Costa Favolosa, the new “Italian-made” flagship of Costa Cruises fleet, took to the sea on Friday 6 August for the first time at a technical launch ceremony held at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard.
Setting sail on her first cruise in July 2011, Costa Favolosa (114,500 gross tonnage and 3,780 total guests) is the fourth of five new ships due for delivery between 2009 and 2012, marking a total investment worth 2.4 billion Euros.
The addition of the Costa Favolosa’s sister ship Costa Fascinosa, also being built in Marghera, will complete the Italian company’s ambitious fleet expansion programme when she launches in Spring 2012.
“The launch of Costa Favolosa underlines the strength and leadership of Costa Cruises,” says Marco Rosa, Area Director UK, Ireland, Scandinavia & South Africa from Costa Cruises.
“Despite the ongoing effects of the economic downturn and the uncertain outlook for global tourism, our fleet expansion programme has continued uninterrupted. The strength of our brand, which comes with a guarantee of over 60 years of experience and the quality of our product remain winning assets, highly appreciated by our customers. Also confirmed by the positive bookings achieved this summer, current projections suggest we are to end 2010 with a total of 2.1 million guests for the group as a whole, an increase of around 17% compared to last year.”
The construction of each new ship involves the labour of around 3,000 people, including both Fincantieri’s own employees and around 500 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms. Overall, the fleet investment programme launched back in 2000 by the Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group (Costa Cruises, as well as the number one brand for the German market, AIDA Cruises and Iberocruceros, which operates mainly for the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking markets) is worth 9.3 billion Euros.
“It is a source of great pride for us to launch this new jewel we are building for Costa Cruises, Europe’s cruise leader, with whom we are pleased to further strengthen our long-lasting, successful relationship,” says Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri CEO.
“This partnership, besides affording prestige, is absolutely vital for the future of the tourism sector and all the areas of business involved. Without the many ships built for Costa Cruises, Fincantieri would not be here today defending the company’s world leadership and the impact of the current serious crisis would be even greater. More than ever before, it is important to develop the partnership to ensure that our two companies, the leading builder and the leading operator in the cruise ship market, may long continue to represent the excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ around the world.”
The ceremony for the launch of Costa Favolosa observed the protocol laid down for such occasions by seafaring tradition. The director of the shipyard invited the Godmother, Beatrice Siri, to cut the ribbon and the bottle of champagne duly broke against the bows of the ship. Betarice Siri, Newbuilding and Special Projects Deputy of Costa Cruises, has been directly involved in the construction of the fleet’s last six ships, including Costa Favolosa, and on 8 March 2010 she received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic from the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. After the opening of the valves and the gradual flooding of the slipway where the ship has taken shape over the last few months, the hull of the Costa Favolosa was transferred for the first time to its natural element – the sea. The launch was preceded by the welding of a coin to the base of what used to be the mainmast in a ceremony traditionally considered to bode well.
As her name suggests (Favolosa is Italian for ‘fairy tale’), Costa Favolosa is intended to interpret the excitement and emotion of people who view the cruise as a magical voyage in a ‘contemporary enchanted castle’, a perfect combination of fabulous atmosphere and state-of-the-art hi-tech fun with a truly amazing range of amenities. The main on board innovations include: six new suites with private verandas and Jacuzzis, a new entertainment area for teenagers (but other age groups will enjoy it too), 4D Cinema, PlayStation World, a bar with ice-cream, drinks and popcorn, and a Teens’ Dance Floor; plus a children’s game room, and a new open-air Aqua Park water playground with its own pirate galleon.
Facilities will combine the very best of the Costa product: the Samsara Spa, one of the largest and most exclusive wellness centres ever built on a cruise ship; a large lido extending over two decks, with a sliding glass roof and giant movie screen; a Grand Prix driving simulator; and a golf simulator. The brand new design aft pool area will be particularly spacious: 1000 m2 of space dedicated to relaxation and entertainment with the added attraction of new raised whirlpool tubs.
Costa Favolosa’s position at the cutting-edge of cruise ship building technology also extends to environmental compliance, which has always been a hallmark of Costa Cruises. Similar to selected other fleet members, the Italian Company’s new flagship will be equipped for “cold ironing”, namely a system whereby the ship is plugged into shore side electrical power, enabling generators to be shut down during stopovers in port.
Costa Favolosa is set to make her debut on a three-day mini cruise departing from Venice on 4 July 2011; calling at Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Koper (Slovenia). This will be followed by her grand inaugural cruise, leaving Venice on 7 July and comprising of a ten day itinerary taking in Israel, Greece and Turkey with stopovers in Bari (Italy), Corfu (Greece), Haifa (Israel), Izmir (Turkey) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Throughout the 2011 summer season, Costa Favolosa will be offering seven-day cruises from the Italian ports of Venice and Bari to Olympia (Greece), Izmir and Istanbul (Turkey), and Dubrovnik (Croatia).