Costa Cruises has taken delivery of Costa Smeralda, its new LNG-powered flagship. The handover ceremony took place at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland, where the ship was built.
At 180,000-gross tons and carrying 5,200 passengers, Costa Smeralda is the largest cruise ship ever built for the Italian cruise line and the first ship in the Costa fleet to use LNG, both in port and at sea.
It is part of an expansion plan that includes an investment of over six billion euros for seven new ships to be delivered by 2023 to the Costa Group, which consists of Costa Cruises, Germany-based AIDA Cruises and Costa Asia.
Five of the vessels – including Costa Smeralda and her sister ship Costa Toscana, currently under construction at Meyer Turku and scheduled for delivery in 2021 – will be powered by LNG.
The use of LNG is a major development in minimising environmental impact and significantly improving air quality, with the virtual elimination of sulphur dioxide emissions (zero emissions) and particulate matter (95-100% reduction).
LNG also significantly reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide (direct reduction of 85%) and CO2 (reduction of up to 20%).
“Costa Smeralda will be a further boost to the use of LNG in cruise ships, a technology we were the first to believe in, setting a new course in the cruise sector,” said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises. “Our Costa Group has invested in the construction of five new LNG ships as part of our leadership in sustainable tourism. It is an innovation in the cruise and overall shipping industries, destined to mark a step change as it guarantees a significant reduction in our environmental impact without compromising the safety aspects that are an essential priority for us.”
“Costa Smeralda is a significant product innovation as well, with Italian hospitality remaining a fundamental and distinctive element of our brand, able to enchant and excite not only new cruise passengers but also more experienced ones,” he added.
“I would especially like to mention the Colosseo, a three-deck open area in the middle of the ship with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology inside which required a specific design and building capabilities,” said CEO of Meyer Turku, Jan Meyer. “We are looking forward to the passengers enjoying some exceptional shows and performances there.”
Costa Smeralda will leave the Turku shipyard on December 6th and will engage in three preview cruises for media and travel agents. On December 21st, Costa Smeralda will leave Savona for her first one-week cruise, calling at Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.
Costa Smeralda features a CoDe – Costa Design Museum, the first museum created on a cruise ship and the Solemio Spa, as well as various entertainment areas, including the Colosseum, with its screens for high-tech content shows; themed bars, in collaboration with major Italian brands; 16 restaurants and “food experience” areas, including a new restaurant for families with children.