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Carnival Corporation’s newest cruise ship, Costa Smeralda, departed on her maiden voyage this past weekend. Costa Smeralda, Costa Cruises’ new flagship, is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), a low impact fossil fuel that constitutes an environmental breakthrough for the entire cruise industry.

Costa Smeralda is the first cruise ship in the Costa fleet to be powered both in port and at sea by LNG, meaning improved air quality and protecting the environment with the virtual elimination of sulfur dioxide emissions (zero emissions) and particulate matter (95-100% reduction). The use of LNG will also greatly lessen emissions of nitrogen oxides (85% direct reduction) and CO2 (reduction of up to 20%).

Costa Smeralda is part of the Costa Group’s fleet expansion plan, with a total of seven new ships slated for delivery by 2023 and an overall investment worth over €6 billion. Of these new additions, five – including Costa Smeralda and her sister ship Costa Toscana scheduled to enter service in 2021 – will be fueled by LNG. The Costa Group was the first cruise operator in the world to introduce this ground-breaking innovation in favor of sustainability, which is set to substantially reduce the whole fleet’s environmental impact.

More specifically, the Italian cruise company intends to achieve a 40% reduction in its fleet’s CO2 emissions by 2020, some 10 years ahead of the target laid down by IMO (International Maritime Organization).

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On account of her outstanding environmental performance, which goes far beyond current regulatory requirements, Costa Smeralda has been awarded the Green Plus, the highest additional voluntary notation assigned by RINA (international certification body) to ships that are environmentally compliant.

The new flagship, which is over 180,000 gross tonnage and was built in the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland.

Thanks to the entry into service of Costa Smeralda, and of Costa Toscana in 2021, the Costa Group will further boost the economic impact generated in Italy. In 2018, this output amounted to €3.5 billion with 17,000 jobs created. In 2020 it is expected that there will be approximately 450 new hires added to the Italian employees working in the hospitality sector on the Costa fleet’s cruise ships.

Also particularly significant will be the growth in direct expenditure by guests during stopovers, with an average of €74.60 per passenger in every European port visited by the company’s ships. For example, in Costa’s main homeport of Savona, 900,000 passengers are forecast in 2020, a year-on-year increase of around 30%.

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