With approximately 1,200,000 cruise guests in 2008 (a record for the European industry as a whole), encouraging performances for the first months of 2009, more ships under construction or on order than any other company in the world (a total of five, including three due for launch over the next 12 months, for a total investment of 2.4 billion Euros), over 250 destinations (with exclusive cruises in Dubai, the Far East and the Indian Ocean, and lots more news in the 2010 brochure, released in February this year), Italy’s largest tourism group and Europe’s number one cruise company, Costa Cruises is continuing to expand in spite of the global downturn. In 2008 Costa Cruises was, for the second year running, the only European cruise line to exceed the record figure of 1,000,000 total guests in just 12 months, with approximately 1,200,000 total guests.
In Europe, roughly one out of every five cruisers chose a Costa ship. Costa Cruises now has its sights set on the objective of 1,500,000 guests in 2010. In spite of the unfavorable economic situation, the Italian company continued to record significant and encouraging performances in the first months of 2009, thanks both to the popularity of the product among its Italian and international customers and to its reputation as a highly reliable brand with 60 years of cruise history.
Also important in this success are a series of initiatives launched in November 2008, in a spirit of optimism, designed to instill confidence in consumers booking cruise holidays: exceptional promotions for cruise reservations on all departures this winter, spring and summer; new advantages for families and new incentives for people who book well in advance. In addition, the 2010 brochure features further special offers and discounts for families, singles and groups.
The Italian company’s growth is backed up by a major fleet expansion program and ongoing product investment. Costa Cruises has more new ships on order or under construction than any other operator: five in all, scheduled for delivery by 2012 and entailing a total investment of 2.4 billion Euros.
They are all being built in Italy by Fincantieri, each one with the labour of around 3,000 people, comprising both Fincantieri’s own employees and those of an additional 500 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms.
Three of the new ships will be launched over the next 12 months: the Costa Luminosa (end of April 2009), Costa Pacifica (end of May 2009) and Costa Deliziosa (end of January 2010). The Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica will be named together at an exceptional joint christening ceremony scheduled for 5 June 2009 in Genoa, an event unmatched by any other cruise line anywhere in the world.
The new vessels will feature stunning design, technology and innovations guaranteed to offer a unique and exclusive product. Costa Luminosa and her sister ship Costa Deliziosa - at the ‘cutting edge of the fleet’ - will be intended for Costa’s ‘high-end’ customers, with trendsetting naval architecture and the use of superior materials such as fine marble, timbers, mother of pearl and Murano glass. From the entertainment point of view, the many innovations include a 4D cinema, rollerblading track, golf simulator, PlayStation World with PS3 and the Samsara Spa with a Kinesis room by Technogym, available for the first time ever on a cruise ship.
Costa Pacifica will be linked to an innovative project where the central ‘theme’ is music. 29 pieces form the exclusive compilation specially arranged by Mauro Pagani - an Italian musician with a highly successful career spanning 30 years - which will become the ‘sound track’ to the cruise, the basis of a total experience that will take the guest on a ‘musical journey’ around the ship.
The musical project on the Costa Pacifica also includes a fully equipped recording studio, where guests will be able to sing to prerecorded accompaniments and record their own CDs - a world first exclusive to Costa.
In keeping with its tradition of pioneering strategy, Costa Cruises has released its 2010 brochure in February this year, in all the countries where it operates. The publication of the brochure almost a year ahead of the cruise departure dates enables all Costa’s customers to take full advantage of ‘ProntoPrice’, the company’s landmark pricing policy introduced in September 2005, with greatly discounted rates exclusively available to early bookers.
In overall terms, Costa Cruises will be increasing its capacity in 2010 by 16% compared to this year, with approximately 250 destinations and over 100 different itineraries. The new brochure is packed with the exclusive destinations where Costa Cruises was the world’s first cruise line to offer: the Far East, with cruises on three different ships during the year, Dubai, on the state-of-the-art fleet-members Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa, and the Indian Ocean, where the Costa Romantica will be deployed for the first time. Among the exclusive innovations are summer cruises to Greenland on the Costa Luminosa, cruise holidays in Canada and the USA and new ports of call in the Mediterranean on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda and in Monte Carlo, Capri, Libya and Israel.
There are also two new types of excursions, with a total of over 1,100 different options. The 2010 cruise itineraries include around 240 eco-tourism excursions, comprising visits to parks, oases and nature reserves, with programmes that minimise the impact on the ecosystem and create economic opportunities for the local communities.
The second innovation is the introduction of ‘made to measure’ food & wine excursions, organised in restaurants listed in the 2009 Michelin Guide.