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Costa Crociere, the leading cruise company in Italy, Europe and South America, has announced its schedules for the 2005/2006 winter season, with several important new features both in the Caribbean and in South America, as well as the introduction of new itineraries in the Mediterranean. From November 2005 to April 2006 Costa Crociere will be offering a total of around 143 cruises.
Like last winter, four ships will be operating in the Mediterranean, offering 50 cruises with departures from the Savona Palacrociere, the cruise terminal co-financed and managed by the Company: the Costa Fortuna, Costa Classica, Costa Europa and Costa Marina. In this way Costa Crociere is confirming for 2005/2006 its commitment to the winter cruise market in the Mediterranean, where there will be new eastbound itineraries on offer, heading for Greece, Egypt and Libya.
In particular, the Costa Fortuna will be operating on 11-day cruises with stopovers in Savona, Civitavecchia (homeport for the first time also for the winter season), Alexandria (Egypt), Cyprus, Rhodes (Greece), Smirne (Turkey), Athens (Greece) and Olympia (Greece). Other big news is the introduction of the Costa Classica for the first time in the Mediterranean winter; she will be deployed on nine 11-day cruises in Egypt and Libya (a new destination for the winter season) calling at Savona, Naples, Alexandria (Egypt), Cyprus, Rhodes (Greece), Malta and Tripoli (Libya). The ship will also be engaged in four additional 11-day cruises to the Canary Islands. Both the Costa Fortuna and the Costa Classica will be sailing on special cruises offering the chance to see the total eclipse of the sun, which will be visible in the southeast Mediterranean only, at the end of March and the beginning of April 2006.
Meanwhile, from November 2005 to April 2006 the Costa Europa will be departing on 11-day cruises bound for the Canary Islands, with a stop in January when the ship will be dry-docked for major refurbishing in both the Hotel and Engine departments.
The Costa Marina, reserved by the Company exclusively for the German-speaking market, will offer cruises out of Savona lasting between 10 and 15 days and bound for Egypt and Canary Islands. From the end of January 2006 the ship will be departing from the homeport of Venice offering cruises in Egypt lasting between 10 and 15 days (one dedicated to observation of the solar eclipse). Four ships will be operating in the Caribbean on a total of 68 cruises: the Costa Magica and Costa Mediterranea, dedicated mainly to the North American market; the Costa Allegra and Costa Atlantica, intended for European guests.
The headline news is the debut beyond the Mediterranean of the Costa Magica, the flagship of the fleet, which will bring about a 27% increase in Costa's capacity in the Caribbean for the North American market. The Costa Magica will join the Costa Mediterranea and offer 7-day cruises leaving from Fort Lauderdale (Florida). The two vessels will alternate on three different routes: one to the Eastern Caribbean (Fort Lauderdale, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Catalina Island, La Romana and Nassau), one to the western Caribbean (Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman) and one new itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean (Fort Lauderdale, St. Martin, Tortola, Nassau). The Costa Magica will also be deployed on two cruises to the Bermudas, this being a first for the company.
At the end of the winter season in the Caribbean, on 5 May 2006, the Costa Magica will be positioned in Northern Europe by means of an exclusive 16-day transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Copenhagen, including a 2-night stopover in New York. The Costa Allegra, using Miami as her homeport, will offer European Guests an exclusive 11-day itinerary taking in Mexico, Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica and Grand Cayman.
The new deployment of the Costa Atlantica for the European market will lead to a substantial enhancement of the quality of the offer with a larger, more comfortable ship featuring some 620 oceanview cabins fitted with private verandas overlooking the sea. The Costa Atlantica will depart from Guadeloupe every week on a 7-day cruise to Antigua, St. Martin, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Catalina Island (managed exclusively by the Company), Tortola and St. Lucia.
