Costa officially owns Serena: In a traditional maritime handover ceremony, Costa Cruises took delivery today of the 3,780-passenger, 112,000-ton CostaSerena, sister ship to 2006's CostaConcordia, from Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyard.
Serena is scheduled to launch from Savona May 17 on a three-night inaugural sailing; a festive celebration in Marseille will follow on May 20, with stunning French actress Marion Cotillard serving as godmother. The ship will then begin its season sailing a series of Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises of various lengths, roundtrip from Venice and Savona.
Don't expect too many innovative features aboard CostaSerena. The highlights are on par with many of the amenities introduced aboard sister ship CostaConocrodia including:
The Samsara Spa, one of the largest spa complexes at sea
Grand Prix racecar driving simulator
Two covered pools with a sliding glass roof ("magrodome")
A poolside movie screen
Alternative restaurant created by celebrity chef Ettore Bocchia.
Serena becomes the 12th ship in the rapidly expanding Costa fleet. Costa has three more ships -- CostaLuminosa and two as-yet-unnamed vessels -- set to debut in spring 2009, summer 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Stay tuned for our report from the May 19 inauguration followed by a sneak preview of the brand-new vessel.