Costa Cruises, Italy’s largest tourism group and Europe’s no. 1 cruise company, and Europe’s largest low fares airline Ryanair have announced the signing of a commercial alliance in London. Under the terms of the agreement, the Italian operator will be Ryanair’s exclusive partner cruise line for the next 3 years, until 2010.

The aim of the partnership is to create business synergies in Europe, where both companies enjoy positions of leadership, especially as regards the U.K., Italy, France, Spain, Germany and some emerging countries, included Scandinavian ones. In 2008 Costa Cruises carried about 1,200,000 Guests on board its ships and this figure is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2010. In the 2008/2009 fiscal year Ryanair will carry 58.5 million passengers and the airline expects this figure to hit the 100 million mark by 2012. Furthermore there are 50 Ryanair routes departing from the UK and elsewhere in Europe connecting destinations that are also the ports of departure for Costa Cruises in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe: Venice, Savona, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Barcelona, Marseilles, Kiel.

Costa Cruises will be the only cruise line on Ryanair’s website (, thus boosting its web visibility. Ryanair is Europe’s largest travel website with over 4 billion page visits and 170 million unique visitors a year. Thanks to the newly announced agreement, people accessing Ryanair’s online website will be able to book cruises with Costa directly through the site: a vast range of 250 separate destinations – with departures from almost 50 ports located worldwide.

For Ryanair this partnership constitutes an extension and an enhancement of its range of services offered to customers, and will allow Ryanair passengers to connect with Costa Cruise ships departing from Venice, Savona, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Barcelona, Marseille and Kiel among others by taking advantage of Ryanair’s guaranteed lowest fares.

"This agreement enables us to further extend our potential customer base by reaching a type of traveler that regularly uses the web channel, namely professionals aged between 25 and 45” said Costa’s Sales Director Europe and New Markets Angelo Capurro. “This strategy is very much in line with our large-scale fleet expansion program, with 5 new ships due to enter service, 3 of which to be delivered over the next twelve months.”

“Ryanair continues to grow by delivering our guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel surcharges. Ryanair is pleased to team up with Costa Cruises to allow our passengers access great value cruise holidays at 50 port destinations which are served by Ryanair. – said Ryanair’s Director of Commercial Revenue Sinead Finn. “Ryanair and Costa Cruises will increase the accessibility and affordability of cruise holidays and bring greater choice to those looking to beat the recession but who still want to get away for a relaxing holiday. Passengers can book Ryanair’s unbeatable fares and Costa Cruises’ unbeatable cruise packages directly on”