Penélope Cruz Christens Costa Smeralda in Italy

Actress Penélope Cruz on Feb. 24 officially christened Costa’s new flagship, the 182,700-gross-ton, 6,522-passenger Costa Smeralda, in Savona, Italy.

Cruz performed the ribbon-cutting duties with the traditional breaking of the bottle against the bow of the ship in the presence of the ship’s master, Capt. Paolo Benini.

The event featured an acrobatic show in the Colosseo, the technologically advanced theater at the center of the ship. The celebration ended with a spectacular fireworks display, lighting up the Savona sky and giving the Costa Smeralda a fitting send-off.

“This ship is the perfect combination of Italian excellence, which is the key heritage of the Costa brand, and sustainable innovation, for an unforgettable vacation experience,” said Michael Thamm, Group CEO of Costa Group. “As the market leader in Europe, we are committed to being the first to introduce environmental innovation and lead the way in sustainable cruising for the cruise industry. We were the first company to invest in LNG and we are currently working to develop other sustainable technologies such as battery storage, fuel cells and liquefied gas from renewable energy sources.”

Costa describes the ship as a “traveling smart city,” with a propulsion system based on liquefied natural gas (LNG), a fuel that reduces emissions. Onboard, desalinization plants process seawater to meet daily water supply requirements, and the energy consumption is reduced to a minimum.

Waste is managed onboard with 100 percent separate collection for recycling of plastic, paper, glass and aluminum. Finally, the 4GOODFOOD program is designed to reduce food waste and to recover food surpluses in cooperation with the European Federation of Food Banks.

The furnishings, lighting, fabrics, and accessories were all made in Italy by 15 partners who are ambassadors of Italian excellence. A celebration of Italian design is showcased in the CoDe – the Costa Design Museum on the ship. Other highlights include the Solemio Spa, the entertainment areas, theme bars, 16 restaurants and a cooking studio.

The Costa Group has ordered five new LNG-fueled ships, two of which – Costa Smeralda and AIDAnova – are already in service. They are part of the Costa Group’s fleet expansion plan, with a total of seven ships slated for delivery by 2023 and an overall investment worth over €6 billion.

Costa Smeralda entered service on Dec. 21, 2019. It operates one-week itineraries in the Western Mediterranean with calls at Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia/Rome and La Spezia. This summer, the new flagship will also be calling at Cagliari, while a stopover in Palermo is planned to start in winter 2021-22.

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