CruiseCarnival Corp. introduces Costa by Carnival in the US, harnessing two Costa ships with Carnival guest experiences, to address capacity issues.

Carnival cruisers about to get a dose of the sweet Italian life

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The Costa Firenze will be departing from Long Beach, California, from spring 2024.
The Costa Firenze will be departing from Long Beach, California, from spring 2024. Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Corp. is introducing Costa by Carnival, with plans to pair the ambience of two of Costa's Italian-designed ships with Carnival's service, food and entertainment and introduce the product in the North American market next year.

The 5,260-passenger Costa Venezia will sail out of New York in the spring of 2023 while its sister ship, the Costa Firenze, is expected to sail a year later out of Long Beach, California, in the spring of 2024. The ships are both among Costa's newest vessels, delivered in 2019 and 2021, respectively, and are Vista-class ships, which Carnival fans will recognise as sisters to the Carnival Vista, Horizon and Panorama.

Not only is Costa's European market a challenging environment due to lingering complications from the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, Carnival executives said during a Q2 earnings call last month, but Carnival Cruise Line needs to build capacity after shedding six ships since 2020 as part of Carnival Corp.'s strategy to dispose of its oldest and least efficient ships. So far, the company's nine brands have lost 24 ships.

"We're reallocating to brands that have stronger demand, that are in a stronger position," Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald told investors. "That's one of the beautiful things, our assets are mobile."

Separately, Carnival Cruise Line will also absorb the Costa Luminosa into its fleet, renaming it the Carnival Luminosa this November and sailing in Australia until next year's Alaska season.

Donald described the moves as a "rightsizing" for Costa in a complicated European environment. Also a challenge for Costa is lingering pandemic fallout in China, where much of the brand's capacity was based in 2019, said CFO David Bernstein.

"With that market at the moment closed, rather than take all of that capacity and put it in Europe, we created a new market toward the Carnival guests which we think will expand the market here in North America, and we'll be in a much better position overall," he said.

Adding the Costa ships to the U.S. market helps Carnival Cruise Line rebuild capacity after shedding six of its 1990s-built Fantasy Class ships since 2019. In that time, Carnival has added its largest ever ship to its fleet, the Mardi Gras.

Source: Travel Weekly

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