Costa Cruises has confirmed its leadership in the Mediterranean; this region, which enjoys one of the highest growth rates in the global cruise industry.

It is estimated that this year, with about 2,800 calls in 92 destinations, there will be almost 9 million passenger movements in Mediterranean ports for the ships in the Costa fleet, all of which are Italian-flagged; this amounts to a 33% increase compared to 2010. Italian ports will benefit most from the cruise traffic generated by Costa Cruises, with almost 4 million passenger movements, 50% more than last year. Costa’s ships will carry more than one third of the 11 million passenger movements expected in Italy’s ports in 2011.

After Italy, the Mediterranean countries expected to see the most Costa passenger movements are Spain and Greece, each one with more than 1 million passenger movements, and France, with more than half a million. Costa’s ships will be calling at a total of 92 Mediterranean ports, including 21 in Italy, 17 in Spain, 11 in Greece and 9 in France.

Costa’s expansion in the Mediterranean in 2011 will be supported by the new flagship Costa Favolosa, which is currently nearing completion and is set to depart on her vernissage cruise from Venice on July 4. The Costa Favolosa, the 15th member of the Costa Cruises fleet, will be an example of Italian excellence and, as such, will help celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. Built at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard, her construction has involved the labor of around 3,000 yard workers plus a further 7,000 people employed by contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms.

The Costa Favolosa is part of Costa Group’s 9.6 billion euro fleet expansion program, started in 2000.  After the Costa Favolosa, her sister ship Costa Fascinosa is due for delivery in summer 2012, which will make the Costa Cruises fleet 16-strong.

Thanks to the debut of the two new sister ships Costa Favolosa and Costa Fascinosa, Costa Cruises’ growth in the Mediterranean will continue in 2012, with forecasts of around 9.5 million passenger movements and 16 fleet members. Next year Costa’s ships will be calling at 22 destinations in Italy, by virtue of the  return of Trieste as one of the Italian Company’s domestic ports of departure.