Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s n.1 cruise line, inaugurated on 26 June 2010 the new international cruise terminal in Tianjin with the first port call of the Costa Romantica (53,000 gross tonnage and total Guest capacity of about 1,700).

The opening of the new terminal is a major step forward in the growth in China of Costa Cruises, the first international cruise company to enter the Chinese market, marketing its “Italian made” product in the People’s Republic, and now one of the most dynamic international enterprises working in the Chinese travel trade.  With the arrival of the Costa Romantica, the Italian Company is further expanding its cruise capacity in China:  the Costa Romantica is joining her sister ship Costa Classica, effectively doubling the number of Costa ships deployed in the Far East.  In all, the Costa Romantica will be calling at Tianjin 10 times this year.  Since its debut in China in 2006, Costa Cruises has invested around 50 million euros in the region and quintupled its cruise capacity, with a total of 93 Chinese port calls in 2010. In 2010 more than 120,000 cruise Guests are expected to be on a vacation on board a Costa ship in Asia. Costa’s Far Eastern cruises sail from the ports of Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Singapore and include stopovers in some of the region’s most popular resorts such as Sanya (China), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Da Nang (Vietnam), Okinawa (Japan), Kagoshima (Japan), Nagasaki (Japan), Fukuoka (Japan) and Cheju (South Korea).

“Costa Cruises is proud that the first call of the Costa Romantica, a symbol of “Italian-made” excellence and elegance worldwide, also marked the inauguration of the new Tianjin cruise terminal,” said Costa Crociere S.p.A. President Gianni Onorato.  “The new terminal is a reward for our pioneering investments and work in this part of the world, carried out thanks also to the invaluable support of the Chinese authorities, the ultimate aim being to popularize a new form of vacation in China, a type of holiday that was practically unheard of before in the People’s Republic:  namely, cruise vacations.”

China’s third most important city in terms of commerce and industry, Tianjin is currently enjoying rapid expansion in the cruise sector.  The local port, called Xingang (New Port), is the most important commercial harbor in China’s northern provinces and also serves as the port of Beijing. The new terminal is located south of the Dongjiang port area and covers some 1.2 million square meters.  The area developed in the first stage of the building project comprises 700,000 square meters and can accommodate 6 large cruise ships at a time.  The actual terminal building itself has a surface area of 59,000 square meters and can handle up to 4,000 cruisers, with a total of 500,000 passengers a year.

Costa has achieved considerable market recognition in China, winning numerous awards since 2006, the most recent being the Italo-Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s “Golden Panda Award” on June 12 this year, for Costa’s contribution to the promotion of Italy in China. In 2009 Costa Cruises received the “China ROI Media Award” Golden Prize from the Asia International Creative Communication Group, which rewarded the Italian company’s marketing and advertising initiatives which generated the best return on investment.  During the same year, Costa also received the “Golden Magellan Award” from Travel Weekly, one of the most important travel magazines in the United States, which awarded the Italian company for the best direct mail marketing campaign.

Furthermore, during the “2009 China Travel & Meeting Industry Awards”, organized by Travel Weekly China Costa Cruises has been awarded as Best Cruise Operartor. Costa Cruises already received two important awards in China: the “Most Popular Cruise Line” award, presented during the "World Travel Fair” 2009, the leading tourism exhibition in eastern China, and the “Golden List Award” of the “Preferred Cruise Line" competition organised by the National Geographic Traveller magazine.

The Italian Company’s operations in China began in July 2006 with one ship, the Costa Allegra (28,400 gross tonnage and 1,000 total Guests), offering cruises out of the port of Shanghai. In 2008 Costa inaugurated Shanghai’s cruise terminal on occasion of the 100th cruise of Costa Allegra.

Costa was the first international cruise company to operate regular cruises in China and Asia, bringing its special brand of “Cruising Italian Style” to the Chinese market. The arrival of the Costa Allegra in Shanghai marked the celebration for the opening of the “Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal”.

Encouraged by the positive performance of it cruises and believing in the potential for further development of the market, in April 2009 Costa Cruises positioned a second ship in China and Asia – namely the Costa Classica (53,000 gross tonnage and 1,680 total Guests), deployed alongside the Costa Allegra.  In April this year Costa boosted its regional capacity yet again, replacing the Costa Allegra with an even larger ship, the Costa Romantica, which joined the Costa Classica.

Almost 4 years on, Costa has contributed significantly to the development of the cruise industry in China, consolidating its leadership in the sector.  Costa is the only international line to market cruises in China and the Far East all year round.  Costa has two local offices supporting its expansion in China and the Far East – one in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong.

In January 2010 Costa was the first international operator in China to offer regular cruises to Taiwan for customers in the People's Republic.  There are 15 such cruises scheduled this year, each lasting 5 days and 4 nights, with departure from Hong Kong in January, February, May and June on the Costa Classica, and port calls at some of the island’s finest resorts such as Taipei, Keelung and Taichung.

The Itineraries

The two Costa ships currently operating in China and the Far East – the Costa Classica and Costa Romantica – offer both short cruises, from 4 to 6 days, favored by the local clientele, and longer holidays, from 14 to 16 days, which are more popular with international customers.

In the 2010 summer season the Costa Romantica will be offering 5- and 6-day cruises to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Fukuoka) with departures from Tianjin and Shanghai.  Meanwhile, in June this year the Costa Classica will resume her direct sailings from Hong Kong to Taiwan; then from July she will be operating out of Shanghai on 4- to 6-day cruises to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Fukuoka, Kagoshima and Nagasaki).

In the 2010/11 winter season, while the Costa Romantica will be positioned in Mauritius on Indian Ocean cruises, the Costa Classica will be offering 14-day cruises from Hong Kong to Vietnam and Thailand, plus a new 14-day itinerary, which can be broken down into two 7-day segments, sailing from Singapore to some of the loveliest destinations in Thailand and Malaysia.  In February, May and June 2011 the Costa Classica will once again be deployed on regular scheduled cruises to Taiwan.

In the 2011 summer season the Costa Romantica will be back in Shanghai operating on 4- to 6-day cruises to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Fukuoka, Kagoshima and Nagasaki).  Meanwhile, the Costa Classica will be departing from Tianjin and Shanghai on new 6- to 8-day itineraries to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Osaka, Fukuoka, Kagoshima and Nagasaki).