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Monday, January 19, 2004
COSTA CROCIERE ORDERS A NEW SHIP FROM FINCANTIERI WITH AN INVESTMENT OF AROUND 450 MILLION EUROS
Scheduled for completion in 2006, the new building will be bigger than the Costa Fortuna, currently the largest ship in the history of Italian seafaring, which entered into service in November 2003

Genoa, 19th January 2004 – The Board of Directors of Costa Crociere, the number one cruise company in Italy and Europe, has approved a memorandum for the construction of a new ship to be commissioned from Fincantieri. The value of the investment is about 450 million euros, and building work is due to commence this spring.
The new vessel will be built in Genoa, at the Sestri Ponente shipyards.

The name of the new ship has not yet been announced. Set to join the fleet in the summer of 2006, she already boasts an impressive set of vital statistics: 112,000 gross tonnage, 290 metres in length, 1,502 cabins and total guest capacity of 3,800. This means she will outstrip both the Costa Fortuna, the present flagship of the fleet, which entered into service in November 2003, and the Costa Magica, the sister ship currently under construction in the same yard in Sestri Ponente. Once the new vessel is complete, then, she will become the biggest passenger ship in the history of Italian seafaring.

The new addition to the Costa Crociere fleet, which will have an electric diesel propulsion system and two 21 MW engines, will be designed to operate in the Mediterranean all year round and will accordingly feature a range of facilities designed also for winter cruise holidays; highlights will include a 1,900 m2 wellness area arranged on two decks – making it one of the largest of its kind – and two (out of a total of four) swimming pools fitted with sliding roofs enabling use in any weather.

Like other fleet members, the new ship will offer Guests a host of telecommunications services whereby they can use their mobile phones while they are at sea, thanks to the agreement between Costa Crociere and TIM signed last September.

“This decision to further expand our fleet capacity has been prompted both by the terrific response to our product on the part of our customers and by the forecasts of continued growth in demand in the European cruise industry” - Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Costa Crociere, announced. “In addition, we are renewing our commitment to the development of our national passenger shipbuilding industry, in which Italy is one of the world’s key players. After Costa Fortuna, which was launched last November, and Costa Magica, due to enter into service at the end of 2004, our business relations with Fincantieri, which began in 1992 with the commissioning of Costa Classica and Costa Romantica, continue to go from strength to strength,” Mr Foschi concluded.

The order for the new ship has also been made possible due to the recent harmonisation of certain Italian legislative and fiscal requirements. The new tonnage tax law has harmonized the Italian regulatory framework making it in line with that in the main European countries and securing steady and competitive environment to the Italian flagged fleets operated in international traffic.

“We are delighted with this new order since it is yet further recognition that the quality level of our products is of the highest order, and it is quality excellence, combined with rigorous cost control, technological innovation and respect for delivery schedules which has made our company world leader in the sector” said Giuseppe Bono, Chief Executive Officer of Fincantieri. “Due credit should also be given to the far-sighted, enterprising vision of Costa Crociere. We now have nine ships on order, which means we can look to the immediate future with confidence, even in this particularly difficult period for the market” concluded Bono.

The placement of this new order confirms Costa Crociere’s role as a leader in a continuously expanding industry.
According to preliminary forecasts, Costa ended 2003 with over 4,300,000 passenger days (up about 20% on the previous year), equal to a total of more than 555,000 passengers (a historic achievement for the company and a first for a European cruise operator) with a ship occupancy rate of 102%, substantially in line with the figure recorded in 2002.

By virtue of this new building project the investments in the upgrading and expansion of the Costa Crociere fleet in the period 2001-2006 amount to some two billion euros. Two new ships entered into service in 2003 – the Costa Mediterranea (June) and Costa Fortuna (November) – while the Costa Fortuna’s sister ship Costa Magica is set to make her debut at the end of 2004.