07 July 2006

Today, July 7, the port of Civitavecchia will be the venue for the christening of Costa Crociere’s new flagship, with a spectacular ceremony featuring Eva Herzigova as the godmother and Antonella Clerici as the Master of Ceremonies.
A superb show directed by Valerio Festi paying homage to “Made in Italy” plus a tribute to fashion under the patronage of AltaRoma with the collaboration of the Italian fashion house Gattinoni.
The arrival of the Costa Concordia brings to 11 the number of ships in the Costa fleet, Europe’s largest and most advanced.

Civitavecchia – July 7, 2006 – The christening takes place today in the port of Rome (Civitavecchia) of the Costa Concordia, the new flagship of Costa Crociere.

Built in the historic shipyards in Sestri Ponente (Genoa) by Fincantieri, the Italian company and the world’s leading cruise ship and large ferry builder, for the Italian operator Costa Crociere, Europe’s no. 1 cruise company, the Costa Concordia weighs in at 112,000 gross tonnage and can accommodate up to 3780 Guests; this makes her the largest cruise ship flying the Italian flag and the biggest European vessel in terms of capacity.

The celebrations for the new flagship, in collaboration with Fincantieri, with the participation of the Port of Rome, Italy’s number one and the Mediterranean’s number two in terms of cruise traffic, and under the patronage of the Latium Regional Administration, the Provincial Administration of Rome and the Municipality of Rome, will be attended by Italian Government representatives, the main local authorities, and show business personalities.

The event kicks off with a Gala Dinner on board the ship for over 1300 invited Guests, with a menu specially devised for the occasion by Ettore Bocchia, a Michelin chef at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio and now a culinary consultant for one of the five restaurants on the Costa Concordia.

At 10.30 pm all the Guests will be invited to go quayside and watch the christening ceremony. Supermodel Eva Herzigova will star as the godmother: it will be her task to cut the ribbon and break a bottle of champagne against the side of the ship in accordance with naval tradition. The entire event will be hosted by the Master of Ceremonies Antonella Clerici, one of Italy’s most popular TV presenters. The vessel will be blessed by Cardinal Fumio Hamao, President of the Pontifical Council of the Pastoral Office for Migrants and Travelers. The actual christening will be followed by a show called “The Waters of Rome” produced by the internationally acclaimed artist Valerio Festi, who has staged “cinemascope” outdoor happenings in over 200 towns and cities worldwide. The star of this performance will be Rome, in the dual role of a city of cinema and a city of water. The eternal city’s ties with the movies will be shown in scenes from famous films projected on a big inflatable screen. The theme of water will be portrayed on stage by artists, actors, acrobats and dancers in a live tribute to the Tiber, the fountains of Rome and the sea.
This will be followed by a fashion show paying tribute to Italian Style, staged by AltaRoma with the contribution of Gattinoni, which has been synonymous with style and elegance for 60 years now. The grand finale will feature a spectacular fireworks display, inspired by Baroque art. Light and color will be visible all over the city, illuminating the night and the beauty of the Costa Concordia.

“The christening of the Costa Concordia is truly exciting for us,” said Costa Crociere SpA Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, “because she is a truly unique and innovative ship, the epitome of Italian made quality and style, which we are proud to christen right here in the port of the nation’s capital.”

Giuseppe Bono, Chief Executive Officer of Fincantieri commented: “This event marks a milestone in our work with Costa Crociere. Our relations with the owner re-commenced in 2000 with a very full construction schedule which we intend to further consolidate: 7 ships, 4 still to be delivered, continue to engage our shipyards in the fleet expansion programme of Costa Crociere. We are pleased to have contributed to Costa’s position as market leader with vessels which bear witness to the world of the construction capability and expertise of Italian industry.”

