CostaFortuna, the largest ship ever built in Italy to sail under the Italian flag, was handed over today from Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyard to Costa Crociere. The Fincantieri flag, which has been flying above the 105,000-ton, 2,702-passenger CostaFortuna throughout construction, was, in a ceremony earlier today, lowered and replaced by the colors of Costa Crociere. All Costa ships also fly the Italian flag.
Interestingly, in a near simultaneous ceremony, CostaFortuna's sister ship, CostaMagica, under construction in the same yard, celebrated an event as well. The valves of its building dock were opened so the ship could, for the first time, start to float (CostaMagica is slated for launch next November).
CostaFortuna will be christened on Saturday, November 22 in Genoa and, in keeping with company tradition, the ceremony will feature, in addition to the traditional champagne bottle smash, a lavish theatrical show. "Transatlantic Liners: The Art of Italian Navigation" is billed in a Costa press release as "surprising and innovative." If this show is anything near as spectacular as was the performance staged for the launch earlier this year of CostaMediterranea in Naples, the ebullient press release may actually be understating the hype.
Between now and then, CostaFortuna will embark on the de rigeur "preview" cruises for travel agents and journalists around France and Spain (these are also considered "shake down" trips); the ship's maiden voyage begins on November 25, with a 10-night itinerary that includes stops in Spain, the Balearic Islands and Morocco.
CostaFortuna will be positioned in Europe through this summer and will make the transatlantic crossing to the U.S. next autumn. CostaFortuna will be based, next winter, at Port Everglades, and will sail Caribbean itineraries.
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Fincantieri Hands Over CostaFortuna
November 14, 2003