Costa Cruises wants to capture the imagination of Chinese travellers with a full-blown sensory experience of Venice on board Costa Venezia, the first new-built ship customised for the China market and to be launched early 2019.
Known for its “Made in Italy” positioning, Costa Cruises has chosen Venice as the inspiration behind the design of its ship. The 135,500gt Costa Venezia features 2,116 passenger cabins and accommodates 5,260 passengers. Its inaugural Shanghai-bound cruise will visit Greece, Israel, the UAE, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan, which traces the journeys of Marco Polo between Italy and China.
“For China and Southeast Asia travellers, Italy is one of the most aspirational destinations for travel, and within Italy, Venice is the most popular and mesmerising city for visitors. That is the reason why we designed a ship around it. We want to re-capture the spirit and vitality of the city and of course provide some of the unique experiences that one would get to enjoy on land,” said Michael Ungerer, COO, Carnival Asia.
He added that Costa Venezia is testimony to Carnival’s continued confidence and commitment in developing the cruise industry in the world’s fastest-growing cruise market.
Creating lifestyle fans
One of the key highlights on board Costa Venezia is the Venice Carnival masquerade ball, which is popular with Costa passengers around the world. Ungerer emphasised that a great cruising experience is emotional and aspirational, and a Venetian ball celebrates that festive spirit and enjoyment of life. “It’s not just about the hardware; the human touch is important in creating lasting memories, and we want our brand to provide that through our service and activities,” he added.
Going beyond cruising, Costa Cruises is focusing on connecting with a lifestyle fan base that is passionate about many interests – from food, shopping and entertainment to other lifestyle interests. This will be done via strategic partnerships with lifestyle brands.
“(Italian soccer giant) Juventus is the first of such partnerships, and we will engage our passengers with innovative entertainment such as sports activities organised by the Juventus Academy and sessions with Juventus-trained coaches. Passengers can learn more at the Juventus Museum and purchase official “Bianconeri” merchandise,” shared Ungerer.
Costa Cruises’ strong Italian DNA will see them creating more of such unique on-board experiences with iconic Italian brands in future.
Ungerer also stressed that Costa Venezia’s immersive experiences will be complemented by on-board connectivity for truly seamless travel, a key criteria for the China market. “We are the first cruise brand to partner with Wechat to provide a digital solution that keeps passengers connected during their journey from the home to the port terminal, on board the ship and on shore excursions,” he added.