Costa Cruises has officially christened its new flagship cruise liner Costa Diadema, which is worth $688 million (£433 million).
On November 7th, at Ponte dei Mille in Genoa’s historic maritime station, the ship was officially named and the ceremony began with a parade of the godmother – Italian travel agent Carolina Miceli – and her international maids of honour, who represented Germany, France, Spain and China.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who is the archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, blessed the ship while Ms Miceli named the vessel and helped to cut the ribbon to start the celebrations. A three-litre jeroboam of Ferrari Gran Cuvee Trentodoc spumante was opened on the bow of the ship to get proceedings off with a bang.
Fireworks and a light show made impressive viewing outside, while inside there was a gala dinner that had a special menu created by Michelin-star chef Fabio Cucchelli.
Once the christening had finished, Costa Diadema started to make its way towards its homeport – the Italian port of Savona –
until the 2015 summer Mediterranean season comes to an end.
It will take passengers on seven-night cruises that call at Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Naples and La Spezia.
The vessel weighs 132,500 tonnes, and is more than 300 m long and 37 m wide, making it quite the force to be reckoned with. Inside, there are 1,862 guest cabins and it is hoped that the view over the sea will remind viewers of an Italian resort.
In terms of relaxation facilities on board the Costa Diadema, there’s an arcade with interactive games, a three-level spa and a 500 m open-air promenade that contains restaurants, bars and cabanas.
Evening entertainment consists of the new shipboard production show Sapori d’Italia (Flavours of Italy), where a range of songs from the last 100 years will be performed by 18-year-old baritone Simone Baldazzi, acrobats Celia and Julian and the Phly Boyz.
What’s more, the masked party La Notte in Maschera finishes off the night-time programme of events.
More than 1,000 shipyard workers helped to build the vessel, along with 2,500 subcontractors and 400 Italian interior suppliers from Fincantieri’s Marghera yard.
Costa Crociere chief executive officer Michael Thamm said: “Costa Diadema is our new flagship, and she will set new standards in the European cruise industry and further strengthen Costa’s leadership in Europe. She is the best expression of our new brand positioning: Italy’s finest – its passion and modern Italian lifestyle, hospitality and elegance.”