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Costa charts Genoa return, plans works for LNG newbuild at Savona, La Spezia

Article-Costa charts Genoa return, plans works for LNG newbuild at Savona, La Spezia

Costa Fortuna, currently operating in Asia, will sail from Genoa 34 times in 2019
During 2019, a Costa Cruises ship will homeport at Genoa for the first time in nearly 15 years, while the new flagship Costa Smeralda will operate an itinerary that includes the fellow Ligurian ports Savona and La Spezia.

Costa Fortuna—currently deployed in Asia—will make 34 calls in Genoa, while in Savona, important work will be carried out by the port authority and Costa to prepare for the new 180,000gt Costa Smeralda, a vessel powered by LNG.

Since Liguria has been Costa's home throughout its 70-year history, the company is 'especially happy to strengthen our presence in all the three main ports of our region,' Costa president Neil Palomba said. He cited continuous dialogue with the authorities and particularly credited Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci and Liguria Region President Giovanni Toti for playing a key role in Costa's decision to operate a ship from Genoa.

Toti said the collaboration between the Liguria region and Costa began when the new regional council took over with the opening of a new training center of excellence at Villa Figoli in Arenzano, where the company and the Italian Merchant Marine Academy provide training and job opportunities for young people and seafarers, particularly in the shipboard hotel sector.

'The excellent teamwork between the institutions and this private company has proven to be a great success and the benefits to our region are tangible,' Toti said.

In Savona, Costa's activities generate more than 700 jobs annually and have an economic impact of almost €40m. The line's ships call approximately 200 times a year, carrying 300,000 passengers on turnarounds and 350,000 in transit. These flows of people generate an average spending per year of almost €100 per person and €1,020 for related industries and activities for each inhabitant of Savona.

For his part, Genoa Mayor Bucci said: 'Costa Cruises is not just a shipping company for us: it is an important part of our city's history. Seeing Costa ships in our port again will be a source of great pride.' The city looks forward to welcoming thousands of new tourists and will provide accommodation, entertainment and cultural attractions to serve them, he added.

From the end of March to November 2019, Costa Fortuna will dock in Genoa every Friday, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The ship will sail two different itineraries. In the spring and autumn, it will visit Marseille, Barcelona, Valencia, Civitavecchia and La Spezia, and in the summer, Marseille, Tarragona, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and Olbia.

Starting in November next year, the Costa Smeralda will call at Savona and La Spezia every week during the winter season. The ship will be in Savona every Saturday and La Spezia every Friday, on an itinerary that includes Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Civitavecchia.

To accommodate the 6,600-passenger ship, currently under construction at Meyer Turku in Finland, the Port Authority System of the Western Ligurian Sea will work to deepen the Savona port basin, while Costa will invest €4.5m in two new passenger boarding fingers and upgrades to the Palacrociere (cruise terminal) buildings.

As for La Spezia, Costa won a concession for the management of the port's cruise areas and services in 2018.

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