Costa Cruises to bring third ship back into operation

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Costa Smeralda [Image: Costa Cruises]

Carnival Corporation’s Costa Cruises brand is to put a third ship back into service: its flagship LNG-fueled Costa Smeralda. Delivered at the end of last year by Finland’s Meyer Turku shipyard, the ship has a capacity of 6,552 passengers, though it will be carrying far fewer under new COVID-19 prevention protocols.

The decision to return the ship to cruise operations comes after the successful restart of cruising by Costa Deliziosa and Costa Diadema.

The ship will be sailing on a new one-week itinerary, with a total of five cruises scheduled, from Oct. 10 to Nov. 7 that will call only at Italian ports.

The first call on the itinerary is Savona, from where guests can also visit nearby destinations such as Genoa or Finalborgo. The second call is La Spezia, with excursions to Cinque Terre, Lerici, Florence or Pisa. The next call is Cagliari, followed by Naples, with the possibility to visit Sorrento, Pompei and the Royal Palace of Caserta. The last two destinations on the itinerary are Messina, with excursions to the Etna volcano and Taormina; and Civitavecchia, which offers visits to Rome and Tarquinia.

Like the two other Costa ships that have already returned to service, protocols will be in place that, says Costa, will be fully compliant with the provisions defined by the Italian and European authorities.

Key measures include swab tests for all guests and crew before embarkation, temperature checks while disembarking and returning to the ship, visits to destinations only on protected excursions and physical distancing onboard and at the terminals. In addition to a reduction in the number of passengers embarked, the enhanced protocols include new ways of using onboard services, improved sanitization and medical services, and the use of protective face masks when necessary.

Costa describes its flag ship as a traveling “smart city,” where in addition to LNG fueling, technologies in place include meeting the ship’s daily water requirement using seawater processed in desalination plants. Energy consumption is reduced to a minimum level thanks to an intelligent energy efficiency system. There is also 100% separate waste collection and recycling of materials such as plastic, paper, glass and aluminum, which are carried out on board.

Starting on Nov. 14 2020, Costa Smeralda is scheduled to resume her one-week itinerary in Italy, France and Spain, again departing from Savona. Costa is working with the national and local authorities involved, with the goal of offering guests a safe and enjoyable vacation experience implementation of its safety protocosl both on board and at all destinations.

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