(6:46 a.m. EDT) -- Costa Diadema has successfully restarted cruising in the Mediterranean -- the second Costa Cruises ship to do so in as many weeks.
The 3,693-passenger ship set sail from Genoa yesterday with Italians only onboard and calling only at Italian ports.
Costa Deliziosa became the first Carnival Corp. ship to restart cruising on September 8, from Trieste, in northern Italy. So far, the 2,260-passenger ship has completed two full voyages without incident.
Both ships operate an extremely strict health and safety protocol, which includes a COVID-19 test pre-boarding, daily temperature checks for crew and passengers and ship-organised shore excursions all taking place in a bubble.
Costa Diadema calls at Civitavecchia for Rome today, followed by Naples, Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari and La Spezia.
"At last Costa’s cruises are back in Genoa and Liguria, which has been our home for over 70 years," said Group CEO, Costa Group & Carnival Asia Michael Thamm.
"We’re setting sail again gradually and responsibly, with safety protocols that are unrivalled in the tourism industry. The initial response from our guests has been most encouraging."
"We have a responsibility to turn this difficult situation into an opportunity to come back stronger than ever, and to continue to develop the tourism and economic ecosystem of the destinations," Thamm added.
Costa joins MSC Cruises and TUI Cruises in Europe, as well as Dream Cruises in Asia, as the first big ship lines to restart cruising.
Costa has an ambitious restart plan: From October 10 Savona will be the homeport for the flagship Costa Smeralda, the company’s first vessel powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), which will be offering one-week cruise holidays in the Western Mediterranean.
Then, after a series of cruises intended for the French market, from November Costa Diadema will also be moving to Savona, for 12-day cruises to the Canary Islands and 14-day cruises to Egypt and Greece.
Costa Firenze, the new ship under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard, will make its debut on December 27, again sailing in the Western Mediterranean, and calling at Genoa and La Spezia every week.
Meanwhile, from October 22 to mid-December La Spezia will see the arrival of AIDAblu, operated by the Costa Group’s German brand AIDA Cruises, on 7-day cruises devoted entirely to Italy.
Costa’s cruises sailing on or after September 27 will be available for all European citizens who are residents in any of the countries deemed safe by the Italian authorities.
The full list of the new health protocols include:
- repeat performances of the live shows for smaller audiences;
- a switch from buffet restaurants to seated dining;
- reduced capacity and minimum distance between tables in the theater, show lounge, bars and restaurants;
- staggered entrance for some facilities such as the spa, pools and kids' miniclub with a limited number of people allowed in at any one time.
Also, there is enhanced cleaning and sanitization in all areas on board, including cabins, while the shipboard health services have been expanded.
Other health and safety measures are the use of face masks whenever necessary, hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the ship and the introduction of self-service clinical thermometer kiosks.