Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s favorite cruise line, has announced a brand new project called “Send us a sea of names”, whereby Travel Agents worldwide are invited to suggest names for the Company’s 2 new sister flagships.

The ships concerned are the 16th and 17th Costa fleetmembers: two 114,500 gross tonnage sister ships with total Guest capacity of 3780 each, built by Fincantieri in Marghera (Venice) and scheduled to enter service in spring 2011 and 2012, respectively. They are part of a major fleet expansion program which, with 5 new ships due for delivery by 2012 entailing a total investment worth some 2.4 billion euros, is presently the largest of its kind in the world.

“Our commercial partners play a vital role in Costa Cruises’ success and the idea of asking them to help us to find the names of our next flagships to be delivered in 2011 and 2012 is a token of our recognition and also indicative of the importance Costa attributes to its network of Travel Agencies,” said Costa Cruises President Gianni Onorato. “Our steady growth over the last few years is the result of the commitment of those working with Costa and therefore also of our commercial partners, who promote the Company’s excellent product extremely effectively all over the world.”

The Travel Agents called on to join the search for names number over 200,000 and are located in more than 100 different countries. From March 16 through June 5 this year, Italian Travel Agents will be able to suggest one or more pairs of names (one for each ship) at www.costaclick.net, Costa Cruises’ B2B Italian website. Outside Italy, “Send us a sea of names” will begin on March 31, with the same closing date of June 5, with websites specially set up to host the initiative.

All the pairs of suggestions submitted and posted on www.costaclick.net and the other dedicated websites will be judged and an initial shortlist of 25 selected. The shortlisted Travel Agencies will each be given a “Thank-you Kit”, consisting of a plaque, a personalized model ship and a copy of Philippe Daverio’s book “Art is the Ship”.

Subsequently, all Costa’s customers and web users will be eligible to take part in a contest on the Company’s B2C website (www.costacruise.com), where they will be asked to choose their favorites from the shortlist of 25 pairs of names. The Agents that submitted the 3 most popular suggestions will be awarded, and one of the 3 pairs may in fact be used by Costa Cruises to name its 2 new flagships.

The 3 Agents chosen will be Guests of Honor at the christening ceremony for the first of the 2 flagships, which will enter service in spring 2011. What’s more, their Agencies will all receive a “Best Comfort, Best Costa Business” workstation; this ergonomic and functional work space has been specially designed by Costa to allow Agents to relate to customers as effectively as possible, thereby enhancing sales performance. The workstation includes a computer with two screens (one for the Agent and one for the customer), ergonomic Wi-Fi keyboard and mouse, ergonomic office chair, desk lamp and Costa limited edition penholder. In addition, the Travel Agent who submit the best couple of name will have the privilege of being Costa Cruises’ Guest on the 16th fleetmember’s maiden cruise.