Costa Cruises, the leading cruise line in Europe and a part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL;NYSE: CUK), announced that Costa Diadema will depart from Genoa today. She is the second Costa Cruises ship to return to the sea with a complement of guests. Costa Diadema’s itinerary, which marks the return of Costa’s cruise holidays to Liguria and the Western Mediterranean, only includes calls at Italian ports and is reserved for guests resident in Italy. After Genoa, her next ports of call will be Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cagliari and La Spezia.
Costa Diadema is the second ship operated by the Italian company to resume service and marks the return of cruising with Costa to Liguria and the Western Mediterranean. On October 10 it will be the turn of the flagship Costa Smeralda to set sail again while December 27 sees the debut of the new fleet member Costa Firenze, with both ships calling regularly at Liguria’s three main ports. AlDAblu will be calling in La Spezia.
The company has developed a health and safety protocol including COVID-19 swab testing for all guests and crew, temperature screening, tours of destinations on protected excursions, physical distancing thanks partly to a reduction in the number of passengers, new ways of enjoying shipboard amenities and services, enhanced sanitization and increased health care facilities.
Infrastructure development, green transition, tourism development and social commitment are the four cornerstones of Costa’s vision.
“At last Costa’s cruises are back in Genoa and Liguria, which has been our home for over 70 years. We’re setting sail again gradually and responsibly, with safety protocols that are unrivalled in the tourism industry. The initial response from our guests has been most encouraging,” said Group CEO, Costa Group & Carnival Asia Michael Thamm. “As Europe’s number one cruise company, we have a responsibility to turn this difficult situation into an opportunity to come back stronger than ever, and to continue to develop the tourism and economic ecosystem of the destinations. We want to do it in close cooperation with all our stakeholders and we believe that Liguria has a leading role to play with us in becoming a model for others to follow based on four cornerstones: state-of-the-art infrastructures, like the new passenger terminals in Genoa and La Spezia; sustainable innovation, to improve environmental performance in ports, such as shore power, LNG; improved destination management and tourism development to better respond to the needs of today’s travelers and expand our value creation capabilities; and support to the social needs of the community, for which we are committed through our Costa Crociere Foundation.”
Liguria is featuring prominently in Costa’s return to cruising, with a total of around 80 calls in this part of north-west Italy between now and the end of the 2020/21 winter season. From October 10 Savona will be the homeport for the flagship Costa Smeralda, the company’s first vessel powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), which will be offering one-week cruise holidays in the Western Mediterranean. After a series of cruises intended for the French market, from November Costa Diadema will also be moving to Savona, for 12-day cruises to the Canary Islands and 14-day cruises to Egypt and Greece. Costa Firenze, the new ship under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard, will make her debut on December 27, again sailing in the Western Mediterranean, and calling at Genoa and La Spezia every week. Meanwhile, from October 22 to mid-December La Spezia will see the arrival of AIDAblu, operated by the Costa Group’s German brand AIDA Cruises, on 7-day cruise vacations devoted entirely to Italy. Costa’s cruises sailing on or after September 27 will be available for all European citizens who are residents in any of the countries listed in the most recent Prime Ministerial Decree.
The embarkation of guests on Costa Diadema for today’s first departure from Genova has been carried out in accordance with the procedures set out in the Costa Safety Protocol, which contains new operational measures in response to the COVID-19 situation, dealing with all aspects of the cruise experience both on and off the ship. The procedures, devised with the support of independent public health experts, are in line with – and in some cases even stricter than – the health protocols defined by the relevant Italian and European authorities. On arrival at the Stazione Marittima in Genoa, with staggered entrance times by virtue of online check-in, each guest had their temperature scanned, submitted a health questionnaire and was subjected to an antigen rapid swab test, with the possibility of an additional molecular swab test for any suspected cases. Prior to embarking, crew members were also subjected to a molecular swab test at intervals and were quarantined for 14 days. In addition, each member of crew will have a monthly test.
Starting with the first call at Civitavecchia/Roma, the destinations on Costa Diadema’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. 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. For example: repeat performances of the live shows for smaller audiences; a switch from buffet restaurants to seated dining; reduced capacity and minimum distance between tables in the theater, show lounge, bars and restaurants; 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. Also, there is 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.
SOURCE Costa Cruises