Costa Cruises

Costa Crociere S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈkɔsta kroˈtʃɛːre]), operating as Costa Cruises (Italian: Costa Crociere), is an Italian cruise line founded in 1854 and organized as a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc since 2000. Based in Genoa, Italy, the cruise line primarily caters to the Italian cruise market, but the company's fourteen ships, which all sail under the Italian flag, provides itineraries sailing to countries globally.[2][3]

Costa Crociere S.p.A.
HeadquartersGenoa, Italy
Key people
Michael Thamm (President, CEO Costa Group)
Revenue$2.236 billion (2018)[1]
ParentCarnival Corporation & plc


Founded in 1854 by Giacomo Costa as Giacomo Costa fu Andrea, the company originally operated cargo ships, carrying olive oils and textiles.[4] In 1924, the company was passed to the founder's sons (Federico, Eugenio and Enrico) and started commercial activities, buying the ship, Ravenna. In 1947, the name of the company was changed to Linea C.[5]

Commercial activities continued for one more year until 1948, with the introduction of passenger services,[4] beginning with regular services between Italy and South America operated by the ship, Anna C.[5] She marked the start of scheduled operations between Italy and South America after being the first ocean liner to cross the South Atlantic Ocean following World War II.[5]

In 1959, the company gradually transitioned into offering more pleasure holidays, with trips being offered in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean regions.[5] Linea C proceeded to take ownership of its first purpose-built cruise ship in 1964 and went on to own 12 more ships by 1980, making the company the owner of the world's largest fleet of passenger ships.[5] In 1986, Linea C changed its name to Costa Cruises and became a cruise-centered business.[5]

In March 1997, Carnival Corporation and Airtours PLC purchased Costa Cruises for $300 million.[6] At the time, Costa Cruises had been the leading European cruise line, with an estimated market share of 19%.[6] Carnival and Airtours both acquired 50% each of the company.[6]

As subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc

In 2000, Carnival Corporation took full control of Costa Crociere after buying out Airtours' 50% interest for $525 million.[7] In 2002, Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises merged to form Carnival Corporation & plc, bringing together both companies' assets under one corporation.[8] As of 2018, Costa accounted for approximately 12% of Carnival Corporation & plc's revenue.[1]

In 2004, Costa Crociere purchased control of AIDA Cruises in Germany.[9] In 2007, Carnival Corporation and Orizonia Group created Ibero Cruises in a joint venture.[10] Ibero was absorbed into Costa Cruises in 2014.[11]

In 2012, the company gained international attention when Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy on 13 January 2012.[12] Thirty-two people died in the disaster.[12] Six weeks later, the company made headlines again when a fire on Costa Allegra left it drifting without power for 13 hours in waters near Somalia frequented by pirates, before the ship was taken under tow.[13]

In February 2018, Costa announced its partnership with football club, Juventus.[14]

In December 2019, Costa debuted Costa Smeralda and became the second cruise line to operate a cruise ship fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), following AIDA's AIDAnova one year earlier.[15] Costa Smeralda is to be joined by her sister LNG ship, Costa Toscana, in 2021. On 30 January 2020 Costa Smeralda was quarantined along with some 6,000 passengers at the Italian port of Civitavecchia following two suspected cases of COVID-19.[16]

Market position and demographics

As of 2015, Italians accounted for 25 to 30% of bookings on most Costa cruise holidays, followed by the French, the Germans, and the Spanish.[17] North Americans only made up approximately between 5 and 15% of the passengers aboard most ships.[17] English is also mandated as the "universal" language on every Costa ship, and all crew members are required to be able to communicate in it.[17]

During an interview with Travel Pulse in 2015, Scott Knutson, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa Cruises North America, shared his thoughts on Costa's position in the cruise industry and its ways of adapting to an international audience:

The most important thing to keep in mind is that we are an international product. We are uniquely positioned as the only international brand that hasn’t adapted its product to the American market. That authenticity allows us to go to a certain segment of the market. It’s those vacationers who like the international experience—the food, the wine, the service.[17]

Temporary shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Most cruises around the world were cancelled in March 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.[18] As of September 2020, the no-sail rule by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prohibited cruising in the U.S. until October 31, 2020 at the earliest but other countries had already allowed for cruises to recommence.[19]

