Fincantieri floats out first cruise ship for Chinese market

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Monfalcone (Italy), 22 June (IANS/AKI) Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and cruise company Costa Cruises on Friday launched the Venice-themed Costa Venezia, the first cruise liner built for the Chinese market, the two companies said in a statement here.

Friday’s float-out of the Costa Venezia is the first time that the 135,500 tonne, 323-metre-long 5,100-guest ship touched water, the statement said.

The launch ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in this northern Italian port where the ship is being built and from where it is due to set off on its maiden voyage next March once its interior fittings have been completed, Fincantieri and Costa Cruises said.

“As our first ship built specifically for the Chinese market, Costa Venezia marks a new era not just for Costa Cruises and Fincantieri but for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole,” said Costa Group Asia’s President Mario Zanetti.

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“From its initial conception all the way through to today’s (Friday’s) float-out ceremony and beyond, everything about Costa Venezia has been designed with the Chinese consumer in mind.

“Costa Venezia will continue to offer on Costa Cruises an authentic Italian experience while also providing a unique vacation experience that will resonate with Chinese guests by being fully tailored to their travel preferences,” he said.

The construction of the Costa Venezia and its sister ship will strengthen Costa’s commitment in an emerging market and marks a new milestone for the Italian company and its commitment to the Chinese cruise industry, the statement said.

Fincantieri said the construction of the Costa Venezia came at a moment of “exceptional growth” for the cruise industry and cemented the company’s “long term relationship” with Costa Cruises.

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“Thanks to the effort of the Monfalcone shipyard, in a moment of exceptional growth of the cruise industry, we confirm our global leadership in this sector and our long term relationship with Costa Cruises,” Fincantieri’s Executive Vice President Luigi Matarazzo said.

Designed to meet the specific leisure and entertainment requirements of Chinese guests, Costa Venezia will “bring to life the passion of Venetian and Italian culture”, the two companies stated.

The Costa Venezia’s theatre will be inspired by Venice’s renowned ‘La Fenice’ theatre while its main atrium will recall St Mark’s Square and its restaurants will feature the typical architecture of Venice’s narrow streets.

The ship will contain gondolas made by local artisans and passengers will be invited to a masked party that will recreate on board “the magic atmosphere of Venice’s world-famous Carnival”.

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Guests will also be able to sample the delights of fine Italian dining, luxury Italian shopping and world-class Italian entertainment, while enjoying home comforts such as a range of Chinese cuisines and Chinese-style karaoke and a “Golden Party”, with lots of surprises and gifts to be won every ten minutes, according to the statement.

Costa Venezia will be Costa’s largest ship operating homeport cruises from China and its launch will be followed in 2020 by that of its sister ship being built by Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard in Venice, the statement added.

Fincantieri is one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world and has built 14 ships costing over six billion euros for Costa Cruises, which is part of Carnival Corporation, the world’s biggest leisure travel company.

–IANS/AKI

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