Costa Cruises was the first of Carnival Corp's nine cruise brands to resume service over the weekend, beginning with an all-Italy itinerary for Italian residents only on the Costa Deliziosa.
The Costa Deliziosa departed Trieste on a seven-day cruise on September 6 that will visit Bari, Brindisi, Corigliano-Rossano, Siracusa and Catania.
Costa Group CEO Michael Thamm said that the line, which implemented a series of Covid-related health procedures onboard, said "we're continuously monitoring the situation with a view to gradually reintroducing cruising on more ships from October, with itineraries extended also to include guests from our other European markets."
Costa Cruises' resumption arrangements and procedures have been fully advised by Italian government and the relevant health authorities, as well as are in accordance with the procedures set out in the Costa Safety Protocol.
On arrival at the terminal in Trieste, with staggered entrance times by virtue of online check-in, each guest will have their temperature scanned, submit a health questionnaire and be subjected to an antigen rapid swab test. Guests will not be cleared for boarding unless and until they have tested negative. Prior to embarking, crew members have also been tested with molecular swab at intervals and been quarantined for 14 days. In addition, each member of crew will have a monthly swab test.
The protocols also allow passengers to visit ports on what the line is calling "protected shore excursions," organised by Costa. The line said that only small groups of people will travel on sanitised transport and will be subject to temperature checks before leaving and rejoining the ship.
Costa said that onboard amenities and entertainment have been redesigned to comply with its safety protocols, such as adding repeat performances of live shows to enable smaller audiences at each one, eliminating self-serve buffets and limiting seating capacity in theatres, show lounges, bars and restaurants. It also enacted staggered entrance at the spa, pools and kids clubs with a limited number of people allowed in at any one time.
The ship will also mandate mask-wearing when necessary and will introduce self-service clinical thermometer kiosks and place hand sanitiser dispensers throughout the ship.
The Costa Diadema is scheduled to launch next, on a cruise from Genoa on September 19, that also will only call at Italian ports and carry residents of Italy. That ship will be followed by the Costa Smeralda and the Costa Firenze, the company's ship currently under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera yard and which will be deployed to the Asia market in 2021.
Costa Cruises says it is currently working with relevant national and local authorities to develop the protocols consistent with the guidelines and regulations in Asia market to resume cruising in Asia soon.
MSC Cruises became the first of the large-ship cruise lines to launch service since the pandemic shutdown, also on cruises from Italy in August.