Costa Smeralda finally leaves shipyard for delayed sea trials

Costa Cruises’ new LNG-fueled cruise ship Costa Smeralda has departed the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland for her first set of sea trails.

The milestone in the new cruise ship’s construction comes after a series of delays due to her LNG propulsion system and a small fire on-board, forced Costa to push back her inaugural set of cruises.

At more than 180,000-gross tons and carrying 5,224 passengers, Costa Smeralda is the largest cruise ship ever built for Costa Cruises, and is only the second in the world after AIDAnova to be fully LNG-powered.

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AIDAnova is owned by AIDA Cruises, a sister brand to Costa under the Carnival Corporation umbrella.

Both ships are sister vessels, part of Carnival’s Excel-class platform. Built at a cost of US $950-million each, they will be deployed across several Carnival brands, including Carnival Cruise Line (Mardi Gras) and P&O (Iona).

Each ship will be designed around the identity and needs of the individual cruise line though. Costa Smeralda for instance has a major focus on the outdoors with plenty of pool areas and waterparks, and even an outdoor Piazza on the top deck.

There will be 14 different dining including pizza outlet Pizzeria Pummid’Oro, a family restaurant called Tutti a Tavola and a make-your-own-dinner “taste lab” called Laboratorio del Gusto.

Several dozen bars will include the themed Aperol Spritz Bar and Campari Bar, and for dessert lovers there’s even a Nutella Cafe.

One of Smeralda’s most unusual features will be its very own, 4,305-square-foot onboard design museum. Dubbed CoDe – Costa Design Museum, it’ll be dedicated to Italian design.

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Other features announced for Smeralda include the Piazza di Spagna, a three-deck area at the back of the ship with a glass floor that gives those standing on it the feeling of flying over the sea. Another notable viewpoint will be the Passeggiata Volare, a walkway at the highest point of the ship.

The social heart of the ship will be the three-level, piazza-like space called the Colosseo that’s lined with lounges and bars.

Like sister ship AIDAnova, she’ll also feature another piazza-like space called Trastevere at the bow with bars, a gelateria and musical entertainment.

Costa Smeralda’s first cruise will depart from Savona on November 30th, 2019. She’ll sail from Savona on weekly itineraries, departing every Saturday. The ship will also call in La Spezia on Fridays. Other calls include Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Civitavecchia.

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