Costa Serena Delivered and Set to Host ‘Virtual’ Inaugural at Same Time as Actual Inaugural Festivities

Newspapers

MIAMI, May 16 — The Costa Serena, the new flagship of Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, was delivered yesterday by Fincantieri at its Sestri Ponente shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Like her sister ship, the Costa Concordia, which entered service in July 2006, the Costa Serena is the largest passenger ship flying the Italian flag and the largest European ship in terms of capacity. The ship is 114,000 gross tons, 292 meters in length and features accommodations for up to 3,780 Guests in 1,500 cabins.

“The delivery of the Costa Serena fills us with great pride and satisfaction — she is an innovative ship and a showcase of cutting-edge technology that will set Costa even further apart from other tour operators,” said Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman & CEO of Costa Crociere SpA. With the arrival of the Costa Serena, the Costa Crociere fleet is now 12 strong, enabling us to consolidate our brand leadership in the rapidly expanding European market. We’re now nearing the one million mark, which was our set objective for the end of this year. In the first five months of 2007, we already have 880,000 bookings, equaling the entire volume of Guests carried in 2006. With three more ships already ordered and all due for delivery by 2010, another record-breaking milestone for the Costa Crociere brand is already taking shape in the fact that we are projecting 1.5 million reservations by 2010.”

Costa invested approximately 450 million Euros in the construction of the Costa Serena, which offers highly innovative features, including:

  • Samsara Spa, one of the largest spas at sea (over 23,000 square feet). The spa boasts 99 revolutionary Samsara cabins with direct access to the spa, including 12 suites.
  • Four swimming pools, two of which are enclosable via a magrodome, making it the largest enclosable pool deck on a ship and allowing for enjoyable poolside activities at any time of the year.
  • An authentic Grand Prix race car driving simulator, the most accurate representation of Grand Prix driving.
  • Menus in the Costa Serena’s “Club Bacco” a la carte restaurant were created by the Italian culinary innovator Ettore Bocchia, executive chef at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio and a Michelin restaurateur, with culinary delights based on the finest Italian gastronomic tradition with an accent on the use of fresh ingredients of the highest quality.
  • The interiors of the Costa Serena are designed by the ingenious American architect Joe Farcus with a central theme of Greek and Roman mythology. This is also the theme of the many artworks onboard (5,990 works, including 440 originals), contributed by 34 international artists including Omar Galliani, Aldo Spoldi, Nicola Salvatore and Stefano Pizzi, among many others.

The delivery of the Costa Serena brings the number of ships in the Costa fleet, Europe’s largest and most advanced, to 12, with total capacity of approximately 23,200 berths in double occupancy cabins. Costa has commissioned three more ships, all from Fincantieri, including a third sister ship to the Costa Concordia and Costa Serena, due for delivery in Spring 2009; two 92,700 gross tonnage sister ships, one to be named the Costa Luminosa and due to enter service in Spring 2009 and the other in March 2010. Since 2003, Costa has invested a total of 3.5 billion euros in Italy, placing orders with Fincantieri for seven new ships as part of a fleet expansion and upgrading program worth almost 4.5 billion Euros, which was launched by the Italian Company in 2000. By 2010, when the last of the new builds is delivered, the Costa fleet will be 15 strong and have a total capacity of over 30,800 passengers (in double occupancy cabins).

The inaugural ceremony for the Costa Serena will be held on May 19 in Marseille with the beautiful and talented French actress Marion Cotillard as the ship’s godmother. The inaugural festivities, entitled “Mediterranean Serenade,” will be open to the entire city and feature the ship in a playful “dialogue” of color and light with Marseille’s main monuments. Together, with the actual inaugural itself, there will be a parallel “virtual” event as the new Costa flagship makes her debut on “Second Life,” the 3D Internet-based virtual world. The over 6 million “inhabitants” of “Second Life” will be able to board the ship and discover all the innovations offered by the Costa Serena.

When the Costa Serena is inaugurated in Marseille on May 19, the 114,000-ton ship will be simultaneously inaugurated in a “virtual” setting via “Second Life,” a three- dimensional virtual community. This reproduction of the inaugural ceremonies for Costa’s twelfth ship aims to offer all Second Life “residents” a virtual experience of the Costa Serena inaugural fête. All users who register at www.secondlife.com/ will have the opportunity to take part in the virtual inaugural ceremony, complete with entertainment, a treasure hunt and fireworks display. The inaugural will be held at 1 p.m. EDT. In addition, Second Life residents will have the unique opportunity to board the ship, stroll its outer decks, enjoy the ambience of the main atrium, visit the Samsara Spa (one of the largest spas at sea) as well as take a look at the ship’s Grand Prix race car driving simulator first-hand. These virtual passengers will also be able to interact with virtual hostesses ready to answer all of their questions about the new ship in five different languages: Italian, French, English, Spanish and German.

The Costa Serena’s Inaugural cruise will depart from Venice on May 26 with an eight-day itinerary to Greece, Turkey and Croatia. Every Sunday from June through November 2007, the Costa Serena will depart from Venice on seven-day cruises calling on Bari (Italy) Olympia (Greece), Izmir and Istanbul (Turkey), and Dubrovnik (Croatia). In winter 2007/2008, she will offer 10- and 11-day cruise vacations to the Canary Islands with departures from Savona.

In addition to its presence on “Second Life,” Costa currently has an Internet presence in the form of a “business-to-consumer” Web site, www.costa.it, which is diversified for 17 markets in over 11 languages, ensuring localization of the global brand’s product range. For those who are not yet “residents” of Second Life, Costa has developed a microsite completely dedicated to the Costa Serena www.costaserena.net to allow them to view the ship, interact via a blog, and enter a competition to win a cruise aboard the ship. A winner will be selected according to the most original answer to the question “What makes you feel like a god on a cruise?” This theme is in line with the ship’s design inspiration based on classical Roman and Greek mythology. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit www.costacruises.com/.