Costa Cruises, the Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest leisure travel company and cruise operator, today celebrated the official float-out ceremony of its new ship, Costa Smeralda,  at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, one of the biggest shipbuilding complexes in the world.

As part of today’s float-out ceremony, the new Costa flagship officially reached the sea for the first time. The celebration, hosted by the senior management of Costa Cruises and Meyer Turku, followed the seafaring tradition of flooding the basin where the ship’s construction took shape in recent months.

Entering into service in October 2019, upon completion of the interiors, Costa Smeralda will be the firstCosta ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. She will represent an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality by preventing emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides almost entirely at sea and in port. It also significantly reduces the emission of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide. Costa Smeralda and its sister ship, to be launched in 2021, will contribute to the ambitious sustainability goals, such as reducing its carbon footprint of 25 percent by 2020, set by Costa and Carnival Corporation.

“We celebrate this symbolic moment for our new ship with great enthusiasm,” said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises, part of Costa Group, which also includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Asia. “Costa Smeralda represents a major innovation for the international market and an important step toward setting new standards for the entire sector, with LNG being a breakthrough in fuel technology. Costa Group is the market leader in Europe and China, and we continue to make sustainable tourism a fundamental part of our industry leadership.”

“It has been very exciting to design and build Costa Smeralda together with our colleagues at Costa Cruises. I believe Smeralda will be a truly unique and innovative ship both in engineering and design and I feel confident that passengers will enjoy all the attractions onboard. For us shipbuilders, the float-out of a ship is always very special occasion as the ship will now be in her element at the outfitting pier and we will start the finalizing phase of the construction”, said CEO of Meyer Turku Jan Meyer.

Palomba added: “I am particularly proud of Costa Smeralda, as she will be unique in terms of innovative design and on-board services. She will pay tribute to the many things about Italy that people around the world love and appreciate. She has been designed with great passion and detail to deliver on our brand promise of providing our guests with an unforgettable vacation experience. We look forward to CostaSmeralda inspiring and welcoming new consumers and veteran cruise-goers into the exciting and immersive environment of a next-generation cruise ship.”

Featuring over 2,600 staterooms, Costa Smeralda will take its guests on a veritable “tour of Italy,” with lots of areas devoted to fun, flavors and festivity.

The ship’s name, Costa Smeralda, honors one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Sardinia (Emerald Coast), as well as the names of the decks and public areas dedicated to famous places and squares of Italy. The ship will feature 11 restaurants, 19 bars, an amazing spa area with 16 treatment rooms, a water park with slides, four swimming pools and an area fully dedicated to kids. Costa Smeralda will also have her very own Costa Desing Museum, “The CoDe,” dedicated to the excellence of Italian design.

Costa Group, along with its sister brands within Carnival Corporation’s global portfolio, has been an industry leader in promoting and developing sustainable and environmental solutions. In addition to the use of LNG for cruise ships, Costa Group and Carnival Corporation’s global cruise brands have been industry leaders in pioneering the use of Advanced Air Quality System (AAQS) in the small confines of a cruise ship. Considered an environmental breakthrough, AAQS are already installed on over 70 percent of ships in the Costa Group and Carnival Corporation fleet. The use of LNG and AAQS both play an important role in further improving the impact of Costa Group’s marine operations.

Delivery of a second vessel, the sister ship of Costa Smeralda, also built by Meyer-Turku, is expected in 2021.

In total, the Costa Group has 28 ships in service, which equates to more than 85,000 beds. The fleet will be further strengthened by five new vessels by 2023, including two for Costa Cruises, one for Costa Asia and two for Germany-based AIDA Cruises. Once the new ships have entered service, the Costa Group’s capacity will have increased by over 50 percent to meet rising consumer demand for cruising over the next several years.

Costa Smeralda’s début is expected on October 20, 2019, with a 15-day maiden cruise from Hamburg to Savona. The itinerary includes two-day stopovers in some of the cities with the richest history and culture in Europe, including Hamburg, Rotterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona and Marseille.

The Costa Smeralda christening ceremony will be celebrated in grand style in Savona on November 3, 2019. The six-day inaugural cruise will depart from Savona on November 4, 2019, and sail to Barcelona, Spain, Marseilles, France, and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Costa Smeralda will then continue to sail around the Western Mediterranean until April 2021, offering one-week cruises including Marseille; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Civitavecchia (Rome), Savona and La Spezia Italy.

Cruises on Costa Smeralda are now available for bookings.

Editor’s note: Photos and videos are available at https://bit.ly/2Jj5UMC

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