On Saturday it was announced that Costa Crociere (sister company of Carnival Corporation) has taken delivery of a new cruise line vessel that will be the company’s new flagship.
With the company still feeling the aftereffects of the Costa Concordia disaster in which over 30 people died, Costa is trying to renew the confidence of its future passengers with a new cruise ship and new safety guidelines to go along with it.
The new Costa Fascinosa will be Italy’s biggest cruise ship (along with its sister ship Costa Favolosa)and will be able to carry over 3,800 passengers on its 114,500 ton frame.
After the Costa Concordia wreck bookings for Costa took a big hit, as would be expected, but the company is seeing a return of its most loyal passengers and expects this new cruise ship to breathe some new life into its company.
The Costa Fascinosa will already be taking bookings in May of 2012, as it has already been christened in Italy. The $668.8 million Fascinosa has 13 bars and five restaurants. Other features of note include an Amarcord Atrium, designed as a Fellini-esque theatrical space with diamond-shaped chandeliers; an aft Lido with raised whirlpools, dedicated to the movie Gone With the Wind; and a 4D Cinema.
Costa Fascinosa’s inaugural cruise will be on May 11th of this year.
This new ship will mainly sail in the Mediterranean with stops at Venice, Dubrovnik, Olympia, Corfu, Izmir, Haifa and other ports of call as well.
Costa’s CEO, Pier Luigi Foschi, still understands the challenges the cruise line faces, telling reporters, “We can’t ignore the January accident. It hit us hard. We are working on safety issues.”
But Foschi still seems optimistic, adding, “”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.”.
There has been some opposition to the Fasinosa being built, along with other ships being built in Italy because of the environmental impact, and with the looming concerns about the Costa Concordia’s impact on tourism in Giglio.
Others have protested the fact that big ships are being built at all and have stated safety concerns with larger vessels. You can read our article on safety concerns with large cruise ships here.
But Carnival still believes in these large ships being built in Italy, having invested almost $24 billion on building ships in Italy in the last 24 years.
And with Carnival building 5 more cruise ships in Italy right now, it looks like the company is pressing forward with its investments in the Mediterranean.
“It’s true some people go for smaller ships for premium and luxury cruises but the bigger liners create additional amenities and they are the preference. They’re here to stay for quite some time,” Carnival’s Chief Operating Officer Howard Frank said.