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Custom-built for China, Costa Venezia and Norwegian Spirit are sailing away

The Costa Venezia and Norwegian Spirit mark an important milestone for Costa Crociere and Norwegian Cruise Line and demonstrate their commitment to the future of the Chinese market. The ships will enter service in March 2019 and summer 2020, respectively, once the renovations and improvements are completed.

With a length of 323 metres, weighing 135,500 gross tonnes and capable of accommodating more than 5,100 passengers, the Costa Venezia will be the largest Costa vessel for which cruises will depart from Chinese home ports.

"The Costa Venezia, our first ship specially built for the Chinese market, is the symbol of a new era for Costa Crociere and for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole," explains Mario Zanetti, President of the Costa Asia brand.

Designed to meet the specific leisure and entertainment needs of Chinese travellers, the ship will embody the passion of Italian and Venetian culture.

The ship's theatre will be inspired by the Venetian theatre "La Fenice", the main atrium will be reminiscent of "Piazza San Marco" and the restaurants will reflect the typical architecture of Venice's alleys. Costa Venezia will also have original "gondolas", made by local artisans.

Travellers will also be able to taste the pleasures of refined dinners, luxury shops and high-end Italian entertainment, while enjoying their usual comfort with a wide range of Chinese culinary specialties and Chinese-style karaoke, as well as the "Golden Party" offering many surprises and gifts to be won every two minutes.

Before arriving in China next May, Costa Venezia will set sail on two cruises from the Italian port of Trieste. Starting in May 2019, it will only welcome Chinese travellers. Shanghai will be its home port.

Costa Venezia will mark the final stage of a long list of innovations implemented by the international cruise line, which began serving the Chinese market in 2006.

As of July 1, 2018, Norwegian Cruise Line is the fourth largest cruise company in the world in terms of guest capacity for a total of 16 ships and 46,577 passengers, according to Hospitality ON data.* 

Also read: [Infography] Where the sea takes us

Everything at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was customized for the market: the art of the hull, with a phoenix, the guest list and the godfather, pop star Wang Leehom.

"After years spent carefully designing this amazing vessel, my team and I are both proud and thrilled to finally christen the world’s first cruise ship custom-designed for the wonderful people of China," said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, at the June 2017 event.

In July 2018, the cruise company announced a series of changes that will see Norwegian Joy's 3,883 passengers leave China for the more lucrative waters of Alaska. The ship will be replaced by a much smaller vessel that will sail on a seasonal basis.

With the desire to serve the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Cruise Line will deploy the Norwegian Spirit in the region, a boat that can accommodate 2,000 passengers.

Before its arrival, the Norwegian Spirit will undergo a complete renovation as part of The Norwegian Edge, an investment programme that defines a new level of excellence for the Norwegian brand and encompasses the entire passenger experience. Thus, Norwegian Cruise Line will have no ships in the country for about a year.

"China is a good market. But it's not as good as Alaska," said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of the Norwegian Cruise Line. "In this sector, especially when you're not the biggest, we can be a little more opportunistic in how we deploy the fleet."

In February 2020, its trip from Europe to Asia will include several exclusive itineraries with brand new stops for Norwegian Cruise Line, including South Africa, Mauritius, the Seychelles and the Maldives.

As of July 1, 2018, Costa Crociere is the third largest cruise company in the world in terms of guest capacity for a total of 14 ships and 48,700 passengers, according to Hospitality ON data.*

* Ranking by number of available lower berths (at double occupancy) 

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