In South America, the Costa Victoria will be operating on a total of 25 cruises together with - for the first time - the Costa Romantica, which will replace the Costa Tropicale, due to be sold to P&O Australia in October 2005. Consequently, there will be an increase not just in capacity (+16%), but also in the quality of the offer, for the key South American market, where Costa Crociere performed extremely well in the 2004/2005 winter season. Both the Costa Victoria and the Costa Romantica will be operating out of Santos (Brazil). The Costa Victoria will be offering 7- and 6-day cruises and mini-cruises bound for the most fascinating places in Brazil, while the Costa Romantica will be engaged in schedules of between 3 and 22 days in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, including in particular a spectacular cruise to Tierra del Fuego, departing on 1 February 2006.
2005-2006 WINTER SEASON SCHEDULE OF ITINERARIES
Mediterranean - 50 cruises
Costa Fortuna - 13 cruises from the Savona Palacrociere
Costa Europa - 11 cruises from the Savona Palacrociere
Costa Classica - 14 cruises from the Savona Palacrociere
Costa Marina - 12 cruises from the Savona Palacrociere
Caribbean - 68 cruises
Costa Magica - 21 cruises from Fort Lauderdale (Florida)
Costa Mediterranea - 22 cruises from Fort Lauderdale (Florida)
Costa Atlantica - 17 cruises from Fort Lauderdale (Florida)
Costa Allegra - 8 cruises from Miami (Florida)
South America - 25 cruises
Costa Victoria - 14 cruises from Santos (Brazil)
Costa Romantica - 11 cruises from Santos (Brazil)
On Monday, May 30, the Costa Classica arrived in the port of Ancona. The stopover of this ship also marked the occasion of the opening of the new Cruise Terminal. Until October 31, the Costa Classica will be in Ancona every Monday, from 8:00am to 6:00pm, a total of 22 calls, bringing an estimated 40,000 passengers to the Adriatic seaport. Ancona will be a stopover on the 7-day cruise to Athens (Greece), Crete (Greece), Corfu (Greece), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Venice.
The addition of Ancona to the Costa Classica's itinerary represents one of the main new features offered by Costa in the Mediterranean for 2005; indeed, Costa is the first cruise company to introduce Ancona as a regular port of call.
"We're delighted," announced Costa Crociere Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, "to be inaugurating the Costa Classica's cruise season in Ancona. I wish to thank the Municipality, the Port Authority, the Provincial Administration of Ancona and the Marches Regional Administration for their investment and support enabling us to bring one of our ships here every week. We are the first to believe in the potential of Ancona as a cruise port and we are of the opinion that this city is in a good strategic position geographically ....."
The Chairman of the Ancona Port Authority, Giovanni Montanari, expressed his warm thanks to Mr. Foschi for the opportunity that Costa Crociere is offering the port of Ancona by choosing it as a stopover for the Costa Classica's new cruise itinerary in the Adriatic, and explained the significance of this for local tourism. As well as being a port of embarkation and disembarkation for Central Italy, Ancona constitutes an attractive stopover for all the guests, Italians and foreigners alike, who will arrive on board the Costa Classica from Venice.
There will be seven shore excursions to choose from, including the appealing hilltop town of Urbino with its treasures; the Republic of San Marino at the foot of Monte Titano; Ascoli Piceno with its verdant hills; the Frasassi caves; a daytrip visiting Ancona with its churches; monuments and old town; and the Muses and the Mole Vanvitelliana. There will also be a tour amidst history and nature, to the resorts of the Conero Riviera, with a food and wine sampling trip around the local cellars.
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) (NYSE:CUK) has announced an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of a new 112,000-ton vessel for its Costa Cruises unit. Delivery is scheduled for Spring 2007. To be built at an all-in cost of 475 million euro, the as-yet-unnamed ship will feature a basis two-guest capacity of 3,000 and total capacity, including upper berths, of 3,800. It will be a sister ship to the Costa Concordia, which begins a new class for Costa when it debuts in late Spring 2006.
The new "Concordia-class" vessels will offer innovative facilities and features, including a wide range of formal and casual dining venues, four swimming pools -- two of which will include retractable domes -- and state-of- the-art telecommunications capabilities. Of the ships' 1,500 staterooms, more than 60 percent will offer either an ocean view or balcony.
"Continuing to invest in the Costa brand and introduce new vessels to its fleet is key to maintaining Costa's preeminent position as Europe's number one cruise line and to ensure Costa's fleet is the most modern in the European market," said Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison.
Carnival Corporation & plc also announced plans to transfer the Costa vessel Costa Tropicale to its P&O Cruises Australia unit in October 2005. She will be renamed Pacific Star and will join the Pacific Sun and Pacific Sky in serving the expanding Australian and New Zealand market. The 1,022-passenger ship, which originally entered service under the Carnival Cruise Lines brand in 1982, was operated by that line until its transfer to Costa in 2001. Prior to joining the Costa fleet, the vessel underwent an extensive $30 million refurbishment. Further details of her Australasian itineraries will be announced later in January.
On the transfer of Costa Tropicale to P&O Cruises Australia, Arison stated, "We are constantly evaluating our ship assets and looking at which brands can best utilize certain types of vessels based on the characteristics of each brand and the markets in which each one operates. Costa Tropicale is a ship extremely well suited to the P&O Cruises Australia brand, and its transfer to that fleet is a perfect example of the synergies we can capitalize on through our multi-brand, global strategy."
The new Costa Concordia-class ship will be constructed at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente yard. To accommodate that vessel's construction schedule, minor adjustments were made to the delivery dates for two other Carnival Corporation ships under contract with Fincantieri. Delivery of Carnival Cruise Lines' new Carnival Freedom, a 110,000-ton Conquest-class ship, originally scheduled for Spring 2007, will be moved up three months to February 2007. The delivery date for the previously announced new Cunard vessel Queen Victoria has been modified from July 2007 to December 2007.
Double Celebrations for the Costa Magica
The festivities for the inauguration of the Costa Magica, the newest flagship in the Costa fleet, involved two European countries. It all started in Genoa, Italy, where the Costa Magica was presented as a debut to the city with a concert by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. It was an outstanding performance during a charity-oriented evening: all the proceeds from the concert by the American swing band will be used to finance the restoration of Ligurian heritage artifacts under FAI.
The Costa Magica's christening ceremony was held in Barcelona, Spain. The exceptional godmother, the beautiful Spanish actress Paz Vega, cut the ribbon, in accordance with seafaring traditions, to launch the bottle against the side of the ship. If the Costa Magica's beautiful interiors are a tribute to Italy, the beautiful Paz Vega, with her elegance and winning smile, is the symbol of Spain, emphasizing how important this country is for Costa Crociere.
"Each time I attend the christening of one of our ships," stated Pierluigi Foschi, CEO of Costa Crociere, "I feel something special. But for the Costa Magica that feeling is even more intense because it's the first time that one of our ships is being christened outside of Italy. I hope that the Costa Magica will be a worthy ambassador of Italian style and taste even in Spain, a country whose historical ties with Costa go back more than 50 years."
The great event was the evening show. This year, once again, the "director" of the show was the amazing Valerio Festi who, through his scenic representations, narrated his "travel diaries" like a magical dream. His project is based on the idea of a voyage as a movement from something toward something; a voyage that becomes an experience, like a change in the human condition that represents the evolution of Man. The cruise is celebrated as a return to traveling for the pleasure of traveling and, in the so-called "narration by images," the great maestro of wonders reviewed the voyage over the last centuries through a series of visions created by projections on the side of the ship and by movements in flight: from the Grand Tour, the voyage in Italy as a cultural itinerary, to "vacanze romane," with flashes of the dolce vita, to "tutti al mare," the mass vacations of the '60s. The show came to an end with the vacation that you're missing, where the sight of the ship causes the sad masks to be replaced by the triumph of joy.
The evening's special guest was the dancer Cristina Hoyos and the "Solistas del Flamenco Andalúz." They presented a Flamenco show called "Al compás del tiempo" - "Keeping pace with the times," an incredible performance in which this traditional dance form combined with the sensuality of the beautiful dancers.
After the show, the evening continued with a delicious gala dinner, with a menu by Gualtiero Marchesi and Santi Santamaria, two of the best chefs from Italy and Spain.
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