The handover took place today in the presence of Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Edoardo Rixi, as well as Carnival Corp. & plc and Costa Group officials.
Biggest Costa ship in China
The 135,500gt, 323-meter ship has capacity for more than 5,200 passengers. Costa Venezia will be the biggest vessel introduced by Costa to the Chinese market, where the Italian company began operating in 2006.
Inspired by Venice
Costa Venezia is designed to introduce Chinese guests to Italian culture, lifestyle and excellence, starting with the interiors, which are inspired by Venice.
'Costa Venezia will help us to further develop the cruise market in China, which has a great unexplored potential. Suffice to say that, currently, 2.5 million Chinese people a year choose to go on a cruise vacation, which is less than 2% of the total number of Chinese people who travel abroad,' said Michael Thamm, CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia. The ship also strengthens Costa's bonds with Italy, since it was built there, flies the Italian flag and will enable Chinese travelers to experience Italy on board.
'For us, Costa Venezia is the emblem of what we are able to do and where we intend to arrive, but she is also the product of the historical partnership with Carnival Corporation and Costa Crociere, which enhances the tradition of Italian manufacturing and know-how, projecting them towards other borders,' Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said.
One in three cruisers will sail on a Fincantieri 'jewel'
The cruise ships Fincantieri has delivered and those that are on order will number 143 in the coming years, meaning than one in three cruisers will be sailing on 'our jewels,' Bono continued.
'As soon as Costa Venezia enters service in China, putting on show what we are able to realize in a still unexplored market, I am sure that a new chapter will be opened in the successful history of Fincantieri,' he said.
'The delivery of Costa Venezia is a further step in the growth of a strong and sustainable cruise industry in China, which someday, we believe will be the largest cruise market in the world,' said Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp. & plc.
'Costa Venezia marks the start of a new era, not only for Costa and Fincantieri but also for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole,' said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. 'From conception to delivery, everything about Costa Venezia has been designed having the Chinese customer in mind. Costa Venezia will continue to offer the authentic Italian experience that is a hallmark of Costa, but with further innovations that have never been seen before and which are designed to meet the needs of the local market even better.'
Authentic gondolas, masked ball
The ship's theatre is inspired by La Fenice in Venice, the main atrium is reminiscent of St. Mark's Square and the main restaurants recall the traditional architecture of Venetian alleys and squares. Actual gondolas, made by the Squero di San Trovaso artisans, can also be found on board. Other highlights include Italian cuisine, shops with 'Made in Italy' brands and Italian entertainment including a masked ball that recreates the atmosphere of the famous Carnival of Venice.
Cruisers will also have a wide choice of Chinese food, Chinese-style karaoke and events like a Golden Party, with surprises and gifts awarded every 10 minutes.
Costa Venezia is set to be named March 1 in Trieste, with a spectacular air show by the Frecce Tricolori acrobatic team and a fireworks display. The vernissage cruise will depart March 3, bound for Greece and Croatia. On March 8, the ship will be back in Trieste for the start of its inaugural cruise, a 53-day journey tracing Marco Polo's route through the Mediterranean to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Far East before arriving at Tokyo. The vernissage and inaugural cruises will be the only departures available to European and American passengers.
From May 18, Costa Venezia will be dedicated exclusively to Chinese travelers for cruises in Asia departing from Shanghai.
A sister ship to Costa Venezia, also for the Chinese market, is under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera yard and scheduled for 2020 delivery.