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The largest Italian-flagged cruise ship, Costa Fascinosa, enters service in Venice
The ship was officially handed over at the Venice Passenger Terminal, and together with her sister ship Costa Favolosa, is the largest Italian-flagged cruise ship afloat.
The delivery ceremony was attended by Italy's Minister of Tourism Piero Gnudi, with his daughter Elsa named as godmother.
To celebrate, Costa Cruises and Fincantieri have made a joint donation to the Papa Giovanni XXIII Community by Father Oreste Benzi for the "Rainbow Project", a program which offers help to children in need worldwide, supported by Elsa Gnudi.
Simultaneously, Costa reinforced its ongoing commitment to safety by announcing that all Costa fleet members will raise their already high safety standards by introducing seven new safety initiatives.
These include: strengthening guest emergency training procedures beyond regulatory requirements; strengthening the invitation procedure for guests who missed emergency and safety on-board training; a new section "Noi per Voi" ("Here for You") on Costa Cruises' website to give even more transparency to safety procedures on board and the launch of the new real-time route-monitoring system "High Tech Safety Monitoring System" (HT-SMS).
Officers will also receive training on the new bridge-management model; formal sharing of the ship navigation plan; and further strengthening to the policies that regulate access to the bridge.
The total investment made by Costa Cruises for the Costa Fascinosa (www.costacruise.com/fascinosa) is 510 million euros, with the ship's construction involving 3,000 yard workers and a further 7,000 people from some 500 contracted suppliers.
Since 1990 Costa Cruises has invested 5.8 billion euros in work at Italy's Fincantieri, T. Mariotti and San Giorgio del Porto shipyards, with a total of 14 ships built or on order, in addition to the refurbishment of other fleet members already in service.
The handover of the Costa Fascinosa takes place nearly two months after the delivery of the Costa neoRomantica, the result of the 90 million euro refurbishment of the Costa Romantica carried out at the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard in Genoa.
Costa Cruises' fleet expansion program continues, again at Fincantieri's Marghera yard, with the construction of a new 132,500-tonne ship due for delivery in October 2014. Accommodating up to 4,928 guests, this new ship will become the largest Italian cruise ship.
"The delivery of the Costa Fascinosa is an important stepping stone in our company's road to recovery. It is confirmation that the long-term fundamentals of our business remain strong, since it's an investment worth over 500 million euros, coming just two months after the 90 million euro revamp of the Costa neoRomantica.
After the recent incident, despite the economic downturn and the impact on consumption, Costa has bounced back and booking volumes are back to the same levels recorded this time last year, ahead of our own expectations. This is thanks to the quality of our product, the strength of our brand, which comes with a guarantee of over 60 years of experience, and our unfailing customer loyalty," commented Costa Crociere S.p.A Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi.
The Costa Fascinosa sets sail from Venice on her vernissage cruise on May 6, bound for Slovenia, Trieste and Croatia, and will be hosting the 19th edition of the "Champions of the Sea" – an annual event in partnership with Costa Cruises that celebrates the best travel agents across five continents. Then, on May 11, Costa Fascinosa will depart from Venice once again, this time on her inaugural cruise – a 10-day itinerary taking in Greece, Israel and Turkey.
For the rest of the 2012 summer season until the end of November, the Costa Fascinosa will be operating seven-day cruises from Venice and Bari to Greece and Croatia. In winter 2012/13 the flagship will be in South America on cruises in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, while in summer 2013 she will be back in the Eastern Mediterranean on one-week trips to Greece and Turkey with departures from Venice and Bari.
At Costa Fascinosa's delivery, Costa Cruises also presented its itineraries for 2013, with more than 600 cruises all over the world now available for bookings.
About Costa Fascinosa
The central theme for Costa Fascinosa's interiors was created by architect Joseph Farcus. The inspiration for the design of the public rooms was to recreate the atmosphere of classic cinema, movie stars and famous stage plays.
The aft lido dedicated to the classic movie Gone with the Wind comprises some 1000 m2 devoted to relaxation and entertainment, with raised whirlpool tubs overlooking the sea, waterfalls and other attractions. The al fresco "Blue Moon" lido has a sliding glass roof allowing guests to gaze at the sky by day and by night all year round. This area also has a giant 18 m2 movie screen showing films and videos.
In the Playground, the "Nuovomondo" 4D Cinema is a guaranteed crowd pleaser for children and adults; video gamers will head for the dedicated virtual reality area, while web surfers can stay connected at the Internet Point. The Costa Fascinosa offers bow-to-stern broadband, guaranteeing connectivity for laptops, tablets and smartphones, thanks to the Wi-Fi service available throughout the public areas and in every stateroom.
Costa Fascinosa also sports a Grand Prix Simulator and golf simulator on the highest deck of the ship. The little ones will simply love the open-air Aqua Park water park playground with its own pirate galleon, castle and Waterslide.
Guests will be able to see superb shows in the "Bel Ami" show lounge, socialise in any one of the 13 bars including the coffee & chocolate bar offering treats from one of Italy's most famous chocolate makers Andrea Slitti; strut their stuff in the "Babylon" Disco; check out the live music in the "Blue Velvet" piano bar or try their luck at "The Millionaire" Casino.
Art and lifestyle
Fascinosa's permanent art display features specially commissioned original works and prints by contemporary artists such as Sophia Vari, Mimmo Paladino, Giulio Paolini, Casagrande&Recalcati and Annalisa Pirovano.
Fascinosa's "Samsara Spa" is one of the largest purpose-built wellness centers on a cruise ship, extending over 6,000 m2, and offering a range of exclusive services and treatments. For guests wishing to fully immerse themselves in a wellness cruise, the facility includes Samsara staterooms and suites with direct Spa access, including six new veranda suites with their own Jacuzzis. The Samsara experience extends to dining, with a wellness restaurant serving light tasty dishes.