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TURKU — Costa Cruises has at last taken delivery of the new Costa Smeralda following two delays due to construction.
The new flagship, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), was delivered during a handover ceremony at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland last week. Upon its debut on Dec. 21, the Costa Smeralda will raise the Costa Group’s total number of ships in service to 29.
“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. “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.”
As the first ship in the Costa fleet to use LNG, both in port and at sea, the Smeralda is being launched as part of an expansion plan that includes an investment of over six billion euros for seven new ships through 2023 for the Costa Group. Five of the vessels, including Costa Smeralda and its sister ship Costa Toscana, will be powered by LNG and set for delivery in 2021.
Costa Smeralda left the Turku shipyard on Dec. 6 while en route to the Mediterranean for three presentations with travel agents: Barcelona on Dec. 18, where the ship will be refuelled with LNG; Marseilles on Dec. 19; and Savona on Dec. 20. On Dec. 21, it will leave Savona for its first one-week cruise, calling at Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.
Onboard ‘green’ features include everything from LED lights and a specially designed hull to reduce drag in the water, to new-generation elevators that recover energy by re-introducing it into the electricity system. The brand’s 4GOODFOOD program is dedicated to reducing food waste, while 100% separate waste collection and recycling of materials, including plastic, paper, glass and aluminum, will be part of an integrated approach to support circular economy projects.
In October, Costa Cruises was forced to push back the launch date for Smeralda for a second time due to ongoing delays in construction. The ship’s original debut was scheduled for Oct. 20 before being postponed to Nov. 30. It is now on track to launch on Dec. 21.