnival Corporation and fully implemented by Costa Cruises. The measures adopted by virtue of a dedicated investment plan enabled Carnival Corporation to meet its 25% carbon reduction goal for 2020 some three years ahead of schedule, with a 27.6% decrease in emissions from operations already achieved by 2018.
With gross tonnage of over 180,000 and more than 2,600 staterooms on each, Costa Smeralda and Costa Toscana are part of Costa Group’s (which includes the company’s Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises brands) fleet expansion plan, with seven new ships scheduled to enter service by 2023 and an overall investment worth over €6 billion. The first of these latest additions was AIDAnova, delivered last December, followed by Costa Venezia at the end of February 2019.
Costa Cruises President Neil Palomba said today, “The steel-cutting ceremony for Costa Toscana is another step forward in our sustainable development plan. LNG propulsion for cruise ships is a major innovation, pioneering a new era in the use of low-carbon fuels that will significantly reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment without compromising on safety, in line with our top priorities. Once again, Costa Cruises is paving the way for the industry as a whole: in accordance with our global vision aimed at sustainable development, we were the first to invest in this technology, which is now really starting to take hold. However, a lot remains to be done in terms of the ready availability of gas bunkering infrastructure to ensure the seamless transition to LNG. Costa Toscana and her sister ship Costa Smeralda may be highly innovative products, but they will retain that inimitable Italian hospitality that has been Costa Cruises’ hallmark since the brand’s inception, conveying the exhilaration of ocean travel and providing enhanced guest experiences for repeat and first-time cruisers alike.”
“Modern shipyard for modern ships. With the first Costa Cruises’ ship, Costa Smeralda, being delivered in October, both of these ships will have lots of beautiful design and interesting features – and, of course, very high quality work and best-in-industry engineering. We are very proud to build these ships for Costa,” states CEO of Meyer Turku Jan Meyer.
The Italian cruise line’s two new flagships — Costa Toscana and Costa Smeralda — will be tributes to the very best of Italy and, accordingly, each is named after one of the country’s loveliest and most popular areas (Tuscany on the one hand and Sardinia’s most famous coastal strip – costa is Italian for “coast” – on the other). On Costa Smeralda all the decks and public areas are named after – and designed based on – iconic Italian places. The food and wine offerings on board will feature the finest Italian culinary traditions, with the collaboration of prestigious partner suppliers. The ship will have 11 different restaurants (including one specifically conceived for casual family dining), 19 bars, a splendid spa area with 16 treatment rooms, an onboard waterpark with waterslides, four pools and a dedicated facility where kids can hang out and make new friends their age. Costa Smeralda also will have its very own museum: the CoDe, Costa Design Museum, showcasing the excellence of Italian design.
Like other Carnival Corporation sister lines, Costa Group is an industry leader in the promotion and development of innovative solutions aimed at minimizing impact and protecting the environment. As well as using LNG-driven ships, the brands of Costa Crociere Group and those of the entire Carnival Corporation portfolio were the first to introduce Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS), namely exhaust gas cleaning technology. Also known as scrubbers, Advanced Air Quality Systems have already been installed on over 70% of the ships operated by Costa Group and Carnival Corporation. The system guarantees the almost complete removal of sulfur oxide emissions, a 75% reduction in particulate matter and substantial nitrogen oxide emission abatement.
Costa Smeralda is set to make her debut on Oct. 20, 2019, with a 15-day preview cruise from Hamburg, Germany, to Savona, Italy, featuring two-day stopovers in some of Europe’s best cities for history and culture including Hamburg, Germany; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal; Barcelona, Spain; and Marseille, France. The official naming of Costa Smeralda will be celebrated at a special ceremony Nov. 3 in Savona. From there, the following day the new flagship will set sail on a six-day inaugural cruise to Barcelona, Marseille and Civitavecchia, Italy. Costa Smeralda will be deployed in the western Mediterranean through April 2021 on one-week cruises porting in Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia. Meanwhile, Costa Toscana’s cruise program will be announced in the next few months.
To learn more about Costa Cruises, visit www.costacruise.com. Connect directly with Costa socially on Costa’s official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.
Editor’s note: Photos are available at http://bit.ly/2GChP4d.