Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, beat last year’s historic record of booking one million guests by doing so five weeks earlier in 2008 than in 2007. The record was reached on June 10, 2008,  exactly 37 days earlier than in 2007 when Costa booked its millionth guest of the year on July 17. The achievement was a first for the company, which had never carried as many guests in a 12-month period over its 60 year history and is a record for the European cruise industry as a whole.

“Thanks to the healthy trend in our global sales efforts, reflecting the increasing popularity of our product, we have done even better than last year, when we celebrated the record of one million customers, set in mid-July, for the first time in Europe,” said  Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere. “This is a truly excellent performance, which consolidates and confirms our position as Europe’s number one cruise line and rewards the efforts of the 15,000-plus people who work for Costa.”

Costa expects to end 2008 with a 6% increase of total guests compared to the 1,100,000 who took a Costa cruise in 2007. This rise is in line with the extra capacity offered this year (and generated by the year-long availability of the flagship Costa Serena, which entered service in May 2007). The company’s next objective is to reach 1.5 million total guests in 2010, which amounts to growth in excess of 35% in just three years.  This prestigious new goal is supported by a major fleet expansion program – the biggest in the world at present – comprising five new ships due for delivery by 2012, all built in Italy by Fincantieri and entailing a total investment worth 2.4 billion euros.  The addition of these new ships will lead to a 50% increase in the capacity of the fleet, which will be 17-strong by 2012 with berths for 46,400 guests.

This expansion is also mirrored by the exclusive new itineraries introduced by Costa, the first operator in the world to market cruises in the Far East with departures from China, in the UAE from Dubai and in the Indian Ocean with departures from Mauritius.

Costa Cruises is Italy and Europe’s number one cruise line.  For the past 60 years its ships have sailed the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream vacations with the best in fun and relaxation. In 2007 over 1.1 million guests chose to cruise with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry.

The company’s 12 fleet members, each with her own distinctive characteristics and unique style, all fly the Italian flag and sail each year to 250 destinations in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, South America, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and the Indian Ocean.

Five more vessels have been commissioned and will enter service by 2012. Costa Cruises has been certified by RINA (Italian Shipping Register) with the BEST4, an integrated system of voluntary certification of corporate compliance with the highest standards governing social accountability (SA 8000, issued in 2001), environment (UNI EN ISO 14001, 1996), safety (OHSAS 18001, 1999) and quality (UNI EN ISO 9001, 2000). All Costa’s ships have been awarded RINA’s voluntary “Green Star” notation based on the highest environmental protection standards.  Costa Cruises is also an official partner of the WWF for the protection of the marine ecoregions of the Mediterranean, the Greater Antilles and Brazil.