When it comes to groups, Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, is offering even more amore than ever for its 2009/2010 programs. Group programs for Costa’s new Europe 2010 itineraries are now available for sale, complete with incredible benefits for travel agents including a guaranteed 17% commission and no deposit on groups for four months. In addition, Costa has extended its Caribbean Group Promotion, featuring equally rich benefits for agents. Both promotions are available through May 29.

Travel agents booking groups with Costa in Europe in 2010 will give their clients a world of value, and enjoy a host of benefits for themselves. Agents who reserve their Europe groups before May 29 will receive a guaranteed 17% commission, one TC for every 15 (16th passenger free), a complimentary bottle of Spumante (complimentary cocktail party for 2009 groups) and no deposit required for a full four months (three months for 2009 groups). Best of all, travel agents will be giving their clients a true value for their money with more than 60% savings off a land-based vacation, complete with multiple cities or countries in a single vacation without packing or unpacking. Costa is the Europe expert and has been for over 60 years, offering a true international immersion both on and off the ship and more convenient 7-night options than any other cruise line in the region. Europe group fares in 2010 begin at just $499 per person.

“Booking groups with Costa has never been more lucrative for travel agents and their clients – we offer a simplified fare structure, exceptional values, a dedicated, quick and nimble group department to assist every step of the way, even marketing co-op funds,” said Maurice Zarmati, president and ceo of Costa North America. “Our group promotion for 2009/2010 Europe and Caribbean programs is one of the best I’ve ever seen with a guaranteed 17% commission and no deposit required for up to four months.”

Costa has also extended its Caribbean 2009/2010 group promotion. When reserving groups by May 29, travel agents will receive a guaranteed 17% commission, one tour conductor credit for every 9 (10th passenger free), a complimentary cocktail party, no group deposit necessary for three months, and additional savings of up to $250 per person off previously discounted group rates.

Caribbean group fares begin at just $399 per person. Costa’s 2009/2010 Caribbean program from Ft. Lauderdale features the return of the grand Costa Fortuna as well as a second ship – the stunning Costa Atlantica.

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.