Costa began new sailings on 6 September in Italy, initially with two ships, Costa Deliziosa and Costa Diadema. At that time, the line required all passengers to be from Italy. By 27 September 2020, however, "Costa Cruises will be available for all European citizens who are residents in any of the countries listed in the most recent decree from the Prime Minister of Italy" according to a news report. The company had implemented strict health protocols to protect its staff and guests.[20]

A report on 9 January 2021 stated some cruise lines were hoping to resume some sailings in Europe in the near future but added that "it remains to be seen whether this will go ahead with much of the continent still in lockdown".[21] Costa's Web site at that time was indicating no sailings in January but was hoping to start on 28 February with the Costa Firenze, on 2 April with the Costa Deliziosa on 3 April with the Costa Magica, and so on. Only Italian ports would be used initially, and the gradual restart would accept only guests from Italy.[22]


Current fleet

Ship Built Builder Entered service
for Costa
Gross tonnage Flag Notes Image
Atlantica class
Costa Mediterranea2003Kværner Masa-Yards
Helsinki New Shipyard
200385,619It is scheduled to be transferred to a new Chinese cruise line in 2021.[23]
Fortuna (Triumph) class
Costa Fortuna2003Fincantieri2003102,587Identical to Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory
Costa Magica2004Fincantieri2004102,587

Identical to Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory
Concordia class
Costa Serena2007Fincantieri2007114,500Concordia class
Costa Pacifica2009Fincantieri2009114,500Concordia class
Costa Favolosa2011Fincantieri2011114,500Modified Concordia class
Costa Fascinosa2012Fincantieri2012114,500Modified Concordia class
Luminosa class (Hybrid Spirit/Vista class)
Costa Luminosa2009Fincantieri200992,700Hybrid design between Atlantica- and Vista-class ships
Costa Deliziosa2010Fincantieri201092,700Hybrid design between Atlantica- and Vista-class ships
Diadema (Dream) class
Costa Diadema2014Fincantieri2014133,019Modified Dream-class ship
Venezia (Vista) class
Costa Venezia2019Fincantieri2019135,225Modified Vista-class ship
Exclusively serves the Chinese market.[24]
Costa Firenze2020[25]Fincantieri2020135,500Originally planned to serve the Chinese market but later amended to the Mediterranean.[24]
Sister ship to Costa Venezia.
Excellence class
Costa Smeralda2019Meyer Turku2019185,010[26]Largest ship built for Costa Cruises. Powered by LNG.

Future fleet

ShipIn Costa serviceBuilderGross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa ToscanaDecember 2021[27]Meyer Turku185,010originally planned for 2020, but the delivery date was changed to June 2021 after the Mardi Gras was ordered. Delayed again until December 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic[27]
Keel laid on 11 February 2020.[28]
Sister ship to Costa Smeralda.

Powered by LNG.

