Costa Cruises has confirmed that Costa Serena will indeed be resuming operations in Asia this year, after previously throwing cold water on rumours of a coming announcement.
Costa Cruises announced during a signing ceremony in Dubai that Costa Serena will be chartered to local South Korean and Taiwanese cruise operators for an Asian cruise season that will be targeted exclusively at the regional market.
The signing ceremony in Dubai was held aboard Costa Toscana, the flagship of the fleet, which is deployed in the Arabian Gulf cruising roundtrip from Dubai throughout the winter of 2022/23 season.
The ceremony was attended by Mario Zanetti, President of Costa Cruises, Roberto Alberti, SVP & Chief Commercial Officer of Costa Cruises, and representatives of the ten local partners supporting Costa Serena’s new program in Asia.
“The restart of Costa Serena, ahead of her original schedule, is further confirmation of the growing appreciation of Costa cruises in all the global markets where we operate,” said Zanetti.
“In particular, the new cruises announced today are an important signal for the recovery of the industry in Asia,” he added. “We achieved this significant result thanks to our historic presence in Asia and established relationship with local partners, as well as the recent reopening to cruising of some countries in the area.”
Costa Serena will offer thirty itineraries in Asia in 2023. Six cruises, in June 2023, will be dedicated the South Korean market; from July to September 2023 another twenty-four cruises are planned for the Taiwan market.
The itineraries, lasting from 4 to 7 days, include some of the most beautiful destinations in East Asia, particularly Japan, such as Sasebo, Kagoshima, Otaru, Hakodate, Naha, Miyakojima, and Ishigaki. Departures are scheduled from the ports of Busan, Sokcho and Pohang in South Korea, and Keelung, Taiwan.
Costa Serena is an Italian-flagged ship built by Fincantieri and entered service in 2007. She has a gross tonnage of 114,000 tons and can accommodate up to 3,780 guests. Before the pause in operations, which began in late January 2020, the ship offered cruises In East Asia, with departures from China.
Although China has recently emerged from a self-imposed COVID-19 lockdown aimed at reducing to zero all cases of the virus in the country, it is unclear when cruises will be allowed to resume, or when Costa Cruises will be returning to the Chinese market.