Costa Smeralda delayed again, inaugural voyage will now be a Christmas Cruise

Costa Cruises has been forced to announce for a second time that the delivery date for its new LNG-powered mega-ship Costa Smeralda has been pushed back to the end of the year.

“Costa Cruises has unfortunately been notified by the Finnish Meyer shipyard in Turku of a further delay in the construction of its new flagship Costa Smeralda,” the Italian cruise line announced via Facebook.

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“As a result of this delay, the first Costa Smeralda cruise will depart from Savona on December 21st, 2019,” the statement added.

The itinerary remains unchanged with port calls in Savona, Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma de Majorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia, according to the line.

Costa Smeralda will sail this identical cruise itinerary weekly until May 16th, 2020.

While the delay in the delivery of Costa Smeralda is out of the cruise line’s control, it didn’t stop many passengers from venting their frustration at the hassle and expense of re-arranging hotel and flight bookings.

“We are very sorry and are arranging to inform the travel agencies and the guests booked on departures with the Costa Smeralda before December 21st 2019,” Costa added.

Costa Smeralda departed on her sea trials earlier this month

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The ship was originally scheduled to be handed over at the end of October, but that was delayed by the shipyard Meyer Turku until November earlier this year. Now the ship is expected to be handed over in late December.

“With its new cruise ship LNG propulsion system and … its size of 180 000 gross tons it is much larger than the recently built ships at Turku shipyard,” Meyer Turku said back in September when announcing the first delay.

The ship sailed her first sea trials earlier this month, suggesting that some snags with her performance may have been noticed and are now being rectified during the delay.

The Meyer group of shipyards have been contracted by Carnival Corporation (the owners of Costa Cruises) for the construction of several 180,000-gross ton LNG-powered cruise ships, including the much-hyper Mardi Gras for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Only one such vessel, AIDAnova, has been delivered thus far, and she too faced delays. AIDA Cruises has placed additional orders for the ship type, with the first steel cut and the keel laid recently for a sister ship AIDAcosma.

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