Port Authority president Paolo Emilio Signorini and Costa president Neil Palomba signed the new agreement Friday in the presence of Giovanni Toti, president of the Liguria Region, and Ilaria Caprioglio, mayor of Savona.
Costa's main homeport
The cruise industry's development in Genoa and Savona are key to the Port Authority's mission, Signorini said. Costa has invested more than €20m to upgrade the facilities in Savona, its main homeport, where it generates more than 800,000 passengers annually. Savona and Genoa rank among the top 10 Italian cruise ports and passenger traffic hikes are forecast in 2019.
'This new agreement is a further success in our fruitful collaboration with the Port Authority, and lays even more solid and long-lasting foundations for the investments we have already decided to make to adapt the Palacrociere in preparation for the arrival of Costa Smeralda, our new flagship, at the end of 2019,' Palomba said.
'From our side,' Caprioglio said, 'we will reinforce our commitment to make the city more and more welcoming for the many cruise passengers who have the opportunity to know and make Savona known in the world.'
Smeralda naming ceremony
On Nov. 3, 2019, Savona will host the naming ceremony for the 180,000gt Costa Smeralda, currently under construction at Meyer Turku in Finland. From Nov. 9 until spring 2021, the LNG-powered ship will sail weekly on an itinerary that includes Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia (Rome) and La Spezia.
Dredging and terminal redesign
In preparation, major work will soon begin to the tune of about €24m. The Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority will be deepening the sea bed in front of Palacrociere's main cruise terminal quay to increase the draft from 9 meters to 11 meters, a project estimated at €19.35m.
Costa, meanwhile, will invest €4.5m in two new passenger boarding bridges and adapt the structure of Palacrocie's main cruise terminal by redesigning the spaces and flows. The work is promised not to interfere with the operation of the port, where Costa ships are expected to make 155 calls in 2019.