Costa Cruises has recorded bookings growth for its end-of-year cruises.  This year approximately 70,000 guests will be taking a Costa Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve cruise vacation with some 14 (all Italian-flagged) ships in service, deployed on itineraries in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, United Arab Emirates, Far East, Caribbean, South America, Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

In addition to a host of special events planned, Costa’s ships will be festooned with Christmas trees and festive bunting.  The ships will be positively buzzing with that unique end-of-year atmosphere providing a home away from home.  Of course Santa will also be coming to Costa’s floating towns and bringing presents for the youngest Guests.  Also, Costa Cruises is offering two exclusive menus for its Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners, specially devised for connoisseurs by a one-off partnership between Carlo Cracco (two Michelin stars) and Benedetta Parodi, one of Italy’s most popular TV chefs.  The menus served on Costa’s sailings during the festive season in the United Arab Emirates and the Mediterranean are based on simple high quality ingredients combined in original ways.

The popularity of Costa’s cruises at Christmas time and throughout the year explains the Company’s ongoing fleet expansion strategy, which continued this year with the entry into service of the Costa Favolosa – the latest flagship built by Fincantieri at Marghera and named on July 2, 2011 – and the debut of the Costa Voyager – which joined the Italian company’s ranks from the Spanish brand Iberocruceros at the beginning of November 2011. Furthermore in mid-February 2012 also Costa neoRomantica will be joining the fleet: a new ship, the 15th member of the fleet, coming from the complete refit of the Costa Romantica, being carried out at the San Giorgio del Porto yard in Genoa.

This year’s seasonal offerings therefore include more itineraries than ever before:  for Christmas and New Year, Costa Cruises will be deploying 14 ships with 26 sailings on over 20 different itineraries.

The range of options is staggering:  6, 9, 10 and 11-day cruises in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands on the Costa Deliziosa, Costa Serena and Costa Concordia; 7-day cruises to the United Arab Emirates and Oman on the Costa Favolosa; 7-day cruises to the Red Sea on the Costa Voyager; 7 and 10-day Caribbean cruises on the Costa Luminosa, Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea; 7, 8 and 9 days in South America on the Costa Pacifica, Costa Magica, Costa Fortuna and Costa Victoria; a 14-day cruise to the Far East on the Costa Classica; and 14 days in the Indian Ocean on the Costa Allegra.