Carnival Cruise Lines reported today that it will transfer its 1,022-passenger Tropicale to sister company Costa Cruises in February 2001.
Prior to its delivery to Costa, the 36,674-ton vessel will complete its current schedule of 10-day Panama Canal cruises
from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,which end Feb. 10, 2001. After that, Costa will immediately reposition the Tropicale to Genoa, Italy, for an extensive refurbishment and refit before placing the vessel into European service. Once the work is complete, the vessel will assume the physical characteristics and on-board environment of a typical Costa-owned ship.
"We've said all along that Costa will be our primary platform for expanding our European business and the transfer of the Tropicale is consistent with that strategy," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corp
. chairman and CEO.
The Tropicale entered service in 1982 as the first new cruise ship built in nearly a decade and served as the prototype on which Carnival's three "Holiday-class" vessels were based.
As a result of its transfer to Costa, Tropicale will not operate its two- and three-day Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral
, Fla., scheduled to begin March 26, 2001.
The transfer of the Tropicale to Costa is just the latest effort by Carnival to expand the Italian cruise operator's fleet. Since Carnival's acquisition of a 50 percent interest in Costa in 1997 (increased to 100 percent ownership earlier this year), Costa has added the 86,000-ton Costa Atlantica and will expand capacity with the launch of another 86,000-ton vessel and two 105,000-ton cruise ships between now and 2004.