The Favolosa, near completion at Fincantieri, for her July 2, 2011 christeningCosta is introducing its new flag-ship this summer, the 114,200-ton, 3,012-passenger Costa Favolosa, entering service in July, following her christening in Trieste, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.

Costa President Gianni Onorato said that the company has invested in the cruise facilities in Trieste with the objective of developing it as a homeport, starting in the summer of 2012 with the Classica. The location allows easy access from Northern and Eastern Italy as well as from Slovenia and Croatia, in addition to Austria and Germany.

The 1,300-passenger Classica will sail 28 seven-night cruises from Trieste from May to November 2012, also using Bari as an embarkation port.

Costa has also announced multi-million euro refurbishments of the Romantica and the Classica, and was in the process of considering bids at press time, Onorato said. Work on the Romantica, however, is scheduled to start in December. She will be brought up to the standards of the new ships, he said.

A sister ship to the Favolosa, the Fascinosa will enter service in 2012, bringing Costa’s fleet to 16 ships, and an estimated annual passenger capacity of 1.5 million.

“Fleet renewal is a never-ending process,” Onorato continued. “Obviously, we do not have the biggest ships, but our ships offer a good combination of economies of scale and allowing us to explore new itineraries.

“I think this is a concept that translates well into our plans for the future. New ships can be big or small, that is less important than meeting the expectations of our guests. And it is not so much about hardware as about service and meeting the emotional needs of people on vacation.”

In other developments, the Costa Victoria will sail in South America this coming winter season instead of in the Mediterranean as previously announced, and will move to Asia in 2012, being the only balcony ship in that market, according to Costa. For the 2011/2012 season, Costa will have four ships in South America, while continuing to sail four ships in the Mediterranean during the winter. Costa will continue to focus on Europe for market growth, while also pursuing emerging market opportunities in Russia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

“Today, I am focused on the future,” Onorato added

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Summer 2011