A rendering of Costa Smeralda at Savona's Palacroicere terminal (Image: Costa Cruises)
Costa Cruises is to manage cruise services at the Port of Savona’s Palacrociere terminal until 2044 after extending its existing concession agreement with the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority.
The agreement was signed on 14 December by Paolo Emilio Signorini, president of the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority, and Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. The ceremony was attended by Giovanni Toti, president of the Liguria region, and Ilaria Caprioglio, Mayor of Savona.
“The cruise sector remains strategic for Liguria and for the development of its tourism sector, which is a fundamental asset for the economic recovery of this region,” said Toti. “The extension to 2044 of the concession is synonymous with a wide-ranging and long-term project, which aims to enhance what is the most important cruise hub in Liguria, which is now ready to become a leader in Italy and Europe. The agreement signed today also confirms the close link between Liguria and Costa, a company with strong roots in Liguria, a company that operates and gives work in the land where it was founded and where it has been operating for 70 years.”
Costa Cruises will invest €4.5 million to help the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority to build two new finger piers and reconfigure the spaces inside the Palacrociere cruise terminal to improve passenger flow before its new flagship, the LNG-powered Costa Smeralda, begins homeporting in Savona after her christening at the port on 3 November 2019. This will be part of a larger €24 million infrastructure upgrade project, which will see the port authority deepening the seabed in front of the Palacrociere main cruise terminal quay to increase the draught.
Costa Smeralda will sail weekly cruises from Savon every Saturday between 9 November 2019 and spring 2021, calling at Marseilles, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Rome and La Spezia, Italy.
“Savona is the main homeport of Costa Cruises, where we generate an annual traffic of over 800,000 passengers,” said Palomba. “This new agreement is a further success in our fruitful collaboration with the port authority and lays even more solid and long-lasting foundations for the investments we have already decided to make to adapt the Palacrociere in preparation for the arrival of Costa Smeralda, our new flagship, at the end of 2019.”
The new agreement will help the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority meet its key aims of improving port infrastructure and catering to increased cruise traffic.
“The development of the cruise industry in Genoa and Savona is a key component of the port authority’s mission and a focal point of investment programmes currently underway to fund infrastructure projects in this thriving segment of the Ligurian ports,” said Signorini. “The port authority’s commitment has been flanked by a sizable investment programme implemented by Costa Cruises to upgrade the homeport facilities. Savona and Genoa rank amongst the Top 10 Italian cruise ports, with the National and Regional Tourist Agencies forecasting further increases in passenger traffic in 2019, thereby consolidating Liguria’s position as Italy’s premier regional cruise destination.”
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