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.
FounderGiacomo Costa 
HeadquartersGenoa, Italy
Key people
Michael Thamm (CEO)
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 fully acquired Costa Cruises after Carnival bought out Airtours' 50% interest in Costa 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]

Costa Cruises is now a part of the overarching Costa Cruises Group, the operating company that comprises of and has executive control over Costa Cruises in Italy, AIDA Cruises in Germany, and, from 2007 to 2014, the now-defunct Ibero Cruises in Spain. AIDA was previously a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, and was transferred to Costa Cruises Group following the merger of Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess in 2002.[8] Ibero Cruises was a new brand that was created in 2007 in a joint venture between Carnival Corporation and Orizonia Group,[9] and was absorbed into Costa Cruises in 2014.[10]

In 2012, the company gained international attention when Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy on 13 January 2012.[11] Thirty-two people died in the disaster.[11] 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.[12]

In February 2018, Costa announced its partnership with football club, Juventus.[13]

In December 2019, Costa will debut Costa Smeralda and become the second cruise line to operate a cruise ship fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), after AIDA debuted AIDAnova one year prior.[14] Costa Smeralda will be joined by her sister LNG ship, Costa Toscana, in 2021.

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.[15] North Americans only made up approximately between 5 to 15% of the passengers aboard most ships.[15] 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.[15]

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.[15]


Current fleet

Classica class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa neoRomantica1993Fincantieri199356,769Originally Costa Romantica

Received a €90 million refit in 2012 and renamed Costa neoRomantica

Victoria class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Victoria1996Bremer Vulkan199675,166

Similar to Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun.

Atlantica class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Atlantica2000Kværner Masa-Yards
Helsinki New Shipyard
200085,619It is scheduled to be transferred to a new Chinese cruise line in 2020.[16]
Costa Mediterranea2003Kværner Masa-Yards
Helsinki New Shipyard
200385,619It is scheduled to be transferred to a new Chinese cruise line in May 2021.[16]

Fortuna (Triumph) class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Fortuna2003Fincantieri2003102,587Identical to Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory
Costa Magica2004Fincantieri2004102,587

Identical to Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory

Concordia class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Serena2007Fincantieri2007114,500Concordia-class
Costa Pacifica2009Fincantieri2009114,500Concordia-class
Costa Favolosa2011Fincantieri2011114,500Modified Concordia-class
Costa Fascinosa2012Fincantieri2012114,500Modified Concordia-class

Luminosa class (Hybrid Spirit/Vista Class)

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Luminosa2009Fincantieri200992,700Hybrid design between Atlantica- and Vista-class ships
Costa Deliziosa2010Fincantieri201092,700Hybrid design between Atlantica- and Vista-class ships

Diadema (Dream) class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Diadema2014Fincantieri2014133,019Modified Dream-class ship

Venezia (Vista) class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Venezia2019Fincantieri2019135,225Modified Vista-class ship
Exclusively serves the Chinese market.[17]

Excellence class

ShipBuiltBuilderEntered service
for Costa
Gross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa Smeralda 2019Meyer Turku2019185,010[18]Largest ship built for Costa Cruises.

Powered by LNG.

Future fleet

ShipIn Costa serviceBuilderGross tonnageFlagNotesImage
Costa FirenzeOctober 2020Fincantieri135,225Will exclusively serve the Chinese market.[17]
Sister ship to Costa Venezia.
Costa Toscana2021[19]Meyer Turku185,010Sister ship to Costa Smeralda.

Powered by LNG.

Former fleet

ShipIn Costa serviceNotesImage
Angelina Lauro(1977-1979)Chartered 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.
Anna C I(1948–1971)Ex Prince line Southern Prince. Requisitioned as HMS Southern Prince in WW2. Scrapped after a serious fire in 1971.
Anna C II(1971-1981)Built in 10.1955 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.
Andrea C(1948–1981)Built in 1942 as the ocean ship, Ocean Virtue. Converted for passenger use in 1948. Scrapped in 1982.
Luisa C(1947–1955)Built 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 C(1947–1953)
Franca C(1952–1977)
Federico C(1958–1983)
Fulvia C(1969–1970)Sank 20 July 1970 following an explosion and fire in the engine room.
Giovanna C(1947–1953)
Bianca C.(1959–1961)Sank on 24 October 1961 following an explosion and fire in the engine room.[20]
Carla C(1967–1985, 1986–1992)
Columbus C(1981–1984)
Enrico C/Enrico Costa(1965–1994)
Eugenio C(1966–1996)
Costa Riviera(1981–1993, 1994–2002)
Costa Olympia(never entered service)Originally 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 Playa(1995–1998)
Costa Tropicale(2001–2005)
Costa Europa(2002–2010)
Costa Marina(1988–2011)
Costa Concordia(2006-2012)Ran aground, capsized, and partially sunk on 13 January 2012. It was later deemed a total constructive loss and the shipwreck was later removed and dismantled for scrap in Genoa.
Costa Splendor(never entered service)Originally ordered for Costa Cruises but transferred during construction to Carnival Cruise Line and became Carnival Splendor.
Costa Allegra(1989-2012)Withdrawn from service following an engine room fire on 27 February 2012. Subsequently sold for scrap.[21]
Costa Voyager (2011-2013)Formerly sailed as Grand Voyager for Iberocruceros. Exited fleet in 2013 and sold to Bohai Ferry Company and now sailing as Chinese Taishan.
Costa Celebration(never entered service)The ship was inherited from Iberocruceros after its operations were discontinued. The ship had undergone a refit and was renamed. The day before the ship was scheduled to depart on its inaugural voyage, the vessel had been sold to an unnamed buyer, later revealed as Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.[22]
Costa neoClassica(1991–2018)Originally 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.[23]
Costa neoRiviera[24](2013-2019)Previously Mistral for Festival Cruises and Grand Mistral For Ibero Cruises.[25] Transferred to AIDA Cruises and operating as AIDAMira from December 2019.[26]

