Costa Group Asia’s Zanetti: 'bringing our Italian DNA on board'

Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia welcomes catwalk producer and model Jessica Minh Anh onboard Costa neoRomanticaa Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia welcomes catwalk producer and model Jessica Minh Anh onboard Costa neoRomanticaa

Costa Cruises brought elements of art, architecture, culture, high fashion and glamour this week to its first of four sailings homeported from Hong Kong, jointly hosting with catwalk producer and supermodel Jessica Minh Anh a sky-high fashion show on Costa neoRomantica's sun deck.

The latest edition in Minh Anh’s J Winter Fashion Show 2018 set a world-class fashion show against the backdrop of the iconic Hong Kong skyline on a fabulously crisp and sunny winter’s afternoon.

The event is very much in line with Costa’s ‘Italy at Sea’ concept with fashion being one of the pillars of the customer experience the line is striving to create.

‘We bring here in Asia our Italian DNA and in this there is fashion not only as a shopping experience on board our ships but also as part of the entertainment,’ Costa Group Asia president Mario Zanetti told Seatrade Cruise News.

The event is yet another way Costa is innovating to create new and exciting experiences, bringing Italy’s fashion culture to the forefront of the Asian market in a unique and exciting way, he added.

‘The world is looking at Costa Asia to bring the sky-high ocean catwalk to the ship, and we are very honoured to once again host Jessica Minh Anh as she too breaks down boundaries and perceptions with her stunning art. Framed against the blue ocean and the celebrated Hong Kong skyline, [Tuesday's] exhibition [was] the coming together of two innovators in their own fields, working together to provide a sensory experience for people around the world,’ Zanetti added.

Costa’s cruise concept is built around several pillars. ‘We have been working on these types of concepts as product pillars for the next decade in Asia to keep enriching and upgrading our product,’ he said.

‘Living a fashion show like in Italy is something unique and that’s what we want to bring to our Asian programmes,’ Zanetti said, adding that other similar programmes will feature from the spring season onward.

Apart from fashion, Zanetti highlighted Costa’s regional partnership in Asia with Italian football club Juventus signed in September, marking sports as another important trademark. ‘We want to be close to our guests and bring to them what matters of the Italian experience and football is one these,’ he said.

Zanetti also revealed a partnership with well-known Italian chef in Asia Umberto Bombana, whose Michelin-starred menus will be available on its ships from the spring programme in Asia. Chef Bombana’s Otto e Mezzo restaurant in Hong Kong’s Central has a reservations list that can be months long.

Costa Asia’s top man was coy in revealing segmental figures but was upbeat on the market. ‘China is an important market for Costa Group and for Carnival. We have been here for 10 years, pioneering the market, and we still see China and Asia in general as having more potential in future,’ Zanetti said.

He highlighted the commitment of Costa Atlantica to the south China market for the coming season and Costa Victoria to the Southeast Asian market, suggesting that these all remain key markets for Costa Asia.

And while the issue of China’s ban on group tours to South Korea has been a challenge, Zanetti maintained that Costa Asia will ‘carefully watch’ the Korean market and is ready to get back in ‘as soon as we can.’ Meanwhile, Korea remains important as a source market for Costa, he pointed out.


Costa neoRomantica’s arrival in Hong Kong on Feb. 6 marked the commencement of four sailings from the city. From Feb 23, Costa neoRomantica will homeport in Keelung, Taiwan, starting three four-day expeditions to Okinawa and Miyakojima in Japan. From April 21 to November, Costa neoRomantica will operate five- to 10-day voyages to a number of port cities in Japan and Korea from Tokyo or Fukuoka.

Posted 07 February 2018

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Vincent Wee

Asia Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

Vincent Wee is Seatrade's Asia Editor based in Hong Kong covering Hong Kong and South China while also making use of his Malay language skills to cover the Malaysia and Indonesia markets. He has gained a keen insight and extensive knowledge of the offshore oil and gas markets gleaned while covering major rig builders and offshore supply vessel providers.

Vincent has been a journalist for over 15 years, spending the bulk of his career with Singapore's biggest business daily the Business Times, and covering shipping and logistics since 2007. Prior to that he spent several years working for Brunei's main English language daily as well as various other trade publications.