At a time of enormous challenges, the handover is 'a sign of hope and restart' for cruising and tourism, said Michael Thamm, group CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia. 'Our hope is that people will soon be able to travel again and that more ships will set sail and contribute to the revitalization of tourism in Italy, Europe and globally.'
Together with longstanding partner Fincantieri, he added, 'we are ready to do our part for sustainable and zero-emission cruising.'
Centered in Florence, 'The Renaissance came after the Dark Ages, when pandemics were frequent,' Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono noted. Technology, innovation and working together can help overcome the current dark period, he said.
A masterpiece and an act of faith
For his part, Fincantieri Chairman Giampiero Massolo called Costa Firenze an 'extraordinary masterpiece' and an 'act of faith.'
It is the third cruise ship delivered by Fincantieri since September, further demonstrating the shipbuilding giant's resilience. No orders have been canceled, and the company is creating jobs, contributing to the rebirth of travel and to safer, healthier cruise ships, Bono said.
11th Costa ship built by Fincantieri
Costa Firenze is the 11th ship built by Fincantieri for Costa, and together with Enchanted Princess, the second delivered to Carnival Corp. & plc during the pandemic. Carnival Corp. President and CEO Arnold Donald thanked the Italian government, Fincantieri management and the hundreds of craftspeople who came to work every day at great personal risk, 'because you can't build a ship virtually.' Donald called Costa Firenze a 'tribute to the beautiful city of Florence, but also to the talent of workers.'
Italy was the first country to allow Costa to resume cruises, in September, noted Mario Zanetti, chief commercial officer, Costa. Costa Firenze, designed for China, will first ply the Mediterranean from late February to October 2021. It will sail two Western Mediterranean itineraries with calls to multiple Italian and international ports, with a stop at La Spezia for access to Florence.
Participating in the handover ceremony, which featured a musical tribute from a Florence rooftop, dancers and a flag-waving demonstration, Florence Mayor Dario Nardella welcomed the city's namesake ship.
To Asia in October 2021
After October 2021, Costa Firenze will move to Asia to join sister Costa Venezia, delivered in 2019 from Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard.
The 135,000gt Costa Firenze has capacity for more than 5,200 passengers. Amenities include 13 bars, seven restaurants and a family adventure park.
RINA has accorded the ship Green Star 3 notation for its environmental features.