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Costa Cruises Inaugurates the Tianjin Terminal in China

The company has invested around 50 million euros in region since 2006.

Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and one of Europe’s most popular cruise lines, has inaugurated the new international cruise terminal in Tianjin with the first port call of the Costa Romantica, offering 53,000 gross tonnage and total guest capacity of around 1700.

The opening of the new terminal is a major step forward in the growth in China of Costa Cruises, the first international cruise company to enter the Chinese market, marketing its ‘Italian made’ product in the People’s Republic. The Costa Romantica, which will be calling at Tianjin 10 times this year, is joining her sister ship Costa Classica, effectively doubling the number of Costa liners deployed in the Far East.

Since its debut in China in 2006, Costa Cruises has invested around 50 million Euros in the region and quintupled its cruise capacity, with a total of 93 Chinese port calls in 2010. In 2010 more than 120,000 cruise guests are expected to be on a vacation on board a Costa ship in Asia. Costa’s Far Eastern cruises sail from the ports of Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Singapore and include stopovers in some of the region’s most popular resorts in China, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea.

“Costa Cruises is proud that the first call of the Costa Romantica, a symbol of ‘Italian-made’ excellence and elegance worldwide, also marks the inauguration of the new Tianjin cruise terminal. This terminal is a reward for our pioneering investments and work in this part of the world, carried out thanks to the invaluable support of the Chinese authorities, the ultimate aim being to popularize a new form of vacation in China, a type of holiday that was practically unheard of before in the People’s Republic: namely, cruise vacations,” said Costa Crociere S.p.A. President Gianni Onorato.

Tianjin’s Xingang Port terminal south of the Dongjiang port area covers 1.2 million square meters. The area developed in the first stage of the building project comprises 700,000 square meters and can accommodate 6 large cruise ships at a time. The actual terminal building itself has a surface area of 59,000 square meters and can handle up to 4000 cruisers, with a total of 500,000 passengers a year.

Costa has recently won several awards, including the Italo-Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Golden Panda Award’, the ‘China ROI Media Award’ Golden Prize from the Asia International Creative Communication Group, the “Golden Magellan Award” from Travel Weekly, the ‘2009 China Travel & Meeting Industry Awards’ from Travel Weekly China, ‘Most Popular Cruise Line’ award, presented during the ‘World Travel Fair’ 2009, and the ‘Golden List Award’ of the ‘Preferred Cruise Line’ competition organized by the National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Costa Cruises’ Chinese operations began in July 2006 with, the Costa Allegra (28,400 gross tonnage and 1000 total guests), offering cruises out of the port of Shanghai. In 2008 Costa inaugurated Shanghai’s cruise terminal on occasion of the 100th cruise of Costa Allegra.

Costa was the first international cruise company to operate regular cruises in China and Asia, bringing its special brand of ‘Cruising Italian Style’ to the Chinese market. The arrival of the Costa Allegra in Shanghai marked the celebration for the opening of the ‘Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal’.

Encouraged by the positive performance of it cruises and believing in the potential for further development of the market, in April 2009 Costa Cruises positioned a second liner in China and Asia – namely the Costa Classica (53,000 gross tonnage and 1680 total guests), deployed alongside the Costa Allegra. In April this year Costa boosted its regional capacity yet again, replacing the Costa Allegra with an even larger ship, the Costa Romantica, which joined the Costa Classica.

Almost 4 years on, Costa has contributed significantly to the development of the cruise industry in China, consolidating its leadership in the sector. Costa is the only international line to market cruises in China and the Far East all year round. Costa has two local offices supporting its expansion in China and the Far East – one in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong.

In January 2010 Costa was the first international operator in China to offer regular cruises to Taiwan for customers in the People's Republic. There are 15 such cruises scheduled this year, each lasting 5 days and 4 nights, with departure from Hong Kong in January, February, May and June on the Costa Classica, and port calls at some of the island’s resorts.

The two Costa liners currently operating in China and the Far East – the Costa Classica and Costa Romantica – offer both short cruises, from 4 to 6 days, favored by the local clientele, and longer holidays, from 14 to 16 days, which are more popular with international customers.

For over 60 years Costa’s fleet of 14 ships have sailed, now serving 250 separate destinations in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, South America, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and the Indian Ocean. Two more new liners have been ordered from Fincantieri and will be delivered by 2012. Two more new liners have been ordered from Fincantieri and will be delivered by 2012.

Costa Cruises has been certified by RINA (Italian Shipping Register) with the BEST4, an integrated system of voluntary certification of corporate compliance with the highest standards governing social accountability (SA 8000, issued in 2001), environment (UNI EN ISO 14001, 2004), safety (OHSAS 18001, 2007) and quality (UNI EN ISO 9001, 2008). Costa Cruises has been an official partner of WWF Italia for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea since 2005. All the ships in the Costa fleet have been assigned RINA’s Green Star notation certifying that they are operated in compliance with the highest environmental protection standards.

With sales of approximately 2.6 billion Euros and 1.82 million total guests in 2009, Costa Crociere S.p.A. is the largest Italian travel group and comprises the brands Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Iberocruceros. The group ranks in 10th place as regards profitability and 65th in terms of sales in Mediobanca’s 2009 survey of over 3700 Italian enterprises that recorded revenue of at least 50 million Euros the previous fiscal year. Costa Crociere S.p.A. is a member of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest cruise operator.