Friday, September 02, 2005
Today, at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyards, the new Costa flagship
took to the sea for the first time.

The main innovation will be “Samsara Spa”, a 1,900 m2 wellness center extending over two decks, the largest of its kind ever built on a passenger ship.

Her maiden cruise is scheduled to depart from Civitavecchia on 14 July 2006 with the following ports of call: Savona, Barcelona, Alicante, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Cadiz and Malaga.

Genoa, 2 September 2005 – A ceremony has taken place today at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyards in Genoa for the launching of the Costa Concordia, the new flagship of the Costa Crociere fleet, which is set to become Italy’s largest cruise ship.

Her name expresses the wish for continuing harmony, unity and peace between European nations – in other words the idea of “Concordia”, or goodwill between different peoples. This Pan-European concept also provided the central theme for the interior decoration of her public rooms. The ceremony for the launch of the new vessel observed the protocol laid down for such occasions by seafaring tradition. The vessel, which was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop of Genoa, was launched by the Godmother Graziella Frisone, an employee of the shipyards. After the opening of the valves and the gradual flooding of the slipway where the ship has taken shape over the last few months, the hull of the Costa Concordia was transferred for the first time to its natural element – the sea. The launch was preceded by the welding of a coin to the base of what used to be the mainmast in a ceremony traditionally considered to augur well.

Once she is moored at the dock, the Costa Concordia will be subjected to the final stages of work and fitting out, due for completion shortly before her entry into service, scheduled for July 2006. Costa’s new flagship will depart from Civitavecchia on her maiden cruise on 14 July 2006, on a 9-day itinerary with stopovers in Savona, Barcelona, Alicante, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Cadiz and Malaga, and is due back in Civitavecchia on 23 July. From then until 19 November 2006, the Costa Concordia will be offering 7-day cruises with the following ports of call: Civitavecchia (Sunday), Savona (Monday), Barcelona (Tuesday), Palma de Mallorca (Wednesday), Tunis (Thursday), Malta (Friday) and Palermo (Saturday).

“The launch of a new ship is always a very exciting moment for us,” said Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Costa Crociere S.p.A., “and once again it is taking place in Genoa, the city where our Company is based and where we have built our most recent flagships. The Costa Concordia will be the largest Italian passenger ship, and this will enable us to further consolidate our position as Europe’s leading cruise operator. Also, this ship is a veritable showcase of innovation and state-of-the-art technology that will add to Costa’s competitive edge and set us apart even more from other tour operators.”

“The launch of “Costa Concordia” is a key step in the important newbuilding programme which Costa Crociere has entrusted to Fincantieri in recent years and which has been wholly assigned to Sestri Ponente shipyard”, commented Giuseppe Bono, Chief Executive Officer of Fincantieri. “The programme, which is the most substantial undertaken by a European cruise line, has enabled us to further develop and strengthen over time the close, long-standing relationship between the two companies. Furthermore, and of no less importance, the construction of these ships for Costa Crociere in Sestri, two of which have already been delivered with a further two under construction, has ensured that the production capability of our shipyard has further evolved.”

The Costa Concordia will be 112,000 gross tonnage, 290 metres in length, with 1,500 cabins and total Guest capacity of 3,780. One of the main innovations offered by the latest addition to the Costa fleet will be “Samsara Spa”, an exclusive 1900 m2 wellness center, stretching over two decks, making it the largest of its kind ever built on a cruise ship. Facilities will include a gym, health spa, indoor thalassotherapy pool, treatment rooms, sauna, Turkish bath and solarium. Also, some 55 cabins and 12 suites on the ship will have direct access to the wellness area.
As well as the wellness center, other innovations on board comprise a Formula 1 driving simulator and two swimming pools with sliding glass roofs, one of which will have volume of some 60 m3 and a giant 18 m2 video screen.

The Costa Concordia was commissioned in January 2004 from Fincantieri with an order worth 450 million euros; also under construction at Sestri Ponente is the sister ship of the Costa Concordia, which will be named in the near future and delivered in May 2007. In all, the orders for new buildings placed with Fincantieri by Costa from 2000 to 2004 amounted to an investment of around 2 billion euros. In addition to the Costa Concordia and her sister ship, Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyards also built Costa’s current flagships the Costa Fortuna and Costa Magica, which entered into service in November 2003 and November 2004, respectively. Prior to that, Fincantieri’s Marghera yard constructed two other sister ships in the Costa fleet: the Costa Classica in 1991 and the Costa Romantica in 1993.