The official inauguration has taken place of the third berth at the Savona Palacrociere, the cruise terminal managed by Costa Cruises.  The occasion was also marked by the unveiling of a plaque on one side of the pier, commemorating the visit to Savona on May 17 this year by Pope Benedict XVI and his departure by helicopter from this very spot.

“The upgrading of the Palacrociere will enable us to provide adequate support for our large-scale fleet expansion program, with some five new ships scheduled for delivery by 2012.  Both the new ships due to enter service in 2009 will call at Savona:  the Costa Pacifica for the whole year starting in June, and the Costa Luminosa in the fall,” announced Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi.  “We were the first company in Europe to introduce a policy of direct management of cruise terminals and the results achieved in Savona show that this policy is a winner in terms of development not only of the cruise industry but also of the business generated for the local economy as a whole.”

The new berth was made possible by “straightening” the existing pier following the transfer of the “Azimut” and “W Service” yards to the 2/3 zone of the port; work began on the project in 2007.  Some 325 meters in length, the additional berth will allow the terminal to handle up to three cruise ships and 8000 passengers at a time.  The Savona Port Authority has invested a total of 8.7 million euros in the construction of the new facility.

The pier was officially used for the first time for the arrival of the Costa flagship Costa Concordia (114,500 gross tonnage and total Guest capacity of 3780), which departs from Savona every Monday on 7-day Western Mediterranean cruises.  Also docked at the Palacrociere, at “Calata delle Vele” pier, was the Costa Mediterranea (87,500 gross tonnage and accommodation for 2680 Guests), which is currently deployed on the three Grand Anniversary Cruises (October 26, November 3 and 11) with a special dedicated program celebrating the Italian Company’s 60-year history.

The availability of the new berth will consolidate the Savona cruise terminal’s position as a leading player in the Mediterranean.  In 2009 Costa’s ships are expected to make a total of 182 calls in Savona with 740,000 passenger movements, an increase of over 10% on the figures for 2008.

The extensions to the Palacrociere comprise not only the new berth but also the addition of a second terminal alongside the existing facility.  The upgrading project should be completed by the beginning of 2010 and will be financed entirely by Costa Cruises, with a total investment worth some 10 million euros.

The Italian company Costa Cruises, the favorite cruise line in Italy and across Europe, is the number one operator in the Port of Savona.  Costa’s liners began calling at Savona in November 1996 with the arrival of the Costa Riviera, the first cruise ship to dock there.  Since 2001 Costa has been managing the passenger terminal directly.  The Palacrociere, which Costa co-financed with an approximately 3.6 million euro investment, opened on November 24, 2003.