Costa Cruises, the Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc, the leisure travel company, officially took delivery of Costa Smeralda, the brand's first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the marine industry's most advanced fuel technology.
The handover ceremony was held at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland, where the brand's new flagship was built. Costa Smeralda becomes Carnival Corporation's fourth new ship of 2019 and its second LNG-powered ship.
Costa Smeralda is the first of two new sister ships for Costa Cruises that can be powered in port and at sea by LNG. The second vessel, Costa Toscana, is currently under construction at Meyer Turku and scheduled to be delivered in 2021.
In total, following the current 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 using the company's innovative environmental design, with expected delivery dates for these new ships between 2020 and 2025.
The introduction of LNG to power cruise ships is a major development that supports the company's environmental goals and significantly improves overall air emissions with the virtual elimination of sulfur dioxide emissions (zero emissions) and a 95 to 100% reduction in particulate matter. The use of LNG also significantly reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide.
"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," says Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises, which has represented Italian style and hospitality for more than 70 years. "It is an exciting evolution in maritime transport, as it guarantees a significant reduction in our environmental impact."
Palomba adds: "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."
In addition to the use of LNG, Costa Smeralda incorporates a series of cutting-edge technological innovations designed to further support environmentally friendly operations. For example, using onboard desalination systems, Costa Smeralda sources its daily water requirement directly from the sea. The ship also implements broad initiatives to minimize energy consumption, including LED lights, the ability to recover heat generated by the engines, an innovative hull design to significantly reduce frictional drag, and elevators that recover energy by regenerating it into the electricity system.
Single-use plastic products, which have been eliminated from Costa Cruises ships for most catering purposes and replaced with alternative materials, will gradually be reduced well in advance of the upcoming European Parliament directives regarding single-use plastics reduction requirements. Additionally, fully separated waste collection and recycling of materials, including plastic, paper, glass and aluminum, will be part of an integrated approach designed to support circular economy projects.
The brand's 4GOODFOOD program dedicated to reducing food waste and recovering surpluses for social purposes will also be implemented on Costa Smeralda. The new ship will feature the innovations of the LAB – Laboratorio del Gusto Restaurant – which takes an entertaining approach to involving guests in food sustainability.
Costa Smeralda is scheduled to depart Turku shipyard in Finland on December 6 for the Mediterranean, where it will be refueled with LNG in Barcelona on December 18, followed by calls to Marseille on December 19 and Savona on December 20, as part of three presentations with travel agents. On December 21, Costa Smeralda will depart Savona for its maiden voyage, a weeklong cruise calling on Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.
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.
The company and its nine global cruise line brands are committed to developing innovative solutions that support sustainability and environmentally friendly operations. In addition to leading the cruise industry's use of LNG to power cruise ships, the company is also pioneering the use of Advanced Air Quality Systems on board its ships and promoting the use of shore power.
Costa Smeralda builds on the success of Carnival Corporation's additional three ships that debuted in 2019, which include Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Panorama, Princess Cruises' Sky Princess and Costa Cruises' Costa Venezia – the brand's first ship designed and built specifically for the China market.