Former fleet

ShipIn Costa serviceNotesImage
Giovanna C1947–1953
Luisa C1947–1955Built as the Asanao in 1919. Sold and renamed Robert Luckenbach in 1922.
After service with Costa, she was sold in 1955 and renamed Sula. Scrapped in 1959.
Maria C1947–1953Scrapped in 1953.
Andrea C1948–1981Built in 1942 as the Ocean ship, Ocean Virtue. Converted for passenger use in 1948.
Scrapped in 1982.
Anna C1948–1971Formerly Prince Line's Southern Prince. Requisitioned as HMS Southern Prince in World War II.
Scrapped after a serious fire in 1971.
Franca C1952–1977Formerly an ocean liner hotel ship.
Federico C1958–1983Abandoned and sank in 2000 after engine room flooded.
Bianca C.1959–1961Sank on 24 October 1961 following an explosion and fire in the engine room.[29]
Enrico C / Enrico Costa1965–1994
Eugenio C1966–1996Scrapped in Alang in 2005.
Carla C / Carla Costa1967–1992Scrapped in Aliaga in 1994.
Flavia1968–1982Formerly the Cunard Line's RMS Media. Scrapped in 1989 in Kaohsiung after a fire.
Fulvia C1969–1970Sank on 20 July 1970 following an explosion and fire in the engine room.
Anna C1971–1981Built in October 1955 at Wilton-Fijenoord, Schiedam yard in the Netherlands.
LOA 150.3m, 19.2m, DWT 10,272, Flag Panama, Class Registro Italiano Navale.
Sold in 1981 to Chaldeos Freighters Ltd and renamed Damenham.
Sold to Geofman International for demolition.
Broken up at Gadani beach on 2 June 1984.
Italia1974–1983Scrapped in 2010 at Alang as Sapphire.
Angelina Lauro1977–1979Chartered from Lauro Lines. The ship was destroyed by fire while docked in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands on 30 March 1979.
The ship later sank on 24 September 1979 while being towed to a scrapyard.
World Renaissance1977–198?Chartered from Epirotiki from 1977 until the early 1980s.[30]
Scrapped in Alang in 2010.
Danae C1979–1992Scrapped in Aliaga in 2015.
Daphne C1979–1997Scrapped in Alang in 2014.
Amerikanis1980–1984Chartered from the Chandris Line between 1980 and 1984.
Scrapped in Alang in 2001.[31]
Columbus C1981–1984Formerly an ocean liner before being converted into cruise ship.
Struck a breakwater in 1984 and partially sank, then scrapped.
Costa Riviera1981–2002Scrapped in Alang in 2002.
Costa Marina1988–2011Converted container ship. Scrapped at Alang in 2014.
Costa Allegra1989–2012Converted container ship. Withdrawn from service following an engine room fire on 27 February 2012 and Scrapped in Aliaga.[32]
Costa Classica / Costa neoClassica1991–2018Originally Costa Classica, she received a €18 million refit in 2014 and renamed Costa neoClassica. Left the fleet in March 2018 after being sold to Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and now operating as Grand Classica [33]
Costa Romantica / Costa neoRomantica1993-2020Originally Costa Romantica Received a €90 million refit in 2012 and renamed Costa neoRomantica. The ship was sold to Celestyal Cruises and left the fleet in the end of August 2020.[34]
Costa Playa1995–1998
Costa Olympia1996 intendedOriginally ordered for Costa Cruises and was to be the sister ship of Costa Victoria. Its construction was halted following the financial collapse of Bremer Vulkan shipyard. The unfinished hull was sold to Norwegian Cruise Lines and was completed as Norwegian Sky.
Costa Victoria1996–2020Sold to Genova Trasporti Marittimi in June 2020 in Piombino and after resold and Beached on 28 January 2021 in Aliaga.[35][36]
Costa Atlantica2000–2020Sold to CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping in November 2018 and transferred in January 2020.[37][38]
Costa Tropicale2001–2005Scrapped in Alang in 2021
Costa Europa2002–2010
Costa Concordia2006–2012Ran aground, capsized, and partially sunk on 13 January 2012. It was later deemed a total constructive loss and the shipwreck was later removed and scrapped in Genoa.
Costa Splendor2008 intendedOriginally ordered for Costa Cruises but transferred during construction to Carnival Cruise Line and became Carnival Splendor.
Costa Voyager 2011–2014Previously sailed as Grand Voyager for Iberocruceros. Sold in 2014 to Bohai Ferry Company and now Chinese Taishan.
Costa neoRiviera2013–2019Previously Mistral for Festival Cruises and Grand Mistral For Ibero Cruises.[39] Transferred to AIDA Cruises and operating as AIDAmira from December 2019.[40]
Costa Celebration2014 intendedInherited from Iberocruceros after its operations were discontinued. She underwent a refit and was renamed but the day before the ship was scheduled to depart on inaugural voyage, she was sold to Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.[41]
Scrapped in Alang in 2021.

Accidents and incidents

See also Carnival Cruise Line's accidents and incidents for incidents associated with the parent company's other cruise operations.

MV Bianca C. fire and sinking

On 22 October 1961, Bianca C. was off Grenada when an explosion occurred in the engine room. Two crew members died in the explosion and the ship subsequently caught on fire. Local fishermen helped rescue the passengers and crew, but as the local authorities did not have the equipment to extinguish the fire, the ship was left to burn until the British frigate HMS Londonderry arrived from Puerto Rico. The burning ship was in the main anchorage and would block the harbour if it sank there, so the Londonderry towed it to a different location where the Bianca C. sank on 24 October 1961.[29]

Costa Concordia capsizing

Costa Concordia capsized on reef

On 13 January 2012, Costa Concordia ran aground off Isola del Giglio in Tuscany. The ship capsized and partially sank, killing 32 people. In 2014, the ship was parbuckled and refloated with caissons, and in July 2014, she was towed to the Port of Genoa over a period of five days, where it was dismantled and eventually scrapped.[42] The total cost of the disaster was estimated to be over $2 billion.[43]

On 11 February 2015, the captain at the helm during the sinking, Francesco Schettino, was found guilty by an Italian court of multiple manslaughter, causing the shipwreck, and abandoning his passengers.[44] He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.[44] An Italian appeals court on 31 May 2016 upheld the 16-year prison sentence.[45]

Costa Allegra engine room fire

On 27 February 2012, Costa Allegra suffered an engine room fire and went adrift in the Indian Ocean. After several days adrift without power, the ship was towed to the Seychelles island of Desroches, but was unable to dock there. She was then towed to Mahé, Seychelles, where the passengers disembarked. No casualties were reported.

