MONFALCONE, Italy, March 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, and of the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport of Italy, Edoardo Rixi, Costa Cruises, the Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), officially took delivery of Costa Venezia, its first ship designed specifically to offer the best of Italy to the Chinese market.
Costa Venezia is part of an expansion plan that includes a total of seven ships being delivered to the Costa Group by 2023.
With a gross tonnage of 135,500 tons, 323 meters in length and a capacity for over 5,200 guests, Costa Venezia will be the largest ship introduced by Costa Cruises to the Chinese market, where the Italian company was the first to start operating in 2006 and is currently the leader. It will offer a series of unprecedented innovations designed specifically for Chinese customers, introducing guests to Italian culture, lifestyle and excellence, starting from the interiors, which are inspired by the city of Venice.
As Michael Thamm, group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, explains: "Costa Venezia will help us to further develop the cruise market in China, which has a great unexplored potential. Suffice it to say that, currently, 2.5 million Chinese people a year choose to go on a cruise vacation, which is less than 2 percent of the total number of Chinese people who travel abroad. Moreover, Costa Venezia further strengthens Costa Cruises' bond with Italy: it is a ship built in Italy, by an Italian shipyard, which flies the Italian flag and which will make Chinese guests experience unforgettable Italian experiences."
Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: "For us, Costa Venezia is the emblem of what we are able to do and where we intend to arrive, but she is also the product of the historical partnership with Carnival Corporation and Costa Cruises, which enhances the tradition of Italian manufacturing and know-how, projecting them toward other borders." Bono continued: "As a consolidated industry leader, our contribution to the cruise industry, considering the units we delivered and those we have on order, will count on 143 ships in the coming years, with one cruise passenger in three sailing on our jewels. As soon as Costa Venezia will enter into service in China, showing what we are able to realize in a still unexplored market, I am sure that a new chapter will be opened in the successful history of Fincantieri."
Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, stated: "The delivery of Costa Venezia is a further step in the growth of a strong and sustainable cruise industry in China, which someday we believe will be the largest cruise market in the world. The growth of the Chinese cruise industry will continue to open the world to millions of Chinese travelers and bring ever-increasing prosperity to its people."
"As the first ship built specifically for the Chinese market, Costa Venezia marks the start of a new era, not only for Costa Cruises and Fincantieri but also for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole," says Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. "From conception to delivery, everything about Costa Venezia has been designed having the Chinese customer in mind. Costa Venezia will continue to offer the authentic Italian experience that is a hallmark of Costa Cruises, but with further innovations that have never been seen before and which are designed to meet the needs of the local market even better."
On board Costa Venezia, Chinese guests will experience the uniqueness of Venetian and Italian culture. The ship's theater is inspired by the Venetian La Fenice theater; the main atrium is reminiscent of St. Mark's Square, while the main restaurants recall the traditional architecture of Venetian alleys and squares. Actual gondolas, made by the Squero di San Trovaso artisans, can also be found on board. Guests can also savor the delicacies of Italian cuisine, shop in the onboard shops with many famous "Made in Italy" brands and enjoy the internationally renowned Italian entertainment, with a masked ball that will recreate the magical atmosphere of the famous Carnival of Venice. They will also feel at home with a wide choice of Chinese food offered, Chinese-style karaoke, many parties including the "Golden Party," full of surprises and gifts to be won every 10 minutes.
Costa Venezia's naming ceremony is planned for today, March 1, in Trieste, with a spectacular air show by Frecce Tricolori acrobatic team and a firework display involving the whole city. The vernissage cruise will depart from Trieste March 3, bound for Greece and Croatia. On March 8, the ship will be back in Trieste for the start of its inaugural cruise: an exceptional, 53-day trip following the tracks of Marco Polo through the Mediterranean to the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East before docking in Tokyo. The vernissage and inaugural cruises will be the only departures available to European and American guests wishing to enjoy a vacation on the new ship. From May 18, 2019, Costa Venezia will be dedicated exclusively to Chinese guests, offering cruises in Asia departing from Shanghai.
After Costa Venezia, the group's next ship to come into service, in October 2019, will be Costa Smeralda, the new Costa Cruises flagship and the first ship for the world market to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). A second ship designed exclusively for the Chinese market, a sister ship to Costa Venezia, is currently under construction by Fincantieri in Marghera and is expected to be delivered in 2020.
About Carnival Corporation & plc
Carnival Corporation & plc is the world's largest leisure travel company and among the most profitable and financially strong in the cruise and vacation industries, with a portfolio of nine of the world's leading cruise lines. With operations in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia, its portfolio features Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard.
Together, the corporation's cruise lines operate 106 ships with 246,000 lower berths visiting over 700 ports around the world, with 19 new ships scheduled to be delivered through 2025. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.
With a long history of innovation and providing guests with extraordinary vacation experiences, Carnival Corporation has received thousands of industry awards – including recognition by the Consumer Technology Association™ as a CES® 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree for OceanMedallion™. A revolutionary wearable device that contains a proprietary blend of communication technologies, OceanMedallion enables the world's first interactive guest experience platform transforming vacation travel on a large scale into a highly personalized level of customized service. The prestigious CES Innovation Awards honor outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products.
Additional information can be found on www.carnival.com, www.princess.com, www.hollandamerica.com, www.seabourn.com, www.pocruises.com.au, www.costacruise.com, www.aida.de, www.pocruises.com, and www.cunard.com.
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SOURCE Carnival Corporation & plc
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