A ship's "floating out" ceremony signifies that its exterior is complete; the dock in which it has been constructed is flooded and work begins on the interiors. When the interiors are complete, the ship will undergo sea trials, which test its seaworthiness.
Costa Luminosa was floated out at Fincantieri's yard in Marghera, near Venice. The 92,700-ton, 2,828-passenger ship is a new and innovative design for the line that will feature a 4D cinema, a rollerblading track and a spiffy golf simulator allowing you to virtually play on 37 courses around the world. Costa Luminosa will debut in April 2009. In the meantime, Costa Pacifica, a 114,500-ton, 3,780-passenger sister ship to Costa Concordia and Costa Serena, which will debut the following month, was also floated out -- at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponentri shipyard in Genoa.
Aptly enough, today's dual float out will be followed by a dual christening in Genoa on June 5, 2009, for the same two ships. This isn't the first dual christening planned by a cruise line. What is unique, however, is that because Costa Luminosa will have already been sailing for a month by that time, paying passengers will have the opportunity to experience the christening ceremony alongside the VIP's, luminaries, entertainers and heads-of-state who typically attend these events.
Costa spokeswoman Dana Dominici tells us that guests booked on Luminosa's 13-night repositioning cruise from Rome's Civitavecchia to Amsterdam departing June 3, 2009, will witness the ceremony and be able to participate in all of the festivities and the parties that follow, including the inevitable fireworks (Costa is well known for hosting some of the most fabulous, over-the-top christenings in the industry).
In other Costa news, Dominici also told Cruise Critic today that its next newest ship -- a sister to Costa Luminosa scheduled to launch in the spring of 2010 -- will be named Costa Deliziosa.
Stay tuned for more information on Costa's new-builds as we receive it.
--by Jana Jones, Cruise Critic contributor