Costa's Road to Recovery: New Flagship, New Safety Practices Enforced

By MarEx 2012-05-07 10:41:05

Following the Concordia disaster, Costa Cruises has launched their newest flagship - the 3,500-passenger Costa Fascinosa - in hopes to turn a new leaf for the cruise line.

Costa Chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi released a statement stating that he believes the launch of this ship to be an important stepping stone in their road to recovery. He continued by sharing his excitement for the future, and claiming that despite the economic effects and the impact on consumption, Costa has bounced back and booking volumes are back to the same levels recorded this time last year.

The Fascinosa debuts as Italy's largest cruise ship. The christening at the Fincantieri shipyard in Venice was attended by a crowd that included Italy's Minister of Tourism Piero Gnudi, whose daughter, Elisa, served as godmother.

Costa Fascinosa during sea trials.

The $668.8 million Fascinosa has 13 bars and five restaurants. Other noteworthy features include an Amarcord Atrium, designed as a Fellini-esque theatrical space with diamond-shaped chandeliers; an aft Lido with raised whirlpools, dedicated to the movie Gone With the Wind; and a 4D Cinema. Costa has an even larger, 4,900-passenger ship scheduled for debut in 2014, according to Reuters.

Costa separately revealed new safety measures this weekend, including a plan to increase sharing of navigation information between the captain and officers. They continue to work through safety issues, especially problems that affected the fate of the Costa Concordia in January.

Costa has promised to introduce a real-time route-monitoring system, which will be later adopted by parent group Carnival Corporation & Plc. The company wants to have the captain's responsibilities remain the same, while still giving other officers the opportunity to share their opinions.

Lastly, Carnival insists that the cruise industry is more of a lifeline for Italy's weakening labor market, not only for tourism, but for the shipbuilding industry as well.

Over the past 20 years, Carnival has invested almost $24 billion in building ships in Italy, and they currently have five new ships being built by Fincantieri.