LNG-powered Costa Smeralda joins Costa Cruises fleet

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Costa Cruises has taken delivery of Costa Smeralda, the brand’s first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The handover ceremony was held at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland, where the new flagship was built.

Costa Smeralda becomes Carnival Corporation’s fourth new ship of 2019 and one of two that can be powered in port and at sea by LNG. The second Costa Cruises LNG vessel, Costa Toscana, is currently under construction at Meyer Turku and scheduled to be delivered in 2021.

“Costa Smeralda will be a further boost to the use of LNG in cruise ships, a technology our company has pioneered in the cruise sector,” said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “It is an exciting evolution in maritime transport, as it guarantees a significant reduction in our environmental impact.”

Costa Smeralda is an integral part of the strategic plan for carbon footprint reduction, defined by Carnival Corporation’s 2020 sustainability goals. In 2017, the company achieved its 25% carbon reduction goal three years ahead of schedule, and is on track with its nine other 2020 sustainability targets for reducing its environmental footprint while enhancing the health, safety and security of its guests and crew members, and ensuring sustainable business practices among its nine brands, business partners and suppliers.

Following the delivery of Costa Smeralda, and the launch of AIDAnova at the end of 2018 as the world’s first cruise vessel to be powered by LNG, Carnival Corporation has an additional nine next-generation LNG-powered cruise ships on order, with expected delivery dates for these new ships between 2020 and 2025.

The introduction of LNG to power cruise ships supports the company’s environmental goals and improves overall air emissions with the virtual elimination of sulfur dioxide emissions (zero emissions) and a 95-100% reduction in particulate matter. The use of LNG also significantly reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. Beyond LNG-powered cruise ships, the company is also using Advanced Air Quality Systems on board its ships and promoting the use of shore power.

Costa Smeralda incorporates a series of other technological innovations designed to support environmentally friendly operations, such as onboard desalination systems that allow the ship to source its daily water requirement directly from the sea. The ship also employs LED lights, recovers the heat generated by the engines, has a hull designed to reduce frictional drag, and features elevators that recover energy by regenerating it into the ship’s electricity system.

Costa Cruises is eliminating single-use plastic products for most catering purposes on board its ships and replacing these with alternative materials. Fully separated waste collection and recycling of materials, including plastic, paper, glass and aluminium, will also be part of an integrated approach designed to support circular economy projects.

The brand’s 4GoodFood programme, dedicated to reducing food waste and recovering surpluses for social purposes, will also be implemented on Costa Smeralda. In addition, the new ship’s Laboratorio del Gusto (LAB) restaurant blends entertainment with food preparation while engaging customers on food sustainability.

“Costa Smeralda is a significant product innovation as well, with Italian hospitality remaining a fundamental and distinctive element of our brand, able to enchant and excite not only new cruise passengers but also more experienced ones,” said Palomba.

Named to honour the Emerald Coast of Sardinia, Costa Smeralda is the result of a creative project led by hospitality designer Adam D Tihany, with the overall aim of immersing guests in experiencing Italy. Tihany worked with a pool of four architecture firms, commissioned to design the various areas of the ship. All of the furnishings, lighting, fabrics and accessories are made in Italy, including many designed specifically for Costa Smeralda by 15 partners representing Italian craftsmanship.

Italian design also features on board in the Costa Design Museum (CoDe); the Solemio spa; various entertainment areas, including the Colosseum featuring screens designed for high-tech shows; themed bars in collaboration with major Italian brands; and 16 restaurants and ‘food experience’ areas, including a new restaurant for families with children.

Having left Finland, Costa Smeralda is set to refuel with LNG in Barcelona on 18 December, and make subsequent calls to Marseille on 19 December and Savona on 20 December, as part of three presentations with travel agents. On 21 December, Costa Smeralda will depart Savona for its maiden voyage, a week-long cruise calling on Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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