The Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc, this week 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.”
“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.
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 took place on March first, in Trieste, with a spectacular air show by Frecce Tricolori acrobatic team and a firework display involving the whole city. The vernissage cruise departed from Trieste on 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 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