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GENOA — Construction delays have postponed the delivery date for Costa Cruises’ newest ship.
Costa Smeralda, the first Costa Cruises ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), will now begin its inaugural program of cruises on Nov. 30, 2019.
Originally the ship was set to debut on Oct. 20 with a 15-day preview cruise from Hamburg to Savona. Its official naming ceremony was scheduled to take place on Nov. 3 in Savona, kicking off its Western Med season through April 2021.
News of the delay brings with it the cancellation of the ship’s first sailings.
“Costa Cruises has learned of this postponement, which unfortunately entails the cancellation of all the new flagship’s initial cruises and the inaugural activities previously scheduled,” according to a statement from the cruise line.
“Consequently, Costa Smeralda’s first cruise will now be departing from Savona on Nov.30, 2019. The itinerary, which will apply to all her cruises through April 2021, is unchanged: a week in the Western Mediterranean calling at Savona (Saturday), Marseille (Sunday), Barcelona (Monday), Palma de Mallorca (Tuesday), Civitavecchia (Thursday) and La Spezia (Friday).”
Commenting on the news, Costa Cruises President Neil Palomba said: “Our priority is always to offer our guests a unique vacation experience that exceeds their expectations. Unfortunately, the Meyer Turku yard needs more time to ensure that Costa Smeralda will do just that and this is absolutely crucial as far as we’re concerned.
“At the same time, I would stress that Costa Smeralda is a totally innovative project in terms of both technology and product. In particular, the use of LNG propulsion, which we were the first to invest in, epitomizes Costa’s vocation for ground-breaking, responsible innovation by greatly reducing emissions, thus laying down a marker for the cruise industry as a whole.
“We deeply regret this delay and apologize for the inconvenience caused to all our guests who’ve already booked a cruise on Costa Smeralda sailing prior to November 30.
“In any case, we trust that we’ll be able to welcome them on board our new flagship and we’ve already made the necessary arrangements so as to offer them a new choice of departure dates.”
He adds that Costa Cruises is updating its travel agency partners and clients about the situation, for cruises originally planned on Costa Smeralda before Nov. 30, 2019, to “guarantee that everyone concerned has alternative solutions for their cruise holidays”.
Costa Smeralda will be powered both in port and at sea by LNG, billed as the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. Costa Smeralda’s sister ship, Costa Toscana, is due for delivery in 2021 and will also be powered by LNG.