Costa Cruises has resumed services in the Mediterranean from the Italian port of Trieste aboard Costa Deliziosa.
Deliziosa is the first of the cruise line’s ships to resume services, but there are plans to add Costa Diadema later this week, and the line’s flagship Costa Smeralda in October, followed by the new ship Costa Firenze in December when she is delivered by Fincantieri’s Marghera yard.
Costa Deliziosa departed Trieste at 5pm Monday and will sail an all-Italian itinerary, visiting Bari, Brindisi, Corigliano-Rossano, Siracusa and Catania. The domestic nature of the one-week cruise itinerary is intended to get around ongoing travel restrictions in Europe.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome our guests on board again after more than five months without cruising and we’re also happy to be restarting operations right here in Italy,” said Group CEO, Costa Group & Carnival Asia Michael Thamm. “Our decision to resume responsibly with Italian cruises for Italian guests is particularly significant for us, since we’ve believed and invested in this country for more than 70 years as the only cruise company flying the Italian flag.”
“For the last few weeks, we’ve been working together with the authorities on implementation of the new health procedures that will allow our guests to make the most of their cruise experience while ensuring maximum safety,” he added. “Meanwhile, we’re continuously monitoring the situation with a view to gradually reintroducing cruising on more ships from October, with itineraries extended also to include guests from our other European markets.”
The guests embarking on Costa Deliziosa for her first three September cruises will all be residents of Italy; embarkation will be carried out in accordance with the procedures set out in the Costa Safety Protocol, a document developed by the company together with a panel of scientific experts, containing new operational measures in response to the COVID-19 situation.
On arrival at the terminal in Trieste, with staggered entrance times by virtue of online check-in, each guest will have their temperature scanned, submit a health questionnaire and be subjected to an antigen rapid swab test.
Passengers will not be cleared for boarding unless and until they have tested negative. For any suspected case of COVID-19 it will be possible to perform an additional test with a molecular swab test.
Prior to embarking, crew members have also been tested with molecular swab at intervals and been quarantined for 14 days. In addition, each member of crew will have a monthly swab test.
Bari and the other destinations on Costa Deliziosa’s itinerary can be visited only by joining the protected excursions organized by the company for small groups of people on sanitized means of transport, and subject to temperature measurement before leaving and rejoining the ship.
On Costa’s shore tours, guests will be able to see other places in the vicinity of the ports of call, such as Lecce, Ostuni, Otranto, Alberobello, Gallipoli, Taormina, Noto, Modica, Ragusa and Sibari.
The shipboard amenities and entertainment have been redesigned based on the procedures in the Safety Protocol but still retain the distinguishing features of a Costa cruise holiday, thanks partly to the physical distancing enabled by the ship’s reduced capacity.
Changes to the on-board cruise experience for social distancing:
Repeat performances of the live shows for smaller audiences
A switch from buffet restaurants to seated dining in the restaurants
The seating capacity in theaters, show lounges, bars and restaurants has been revised
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.
There will also be enhanced cleaning and sanitization in all areas on board, including cabins, while the shipboard health services have been expanded.
Other health & 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.
After Costa Deliziosa, which will be departing from Trieste until the end of the year, Costa Cruises’ next ship due back in service is Costa Diadema, scheduled to leave from Genoa on September 19th, 2020.
Like Deliziosa, she will only be calling at Italian ports and carrying guests resident in Italy, with stopovers in Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cagliari and La Spezia.
Then from October it will be the turn of the flagship Costa Smeralda, followed in December by Costa Firenze – the company’s new ship under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard.