Costa Officially Welcomes CostaFortuna

November 23, 2003
On a grim and rainy Saturday in Genoa, Costa Cruises christened CostaFortuna, its biggest-ever-ship. The 105,000-ton 2,720-passenger vessel, which also has earned the title of "largest ship to sail under the Italian flag" was christened by Maria Grazia Cucinotta, an Italian actress (she's appeared in James Bond's "The World is Not Enough" with Pierce Brosnan and "Picking Up the Pieces" with Woody Allen).

Consistent with Costa tradition, "christening day" also offered other special events; most notably a full-scale production show. "Transatlantic Liners: The Art of Italian Navigation," was inspired by the ship's own interior design theme, which celebrates legendary Italian cruise liners. The show featured a variety of unusual performances. It was held in the ship's terminal in Genoa.

The christening ceremony, hosted by Costa's president Pier Luigi Foschi, was attended by numerous stateside staffers from the company's U.S. headquarters in Hollywood, Florida. Other attendees included top honchos from Carnival Corporation, Costa's parent company; these included chairman and chief executive officer Micky Arison and vice chairman Howard Frank.

A few beyond-the-festivities tidbits emerged from the weekend gathering. Arison said at a press conference onboard CostaFortuna that Carnival Corp. was seriously considering deploying a ship – cruise line not mentioned – in the Far East in the near future.

Also worth noting: Costa has one more ship under construction – CostaMagica, a sister ship to this one – which was visible from CostaFortuna (it's being built at Fincantieri's Genoa shipyard). That ship is slated for debut a year from now. Costa has otherwise made no announcement regarding future new ship orders though sources there say they're quite enthusiastic about the possibility of a commitment in the not-too-distant future.

Interestingly, while onboard CostaFortuna this weekend, Carnival Corp.'s Arison and Frank, and Costa's Foschi, were spotted in the ship's library meeting with the president of Finland's Kvaerner Masa-Yards (a Fincantieri competitor). That shipyard is best known for producing Royal Caribbean's ultra-huge Voyager of the Seas-class ships. As well, it must be noted that top executives from other shipyards, such as Italy's Fincantieri and Germany's Meyer Werft, were also on-hand for the weekend festivities.