“Being chosen to host the christening of the Costa Concordia,” commented Giovanni Moscherini, Port Authority Commissioner for Rome and Latium, “is important recognition for the port of Civitavecchia, which has this year confirmed its leadership in the cruise sector and, thanks to the deal reached with the world’s leading shipowners, and notably Costa Crociere, is set within the space of a few short years to become the Mediterranean’s number one turnaround port.”

July 8, the day after the christening ceremony, the Costa Concordia will be presented at a special premiere, again in the port of Rome, to over 3000 Italian and European travel agents; the highlight of the event will be a concert in the evening by the Israeli singer Noa, in the ship’s Teatro Atene.

The Costa Concordia will depart from Civitavecchia on her premiere cruise on July 9, and will make stopovers in Tunis, Malta and Tripoli. This will be followed by her 9-day maiden cruise, with departure again from Civitavecchia on July 14 and a stopover in Savona (July 15) as well as calls in Barcelona, Alicante, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Cadiz and Malaga. During the 2006 summer season the Costa Concordia will be offering 7-day Mediterranean cruises calling at Savona, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Tunis, Malta, Palermo and Civitavecchia. Thanks to the introduction of the Costa Concordia, in combination with weekly calls by the Costa Romantica, Costa Crociere is confirming its leadership in the port of Rome, with a total of 70 calls and 200,000 passengers in 2006.

The ship

Costa has invested around 450 million euros in the building of the Costa Concordia, which includes several unique innovations for the global cruise industry. Starting with Samsara Spa, the largest wellness center ever built on a cruise ship (2104 m2). 55 cabins and 12 suites have direct access to the Spa and are linked to a package heralding a new style of wellness vacation. The Costa Concordia is also the first ship to have two swimming pools under a retractable glass roof: one astern and the other amidships on the same deck. This is the largest enclosable outdoor area on any cruise ship (3500 m2), enabling use of the pools also on winter cruises in the Mediterranean, where the ship will be operating until the end of 2007. In addition, the central pool area is fitted with a giant 18 m2 movie screen, which can be used for daytime projection of video clips and similar entertainment as well as nighttime film screenings. Another exclusive innovation on board is the totally authentic Grand Prix driving simulator, the most accurate representation of F1 ever.

The Costa Concordia is set to become another Italian Made symbol globally: she was built by the Italian company Fincantieri, while her interiors have been decorated by some of Italy’s leading designers and feature works by top Italian artists. The “Club Concordia”, one of five restaurants on board the ship, has menus devised by the Italian culinary innovator Ettore Bocchia, executive chef at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio and a Michelin restaurateur.

In keeping with all Costa’s most recent ships, the interior decoration of the Costa Concordia, designed by Miami architect Joe Farcus, is based on a central idea, represented in this case by the architectural styles of some of Europe’s loveliest cities, with the public areas of the vessel named accordingly. Also in line with the Costa tradition, the ship displays many contemporary artworks: some 6000 of them, comprising copies and original works by emerging and established artists, contributed by European Art Academies.

The delivery of the Costa Concordia brings to eleven the number of ships in the Costa fleet, Europe’s largest and most advanced, with total capacity of around 20,500 berths in double occupancy cabins. Costa Crociere has commissioned four more new buildings (one with an option), all from Fincantieri. The Sestri Ponente yard will build two sister ships of the Costa Concordia: the Costa Serena, due to enter service in May 2007, and a second vessel which is still to be named and will be delivered in summer 2009. Meanwhile, an order has been placed at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard for a 92,700 gross tonnage cruise vessel, with an option for a sister ship; these running mates are expected to enter service in spring 2009 and fall 2010, respectively. The total outlay for these four new orders amounts to almost 2 billion euros, which is part of a total investment of almost 4.5 billion euros made by Costa Crociere since 2000 for its fleet expansion and upgrading program. By 2010, with the delivery of the last new building ordered (assuming the option is exercised), the Costa Crociere fleet will consist of 15 ships with total guest capacity exceeding 30,700 (in double occupancy cabins).