Carnival Corporation has announced that its affiliate Costa Crociere has reached an agreement with Kvaerner Masa-Yards for the construction of an 82,000-ton, 2,100-passenger ship. The $390 million dollar vessel is slated for delivery in spring of 2000.

The new Costa ship is the first in a series of newbuilding orders from Carnival Corp., with more orders expected for Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line later this month.

The new ship becomes the eighth in the Costa fleet. Managing Director Pier Luigi Foschi said in a prepared statement that the "new order reaffirms the new owners' confidence in the future of the company." Foschi said in an interview with Cruise lndustry News that so far he has been focusing his efforts to improve the company's efficiencies. In addition, he is reviewing ship deployments - "all in order to maximize revenues," he said.

Foschi said he does not expect Costa to post much higher revenues year-over-year for 1997 or 1998 since the ships have already been sailing full, and the pricing environment is competitive. But, he said, actions on the costs-side are paying off, thus improving the bottom line. In addition, the company's efforts to boost on­ board passenger spending are also paying off.

For the first six months of 1997, Costa posted net income of about $10 million on revenues of about $320 million.

During the winter months, Costa operates the Costa Allegra and Marina in South America, where Foschi said that "the Costa name is synonymous with cruising;" the Classica sails Caribbean cruises out of Guadeloupe, carrying European passengers; the Romantica and Victoria sail Caribbean cruises from Miami; the Riviera sails form Genoa to the Canary Islands; while the Mermoz sails worldwide with French passengers.

Foschi, who was previously executive vice president at the Otis Elevator Company in the Far East, said it would take five years or more to develop Far Eastern cruise markets and sees no imminent return of Costa to the region.