Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, is offering two free hotel night stays complete with transfers for guests booking select 7- to 12-night Mediterranean cruises with airfare. This special offer is available on sailings departing from Venice, Civitavecchia and Savona. Packages with 7-night cruise and roundtrip air from New York (JFK) and Newark begin at just $1,652 per person, with other attractive fares available from other major U.S. gateways.

With the package, guests may choose from hotel stays either pre or post cruise (one day pre or two days post) at the Laguna Palace Mestre in Venice, the Hotel Claridge in Rome and the Hotel Bristol Palace in Savona. All transfers are included.

“Costa offers a true European experience both on and off the ship, allowing for the romance of Europe to continue long after guests stroll the pathways of Rome and visit the stunning countryside of Provence,” said Maurice Zarmati, president and ceo of Costa North America. “This complimentary hotel and transfer offer, along with our incredible fares for Mediterranean cruises, is one of the best deals for seeing Europe this fall.”

The offer is available through May 31. The package is valid for 7- to 12-night Mediterranean sailings departing from Venice, Civitavecchia and Savona between September 1 and November 30.

When sailing with Costa in the Mediterranean, guests will enjoy the best of Europe both on and off the ship, creating an impressionable feeling of truly enveloping oneself in the ambience of the continent beyond the ports of call visited. Dining begins a bit later, with leisurely dinners boasting cuisine that is reminiscent of some of the best Italian restaurants from Venice to Rome. Italian phrases such as “buongiorno” welcome guests in the morning and “buonasera” in the evening, while English is always spoken in between. Cosmopolitan European travelers become new friends from around the world and soccer is understood as a passion, not just a game, after enjoying a match in the sports lounge.

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.

Two more new ships – the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica – are due for delivery at the end of April and the end of May 2009, and will be christened together in Genoa, Italy on June 5 this year. Three additional ships are on order. 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, 2004), safety (OHSAS 18001, 1999) and quality (UNI EN ISO 9001, 2000). All ships in the Costa fleet have been assigned RINA’s Green Star notation certifying that they are operated in compliance with the highest environmental protection standards. Costa Cruises is an official partner of the WWF for the protection of the marine ecoregions of the Mediterranean, the Greater Antilles and Brazil. In Mediobanca’s 2008 survey of over 3,700 Italian enterprises that recorded revenue of at least 50 million euros the previous fiscal year, Costa Crociere S.p.A. ranks 72nd in terms of sales and in 12th place in regards to profitability.