The Italian Company Costa Cruises and Fincantieri have together set record: for the first time ever, two ships have been launched the same day – the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica, respectively the 13th and 14th members of the Costa fleet, which will both enter service next year. The Costa Luminosa, which will be able to accommodate 2,828 Guests and is 92,700 gross tonnage, was launched at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera () in the presence of the Honorable Renato Brunetta, the Italian Minister for Public Administration and Innovation. Meanwhile, the Costa Pacifica, total Guest capacity of 3,780 and 114,500 gross tonnage, was also launched in Genova-Sestri Ponente.
Costa Cruises has invested over $1.4b in the construction of the two liners, with the labor of around 6,000 people, comprising both Fincantieri’s own employees and those of about 500 contracted suppliers.
The two ceremonies held the launch by floating out. The yard directors invited the two Godmothers – a woman who works at the Sestri Ponente shipyard for the Costa Pacifica and the daughter of an employee in the Marghera shipyard for the Costa Luminosa – to cut the ribbons and the bottles of champagne duly broke against the bows. After the gradual flooding of the slipways where the two liners have taken shape over the last few months, the hulls of both vessels were transferred to the sea for the first time. In both cases the launch ended with the welding of a coin to the base of what used to be the mainmast in a ceremony traditionally considered to augur well.
After the launch, work is set to continue for almost a year on the fitting out and interior decoration of both liners. The Costa Luminosa is due for delivery at the end of April 2009, the Costa Pacifica at the end of May 2009. Their naming ceremonies will be another first for the cruise industry: the two new fleet members will be christened together on June 5, 2009 in , the city where Costa Cruises – this year celebrating its 60th anniversary – has always been headquartered. Also for the first time, Guests booked to travel on the maiden cruise of either ship will also be able to witness the christening ceremony.
During the simultaneous launch ceremonies the Company announced the name of the sister ship of the Costa Luminosa, which is scheduled to enter service in spring 2010: it is going to be called the Costa Deliziosa. The first section of this liner was built in the shipyard and subsequently towed to Marghera, where her keel will be laid on July 3. Costa’s fleet expansion program includes the introduction of 5 new ships by 2012, all built in by Fincantieri for a total investment worth 2.4 billion euros.
In addition to the Costa Pacifica, Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa, two sister ships of the Costa Pacifica will enter service in spring 2011 and 2012. The Costa Cruises fleet will then be 17-strong and able to carry some 46,400 Guests, an increase of 50 percent on present capacity.