Italian cruise ship line Costa Crociere took delivery of a new flagship liner - the Costa Fascinosa - on Sunday, hoping to rebuild its cruises' reputation after the dreadful Costa Concordia disaster in January affected bookings.
The Costa Concordia hit a reef off the Italian coast of Tuscany on the night of 13 January, killing at least 32 passengers. Investigations revealed the disaster occurred because the captain, Francesco Schettino, took the ship too close to shore. The Concordia was the largest ship built in Italy in 2006 when it started operation under Costa Cruises.
The new ship, the operator announced during a press conference on board the new ship in the Venice lagoon near St. Mark's Square, is even bigger than its ill-fated predecessor. The Fascinosa can accommodate 3,500 passengers, compared to the Concordia's 3,200. The new ship, the company added, should be ready by 2014. The cruise operator added the company had recovered from the Concordia tragedy as well as the economic crisis.
"Despite the economic downturn and the impact on consumption Costa has bounced back and booking volumes are back to the same levels recorded this time last year," Costa CEO and Chairman Pier Luigi Foschi was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The company said they would take all possible safety measures to ensure accidents like the one that happened to the Concordia never do again.
"We can't ignore the January accident. It hit us hard. We are working on safety issues," he added.
Check out photographs of Costa Cruises' new vessel, the Fascinosa, sailing in the Venetian lagoon in Italy