Costa Smeralda has passed her propulsion test as part of her comprehensive sea trials, marking the next major milestone in her construction.
After several delays caused by her LNG-powered propulsion plant, the mega cruise ship, the second of its kind in the Carnival Corporation fleet, and the first for Costa Cruises, is now on track for delivery by December 21st, 2019.
During the sea trials the ship carried out a series of tests to verify the correct operation of systems, equipment and engines with LNG propulsion, giving the shipyard Meyer Turku and Costa Cruises officials reassurance that all is working as it should.
“The fueling of cruise ships with LNG is an innovation in which we were the first to believe five years ago, when we ordered Costa Smeralda, setting an example for the sector, which has since been followed by other companies,” said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises.
“It is a safe and reliable technology, which is currently the most effective and feasible solution to ensure a significant reduction in the environmental impact of cruise ships in port and at sea,” he added.
Costa Cruises’ sister brand AIDA Cruises (also part of the Carnival Corporation) was the first cruise line to put the Excel-class LNG-powered mega ship into service with AIDAnova. Additional orders for the same class of ship have been made by Carnival for its P&O and Carnival Cruise Line brands.
P&O’s Iona and Carnival’s Mardi Gras will be the first of Costa Smeralda’s and AIDAnova’s sister ships to enter service as part of a multi-ship order with Meyer Turku (part of the Meyer Werft group of ship builders).
Costa Smeralda is now back at the Meyer Turku shipyard for her final interior fit out.
Her maiden cruise will depart Savona on December 21st, a week-long roundtrip itinerary visiting Marseilles (Sunday), Barcelona (Monday), Palma de Mallorca (Tuesday), Civitavecchia (Thursday) and La Spezia.
Costa Smeralda will sail this itinerary until at least May, 2020, according to Costa Cruises.
At 182,700-gross tons and carrying 5,224 passengers at double occupancy, Costa Smeralda is the largest cruise ship ever built for the Italian cruise line.
While Carnival have confirmed that sister ship Mardi Gras will feature the world’s first roller coaster at sea, as well as the popular SkyRide attraction and a huge play park for kids and families, comparatively little has been announced about Costa Smeralda thus far.
The line has said the cabins will be designed by Milan-based architectural studio Dordoni Architetti, one of four commissioned to design the ship.
The overall design will be led by Adam D. Tihany, who has worked on numerous ships including Celebrity’s Solstice class and Seabourn Encore and Ovation.
The designs will be based on Italian cities with each deck represented by a well-known destination and cabins will feature a photographic panel with an embedded television depicting an Italian city view.
Ensuite walls will be cladded to look like marble and a full height window in the shower will be designed to create the feel of more space and improve lighting.