This is the first time in the history of Italian seafaring that two cruise ships will be christened at the same time, in the same place: an extraordinary event that Costa Cruises, Italy’s largest tourism group and Europe’s no. 1 cruise company, has applied to Guinness World Records for verification.

Today marks the beginning of the official countdown for the simultaneous christening of the Costa Luminosa and the Costa Pacifica, the latest ships to join the Costa Cruises fleet, to be held in Genoa, on Friday, 5th June, during an event involving the entire city.

This is the first time in the history of Italian seafaring that two cruise ships will be christened at the same time, in the same place: an extraordinary event that Costa Cruises, Italy’s largest tourism group and Europe’s no. 1 cruise company, has applied to Guinness World Records for verification.

This unique event, that Costa Cruises dedicates with pride to Italy and to the Italian tricolour, will be held in Genoa, where the Company has been operating on a permanent basis since 1856, again confirming its close ties with the area. Recognising the importance of this event, the City of Genoa and the Liguria Region have invited the entire city to celebrate with a public exhibition of the National Aerobatic Team, to be held on 5 June in the skies above Corso Italia, as a tribute to the two new ships.

The show created for this exceptional christening, “An Italian Portrait in Music and Light”, will pay tribute to the all-Italian ability for making dreams come true. Starting from the inspirational theme of the ships - music for the Costa Pacifica and light for the Costa Luminosa – the show will re-propose a journey through the best Italian talents and artists known around the world. This will include the musical and artistic performances by some of the most important figures in the Italian and international scene, such as Mauro Pagani, a renowned Italian musician with thirty years of experience who composed the sound track for the Costa Pacifica, the first “ship of music”. The evening will end with a show involving the entire city with lights, music and fireworks.

Friday, 5th June, the Costa Pacifica and the Costa Luminosa will be berthed at Ponte Andrea Doria, in the Port of Genoa, thereby creating an absolutely original amphitheatre that will be the venue of a huge stage and stands for 4,000 guests, including, for the very first time, the cruise Guests of the two ships.

“The christening of the Costa Luminosa and the Costa Pacifica is a very important event for our company: it is the tangible result of the success that comes from our constant commitment to innovate and renew the concept of travel and hospitality, factors that make Costa Cruises’ international leadership so distinctive – declared Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A. - A unique event that celebrates an all-Italian business tradition, that Costa Cruises has decided to celebrate in the Port of Genoa. I’m delighted that the public institutions have recognised the real importance of this event that celebrates and gives prestige to the city and the area, and I thank them for deciding to make our day of festivities even more significant with another exceptional event, a symbol of Italian pride. It will be an honour to receive the Frecce Tricolori’s tribute: an aerobatic show for the entire city.”

“The simultaneous christening of two ships from the Costa Cruises fleet – states Genoa mayor Marta Vincenzi - renews Genoa’s old seafaring tradition, strengthens the image of its strategic role as the gateway of Europe on the Mediterranean, and enhances the international dimension of its port. I’m certain that the Costa Luminosa and the Costa Pacifica will help to present and enhance the image of Genoa, along with all its tourism and cultural aspects. 5th June will be a festive day for the entire city, also thanks to the Frecce Tricolori that after a five-year absence, has returned to paint the Ligurian sky with its spectacular acrobatic feats.”

“It is truly significant that this event is taking place in Liguria, in the port of Genoa, confirming the bond between Costa, its cruise activities and Ligurian ports – declared the president of the Liguria Region, Claudio Burlando. And this is a particularly important sign during the present-day crisis. Cruise ship activities are important because of the jobs it creates in the shipbuilding industry and for its contribution to the development of tourism traffic. We are counting on this synergy to increase the number of visits to and enhance the distinction of Ligurian destinations where there is such a wealth of environmental, historical and artistic resources.”

“What today should be celebrated with pride – declared Alessandro Repetto, President of the Province of Genoa – is not only the extraordinary record of christening two cruise ships at the same time in the same location, an outstanding achievement of the great entrepreneurial talents of Costa Cruises, that honours Genoa as the lcoation for its company headquarters. What today we must also be proud of is the fact that this is an all-Italian operation in which two new ships of a group under Italian management, flying the Italian flag and built entirely in Italian shipyards is backed by the skills of a general staff of officers, including young cadets who have been trained and graduated from the Italian Academy of the Merchant Marine. This school for cadet fficers was established in Genoa, also thanks to Costa Cruises, that has been working with us since the foundation of this project, offering real job and career opportunities to young people who, in ever increasing numbers, are rediscovering the sea as a viable profession”.

The two new ships, both flying the Italian flag, just like all the other 12 vessels in the Costa Cruises fleet, are the symbol of Made in Italy: commissioned to Fincantieri, their construction required the professional expertise of 6,000 workers from Fincantieri and roughly 500 linked industry companies, the majority of which are Italian, for a total investment of more than €900 million. The 2 new ships are part of the world’s most ambitious fleet expansion plan, with 5 new ships to be delivered by 2012 for a total investment of € 2.4 billion.