Running approximately three months behind the originally anticipated schedule, the cruise ship was the second that Carnival Corporation took delivery on in recent days in a year that saw construction delays and deferred deliveries of cruise ships due to the pandemic.
The cruise industry had expected to take delivery on two dozen cruise ships in 2020, ranging from mega-ships, including the Costa Firenze to smaller ships for the exploration cruise market. Instead, just half of those ships were completed and delivered with the others being deferred till 2021. The Costa Firenze is the third cruise ship that Fincantieri delivered in the second half of 2020 and the sixth overall for the year.
The 135,500 gross ton cruise ship is part of the overall development plan that calls for a total of seven new ships to be delivered to the Costa Group by 2023, for a total investment of more than $7.2 billion. The plan for 2020 had called for her to enter service in the fall in the Chinese market alongside her sister ship, the Costa Venezia, also built by Fincantieri, and in operation since March 2019. The sister ships were to replace two older cruise ships that Carnival Corporation has sold to its new joint venture in China with CSSC.
"The handover of the new Costa Firenze is a sign of hope and restart for the whole cruise and tourism ecosystems. This ship represents the most tangible evidence of the will of our group to restart,” said Michael Thamm, group CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia. "Looking beyond the pandemic, Costa's goal is to design the future of sustainable and zero-emission cruising and we hope that our long-lasting partnership with Fincantieri can bring our companies to work together on a roadmap that can lead to this ambitious yet essential objective."
The 1,062-foot cruise ship is built on a standardized platform developed by Fincantieri for Carnival Corporation, which is being used by both Carnival Cruise Line and Costa. Each line has customized the design and the Costa Firenze incorporates the newest environmental technologies, which earned the vessel RINA’s Green Star 3 notation. The ship incorporates technologies to address waste, gray water, black water, machinery oil, CO2, ozone, greenhouse gases, particulate matter, sulfur oxides, nitrogen, and ballast water, among other environmental concerns.
“The delivery is an important moment because it is the concrete demonstration that the company is getting back to its normal production activity. The company has proven to be very resilient, avoiding the cancellation of orders and strengthening relations with the customers of the cruise sector. We are a growing company,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. "Costa Firenze is the third cruise ship we have delivered since September and we are pleased that the name of this unit recalls one of the most famous cities of art in Italy and in the world.”
Designed to operate in the Chinese market, the vessel’s décor was designed to strongly carry the Italian themes. The Costa Firenze's interior design is a celebration of the Tuscan city, the cradle of Renaissance art and culture. The public areas reflect a square in Florence with the colors, patterns, and shapes of the interior design evoking the architecture of the Florentine Renaissance. Among the passenger amenities are 13 different restaurants and nine bars. There is also a water park and special features for children and teenagers.
"Costa Firenze is a superb ambassador of Italian style, bringing a distinctive Italian taste for beauty to the seas around the world, from Europe to Asia," said Mario Zanetti, chief commercial officer of Costa Cruises and president of Costa Group Asia. "The concept of the Costa Firenze is inspired by an iconic city, which represents Italian art, taste, and refinement in the world's collective imagination. We have designed this ship to offer our guests a unique experience, especially for the family target, with a specific offer of entertainment and services."
The cruise ship’s entry into the Asian market has been delayed for a year until late 2021. Costa currently plans to introduce the Costa Firenze on February 28, 2021 sailing from Italy with calls in France and Spain. In the fall of 2020, Costa became the first of Carnival Corporation’s cruise lines to return to service, sailing seven-day cruises from Italy. As part of the Italian government’s effort to contain the coronavirus during the holiday season, Costa Cruises agreed to suspend sailing between December 20, 2020, and January 6, 2021. Costa plans for its flagship the Costa Smeralda to resume cruising on January 7, 2021, with weekly cruises from Civitavecchia, Italy.
Gross Tonnage -- 135,500
Length -- 1,062 feet
Beam -- 122 feet
Speed -- 18 knots
Passenger capacity 5,246
Crew -- 1,292