MIAMI, July 15: Costa Cruises, Europeâ€™s Number One Cruise Line, planted 100 organically-certified olive plants today in the Cinque Terre National Park near Castagnoli di Riomaggiore in Italy. Just a few kilometers of land in eastern Liguria, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 and a few months later it was transformed into the first protected marine area and then into a national park. The Cinque Terre National Park contains five fishing villages, winding alleys and pastel-colored houses that are all huddled together. The park is home to steep flights of stairs leading to small natural terraces with sheer drops to the sea below, picturesque churches caressed by the waves and even castles, with high stone walls and towers. The area is cultivated with vines, olive and lemon trees and many miles of winding paths, running along the coast. The paths are located at different heights above sea level and they journey though the vivid and sweet-smelling Mediterranean maquis, the main vegetation of the Mediterranean coasts. The primary attractions for tourists include rural history, ancient rituals, crafts and traditions, including its food and wine.
As an environmental effort, Costa Cruises decided to make the inaugural event last month of its two newest ships, the Costa Luminosa and the Costa Pacifica, a â€œzero impactâ€ event. Carbon dioxide emissions produced during the Guinness world record event will be offset by Costaâ€™s planting of 100 olive trees. The inaugural ceremony took place in Genoa, Italy on June 5, 2009. The planting will repopulate nearly 2,000 square meters of terraced land in the Cinque Terre National Park.
Costa Cruises believes in and actively promotes responsible tourism. Costaâ€™s shore side excursions are a prime example of their accordance with this high priority. Costa offers various eco-tourism excursions, comprising of visits to parks, oases and nature reserves, with programs that minimize the impact on the ecosystem and create economic opportunities for the local communities.
Environmental compliance has always been one of Costa Cruisesâ€™ distinguishing features. Itâ€™s the only cruise company to have an environmental management system developed according to the latest international standards (UNI EN ISO 14001 2004). These standards are witnessed by the Social and Environmental Report drawn up according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines and certified by RINA (Italian Register of Shipping).
For reservations or more information regarding Costa Cruises, guests may contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit www.costacruises.com.