With travelers more attuned than ever to the rising cost of enjoying a European vacation, many are discovering what savvy globetrotters have long known – that sailing with Costa in the balmy Mediterranean “off season” winter months is “on.” From November through March, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line will offer 7-12 night cruises throughout the Southern Mediterranean locales of the Canary Islands, Greece, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt with prices beginning at just $799 per person.

Sailing with Costa in the Mediterranean winter months offers travelers the best of both worlds in terms of value and experience when visiting Europe. Lower air fare and cruise fares combined with California-like temperatures and fewer crowds give travelers a comfortable, value-driven experience. Moreover, Costa’s unique international ambience, marked by warm Italian hospitality and sophisticated guests from around the world create a true European experience for travelers.

One of Costa’s best Winter Mediterranean values takes guests to Spain, Morocco and the Canary Islands aboard the new Costa Serena on a 10-night voyage departing on December 8, 2008 with cruise fares beginning at just $799. Guests will depart from Savona (Portofino) and visit Barcelona, Casablanca, St. Cruz de Tenerife, Funchal (Madeira) and Malaga. The 3,000 double occupancy capacity Costa Serena is one of the most innovative ships in the Costa fleet, boasting one of the largest spas at sea, one of the largest enclosable pool decks on a ship and an authentic Grand Prix race car driving simulator. The Costa Serena was created for year-round winter Mediterranean cruising with its expansive wellness center and pool deck that may be enjoyed any time of the year.

“It’s no secret in savvy travel circles that visiting Europe in the off-season is one of the best values out there and it’s no secret in even savvier circles that Costa has long been an even better value and richer experience in doing so,” said Maurice M. Zarmati, President and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines—North America. “Not only will guests get a taste of Italy, but they’ll also sail off to fantastic European winter hot spots including the Canary Islands and Morocco. With fares as low as they are, there’s no reason travelers shouldn’t be considering this as their first option for a winter cruise destination.”

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.