Costa Smeralda resumes cruise holidays

LNG-fuelled Cruise ship Costa Smeralda (IMO 9781889) will sail from Italy on October 10th as the European cruise sector continues a very slow return to operations The ship will be sailing on a one-week itinerary, with a total of five cruises scheduled, from October 10th to November 7th, calling only at Italian ports.

From November 14th it will resume its one-week itinerary from Savona to Italy, France and Spain Cruise will run until November 7th. The vessel will then sail to Messina for excursions to Mount Etna and Taormina, before heading to Civitavecchia which will enable passengers to visit Rome and Tarquinia. It is the third Costa Cruises vessel after the 2010-built, 92,720 gt Costa Deliziosa (IMO 9398917) and 2014-built, 133,019 gt Costa Diadema (IMO 9636888) to resume sailing since Covid-19 halted operations.

Antigen swab test for guests and crew before embarkation, temperature checks, specially chosen excursions based on their safety, physical distancing and a reduced number of passengers are among the measures in place.

The Smeralda was delivered at the back-end of 2019 by Finland’s Meyer Turku shipyard. Although it has a capacity of 6,552 passengers in normal times, it will be carrying far fewer under the current cruise ship Covid-19 protocols.

The first call on the itinerary is Savona, then La Spezia, followed by Cagliari and Naples. The last two destinations on the itinerary are Messina and Civitavecchia. Excursions will be offered to passengers from all of the ports of call.

Key new protocols include swab tests for all guests and crew before embarkation, temperature checks while disembarking and returning to the ship, visits to destinations only on protected excursions and physical distancing onboard and at the terminals. In addition to a reduction in the number of passengers embarked, the enhanced protocols include new ways of using onboard services, improved sanitization and medical services, and the use of protective face masks when necessary.

Meanwhile, The Costa NeoRomantica has been officially renamed as Celestyal Experience (IMO 8821046) by Celestyal Cruises after purchasing the vessel from Costa Crociere. Its first cruise is due to start next March 6th, from Piraeus, with calls in Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus and Rhodes. From April 3rd it will offer one week cruises with calls at Athens, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Milos, Mykonos and Kuşadasi.

2019-built, Italy-flagged, 185,010 gt Costa Smeralda is owned and managed by Costa Crociere of Genoa, Italy. ISM manager is Carnival Maritime GmbH. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (Americas Syndicate) on behalf of Costa Crociere SpA. It is entered with Gard AS on behalf of Costa Crociere SpA.

1993-built, Cyprus-flagged, 56,769 gt Celestyal Experience is owned by Lander Shipping care of manager Optimum Shipmanagement Service of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with West Of England (Eastern Claims team) on behalf of Lander Shipping Inc.