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Costa charters Costa Europa for Thomson Cruises (see also Latest News story below)

The 54,800-ton Costa Europa, which has a total guest capacity of 1,830 and is currently operated by Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s number one cruise line, is set to join the fleet of the English company Thomson Cruises on a bareboat charter starting in April 2010.

By means of a sale and purchase deal with a third party entity, to be executed by Costa on April 2010, the vessel will be chartered to Thomson Cruises for a period of 10 years. Under the terms of the agreement, the British cruise operator also has an option to purchase the ship.

Guests who have already booked a Costa vacation on the Costa Europa leaving on or after April 2010 will be offered an 11-night cruise with a similar itinerary on the Costa Mediterranea, departing from Savona, with the first sailing on May 4, 2010. The Costa Europa joined the Costa fleet in 2002. She was one of the first ships to operate on regular cruises in the Arabian Gulf, with departures from Dubai, and the Indian Ocean out of Mauritius. Costa Cruises was the world’s first cruise line to offer these two itineraries. During the 2009 summer season, the Costa Europa is deployed from her homeport of Savona on 11-night cruises to the Black Sea, Egypt and the Canary Islands. In winter 2009/2010 she will be the first cruise ship to offer an exclusive new 18-night itinerary from Savona to Dubai and Dubai to Savona via the Red Sea.

Despite the charter of the Costa Europa, there is no stopping the growth of the Costa Cruises fleet. The Italian Company’s fleet expansion program is in fact presently the biggest of its kind in the world, with five new ships due for delivery between this year and 2012, all built by Fincantieri in Italy for a total investment worth €2.4 billion. The new Costa Luminosa (92,600 gross tonnage and 2,826 total guests) and Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnage and 3,780 total guests) were christened together on June 5, 2009 in Genoa, Italy. In late January 2010, the Costa Deliziosa, sister ship to the Costa Luminosa, will be introduced. Two sister ships to the Costa Pacifica will make their debuts in spring 2011 and 2012.