Costa sees growth

COSTA Cruises has reaffirmed its position in the Mediterranean region, which enjoys one of the highest growth rates in the global cruise industry and will be the focus of attention at Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami 2011.

It is estimated that this year, with about 2,800 calls in 92 destinations, there will be almost 9 million passenger movements in Mediterranean ports for the ships in the Costa fleet, amounting to a 33 per cent increase compared to 2010.

Italian ports will benefit most with almost four million passenger movements, 50 per cent more than last year. According to Agenzia Cemar, port agent and tour operator, Costa’s ships will carry more than one third of the 11 million passenger movements expected in Italy in 2011.

Costa’s expansion in the Mediterranean in 2011 will be supported by the new flagship Costa Favolosa, which is expected to depart on her vernissage cruise from Venice on July 4. The Costa Favolosa will also celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.

The ship is part of Costa Group’s €9.6 billion ($13.5 billion) fleet expansion programme which started in 2000. After the Costa Favolosa, her sister ship Costa Fascinosa is due for delivery in summer 2012, which will make the Costa Cruises fleet 16-strong. The debut of the two new sister ships will see more growth in the Mediterranean in 2012, with forecasts of around 9.5 million passenger movements and 16 fleet members.