Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, kicked off its inaugural Canada/New England cruise series with the arrival of the Costa Atlantica in the Port of Quebec on Friday, October 2. The first call marks the beginning of a series of 11- to 13-night routes through Canada and New England this fall before the ship embarks on a winter Caribbean season from Ft. Lauderdale in November.

“We are proud to be in Québec to mark the beginning of Costa’s first season sailing from Quebec throughout Canada and New England, and to showcase our ship to the Québécois, who have long been loyal clientele of ours on sailings around the world,” said Maurice Zarmati, president and ceo of Costa Cruise Lines—North America. “This fall is just the beginning of much more to come, with additional cruises next spring and fall through the region on the ship. We look forward to the success of these programs and thank the Port of Québec for welcoming us.”

Sailing between New York and Quebec, the Atlantica will call at Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor and Halifax.

After completing a winter Caribbean season from Ft. Lauderdale in April 2010, the Costa Atlantica will return to Quebec as part of a limited series of 11- to 17-night routes throughout Canada and New England. The ship will then be positioned in Copenhagen sailing Northern Europe for the summer before embarking on another series of 11- to 17-night routes throughout Canada and New England.

The 86,000-ton (2,114 double occupancy) Costa Atlantica is dedicated to Italian art and culture, boasting design elements including Murano glass accents and in-laid mosaic tile, which provide a Venetian atmosphere to the elegant ship. All 12 passenger decks are a tribute to the life and work of Federico Fellini, Italy’s best known film maker, including a “Deck 8 1/2” in honor of one of Fellini’s most famous films. In addition, each deck is enriched with an original Milo Manara drawing evoking the film to which it is dedicated.The ship is a true floating museum of contemporary Italian art with over 400 original works of art featured by renowned and appreciated artists such as Paul Pennisi, Sergio Benvenuti, Luciano Vistosi, Lucio Bubbaco, GianMaria Potenza, Gian Maria Ciferri, Inos Corradin and Carlo Moretti.

In addition, 44 exclusive spa cabins create a true “vacation within a vacation” on the ship. Guests who reserve these spa accommodations will enjoy a variety of special privileges. These include a personalized wellness consultation, three complimentary treatments, two fitness or meditation classes and complimentary access to the Wellness Restaurant, offering a wide array of spa-friendly cuisine. Spa cabins, available in ocean view, veranda and suite categories, feature aromatherapy diffusers, special shower and air filters, and a mini bar stocked with healthy food and beverage selections. In addition, guests with these accommodations will be offered priority spa reservation times.

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 2008, 1.2 million guests chose to cruise with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry. The company’s 14 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. Three additional ships are on order through 2012.

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.