On 9 March 2012, it was announced that Costa Allegra would not return to service with Costa, and she was given to Themis Maritime Ltd ship company.[46] In late 2012, Costa Allegra was beached at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping.[47]




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  11. Faust, Mike (27 March 2014). "Ibero Cruises To Be Absorbed Into Costa Cruises". Cruise Currents.
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  15. "Costa to Build Two New Ships". Cruise Industry News. 28 July 2015.
  16. "6,000 passengers stuck on cruise ship in Italy over coronavirus fears". Retrieved 30 January 2020.
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  19. "To cruise or not to cruise. Loyalists face a dilemma". LA Times. 10 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  20. "FIRST LARGE CRUISE LINE WITH 2 SHIPS BACK IN OPERATION". Travel Off Path. 20 September 2020. As of 19 September "Costa became the first large cruise line to relaunch the operations of a second ship"
  21. "CRUISE LINES EXTEND SUSPENSIONS FURTHER INTO 2021". Travel Off Path. 9 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021. CRUISE LINES EXTEND SUSPENSIONS FURTHER INTO 2021
  22. "We are hoping to resume with the following start dates:". Travel Off Path. 9 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021. we are pleased to announce the restart of operations from Italian ports. Initially, it will be a gradual restart from our Italian ports reserved exclusively for our Italian Guests.
  23. "Five Ships to Leave Costa Fleet by May 2021". 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  24. "Carnival Announces Newbuilds for Costa, Princess and P&O Australia". 30 December 2015.
  25. "Handover Of Costa Firenze, The Ship Inspired By The Beauty Of The Renaissance" (Press release). Costa Cruises. 22 December 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2021 via
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  27. "La livraison du Costa Toscana retardée de six mois". 12 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
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  30. "Renaissance". Simplon Postcards.
  31. "Kenya Castle". Simplon Postcards.
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  33. Staff, CIN (2 August 2017). "Costa Confirms: Victoria Back to Europe, neoClassica Sold".
  34. cruise, industrynews (16 July 2020). "Celestyal Purchases Costa neoRomantica".
  35. "Costa Victoria arrivata a Piombino ma non potrà essere demolita in Italia". Shipping Italy (in Italian). 23 June 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
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  37. Mathisen, Monty (6 November 2018). "Costa Atlantica and Mediterranea Sold to New Chinese Brand". Cruise Industry News. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
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  • Ceserani, Gian Paolo; Piccione, Paolo (1998). Costa Crociere: cinquant'anni di stile [Costa Cruises: fifty years of style] (in Italian). Cinisello Balsamo, Milano: Silvana Editoriale. ISBN 8882150976.
  • Dellacasa, Erika (2012). I Costa: storia di una famiglia e di un'impresa [The Costas: the story of a family and a business] (in Italian). Venezia: Marsilio Editori. ISBN 9788831713030.
  • Peter, Bruce (2012). Costa Cruises. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608408.
  • Piccione, Paolo, ed. (2002). Costa crociere: ritratto di una flotta : storia per immagini delle navi Costa [Costa Cruises: portrait of a fleet: picture story of the Costa ships] (in Italian). Cinisello Balsamo, Milano: Silvana Editoriale. ISBN 888215386X.
  • Piccione, Paolo; Fochessati, Matteo (2003). Crociere nell'Arte: arte a bordo delle navi Italiane [Cruising into art: art on board Italian liners] (in Italian and English). Genova: Tormeno. ISBN 8884800595.
  • Piccione, Paolo; Ceserani, Gian Paolo; Palazzini, Fiora Steinbach (2008). Sessant'anni di crociere Costa: 1948-2008 [Sixty Years of cruising with Costa: 1948-2008] (in Italian). Cinisello Balsamo, Milano: Silvana Editoriale. OCLC 860565092.