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.[20]

Costa Concordia capsizing

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.[27] The total cost of the disaster was estimated to be over $2 billion.[28]

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.[29] He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.[29] An Italian appeals court on 31 May 2016 upheld the 16-year prison sentence.[30]

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.[31] In late 2012, Costa Allegra was beached at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping.[32]



  1. "2018 World Wide Market Share". Cruise Market Watch. Cruise Market Watch. 2 December 2019.
  2. "Company profile Archived 2010-04-09 at the Wayback Machine." Costa Cruises. Retrieved on January 20, 2010.
  3. "Dati Societari Archived 2010-12-06 at the Wayback Machine." Costa Cruises. Retrieved on 15 January 2012. "Sede legale: Piazza Piccapietra 48, 16121 Genova - Italia"
  4. Staff, C. I. N. (27 March 2008). "Costa Celebrates 60 Years of History". Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  5. Coulter, Adam (1 November 2018). "Costa Cruises History". Cruise Critic.
  6. "Carnival, Airtours Sign Costa Pact: Travel Weekly". Travel Weekly. 19 March 1997.
  7. Blum, Ernest (29 August 2000). "Carnival Corp. to buy 100% of Costa". Travel Weekly.
  8. Clark, Andrew; correspondent, transport (25 October 2002). "Carnival wins P&O Princess". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  9. Cogswell, David (8 February 2007). "Carnival to partner with Iberojet Cruceros in joint venture". Travel Weekly.
  10. Faust, Mike (27 March 2014). "Ibero Cruises To Be Absorbed Into Costa Cruises". Cruise Currents.
  11. "Concordia skipper's sentence upheld". 31 May 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  12. "Costa ship adrift off Seychelles". 27 February 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  13. Staff, CIN (6 February 2018). "Costa and Juventus Partnership Kicks Off Aboard Costa Serena". Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  14. "Costa to Build Two New Ships". Cruise Industry News. 28 July 2015.
  15. Shillinglaw, Greg (30 March 2015). "Sailing Italian Style". Travel Pulse. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  16. "Five Ships to Leave Costa Fleet by May 2021". 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  17. Staff, CIN (30 December 2015). "Carnival Announces Newbuilds for Costa, Princess and P&O Australia".
  18. "Costa Smeralda (9781889)". Leonardo Info. Registro Italiano Navale. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  19. "Steel Cut for New Costa Toscana, Set for 2021 Debut". Cruise Industry News. 30 July 2019.
  20. Myers, Robby (3 December 2018). "The History of Grenada's Bianca C Shipwreck". Scuba Diving.
  21. Dixon, Gary (3 September 2012). "Costa Allegra scrapped". TradeWinds.
  22. "Costa Cruises sells the ship and cancels the trip - The Medi Telegraph". Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  23. Staff, CIN (2 August 2017). "Costa Confirms: Victoria Back to Europe, neoClassica Sold".
  24. "Overnights and unusual destinations mark new Costa project".
  25. "Grand Mistral South America season cancelled, ship transferred to Costa".
  26. "AIDAmira Christened". Cruise Industry News. 1 December 2019.
  27. "Costa Concordia reaches Genoa's main port for scrapping after 200-mile journey from wreckage site". The Independent. 27 July 2014.
  28. "Costa Concordia capsizing costs over $2 billion for owners". Reuters. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  29. "Costa Concordia captain Schettino guilty of manslaughter". BBC World News. 11 February 2015.
  30. "Costa Concordia "Captain's Prison Sentence Upheld by Italian Court"". Time. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  31. Hannah Sampson (10 March 2012). "Micky Arison on Costa Concordia accident: "I am very sorry it happened."". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  32. Gene Sloan (9 March 2012). "Fire-damaged cruise ship Costa Allegra will not return". USAToday. Retrieved 19 March 2012.


  • 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.
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