Costa Atlantica to Homeport in Shenzhen for 2018

Costa Atlantica

Costa Crociere is making a big deployment move in China and announced earlier this week the Costa Atlantica will now homeport in Shenzhen starting in late January and continuing for the rest of 2018.

The move will help strengthen the company’s position in Southern China, according to a press release.

“The Southern China market is an important part of Costa’s strategic plan in China,” said Mario Zanetti, president of Carnival China. “In recent years, Costa has opened several routes, including sailing from Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen”

Starting on Jan. 28, the ship will launch its new program, offering a variety of itineraries, with six-day cruises to Japan, six-day cruises to Vietnam and six-day cruises to the Philippines.

Compared to other companies offering cruises in China, this Costa deployment features slightly longer itineraries. Most cruises offered in the Chinese market are four to five days.

Japan itineraries include two port calls, either Okinawa and the Yaeyama Islands or Okinawa and Miyako Island.

Shenzhen opened its new Prince Bay homeport facility last July and has since seen 118 cruise ships and 159,000 passengers, according to a statement.


MSC Cruises North America’s Roberto Fusaro

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MSC Meraviglia
MSC Cruises recently named Roberto Fusaro, long-time manager of its South America division, to be president of MSC Cruises North America after naming the current head, Rick Sasso, as chairman of the division. Fusaro spoke to senior editor Tom Stieghorst about his new position.

Q: Where were you born? Where did you go to school?A: I was born and raised in Argentina, in Buenos Aires. I majored in accounting and I worked on what in the U.S. would be a CPA. I worked at an accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, for a while. And then I transferred to Chicago with that firm and at the same time … I did my MBA at the University of Chicago.

Q: After Arthur Andersen, did you join the cruise industry?

A: Actually, after I left Chicago, I was working for a holding company in Milan. And Costa Crociere was looking for a CFO for a joint venture they were doing in South Florida [in 1993]. The company was called American Family Cruises. … This was my first experience with the cruise industry. I didn’t know about the industry then; I was just a finance guy. Unfortunately, the execution was very poor, so Costa decided to wind down the company after a few months, and they offered for me to go to Genoa [in Italy] to run the revenue-management department. So that’s the way I started my career in the cruise industry.

Q: When you went back to South America, what did you learn when you went to work for MSC?

A: In South America I learned a lot of things. The power of offering a good value to the market. The difficulty of dealing with some government bureaucracies. Perhaps the most instructive thing I learned in South America was the value of a private company. The difference in working for a company like MSC is having the cellphone [number] of the CEO and being able to call him at any time with a proposal, and after two or three questions he’ll give me the green light to go ahead. That was invaluable. I don’t think that MSC would have grown as it did in South America if we had to do a 10-page report to deploy more capacity. The decisions were made very quickly, and the company was very responsive to the needs of the market, and I think that’s what makes MSC different.

Q: What do you think is your strength as a manager?

A: I think my strength is in developing people and helping them to try to get to their full potential. I like to think of myself as a facilitator and company coach. One of my proudest achievements is that any time I left an executive position, my second-in-command took over.

Q: What will be the division of roles between you and Sasso as MSC grows?

A: There will be the usual division of chairman and president. Rick will look after government issues, and I will run the company on a day-to-day basis. I will have the luxury of having such a legend of the industry as a privileged adviser on major issues, but the decisions, good or bad, will be my responsibility.

Q: In the past, MSC has had some favorable terms for travel agents. What can they expect in this area?

A: We’re always going to do what’s best for the business, the company and the partners. We live by our travel agent partners and recognize that they are critical to our success. We won’t be able to get to 5 million passengers without their help. So we will continue to prioritize our partners and make it as easy as possible to work with us

Costa Concordia – Four Years After The Tragedy

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January 13 marks the fourth year of the tragedy that took the life of 32 innocent cruise passengers after the Costa Concordia sunk off the coast of Italy.

The gigantic wreck of the cruise ship that had been lying on a rock off the island of Giglio is gone now. For the past seven months, the remains of the ship have been gradually dismantled and sent for recycling in a shipyard and a few days ago the huge support to keep the ship afloat were removed.

But the image of Concordia will remain for a long time in the history of the Tuscan island and the Italian Navy.  The disaster that tore thirty-two lives, injured 157 will possibly stay forever in the mind of the survivors and the families that lost their loved ones.

As for the ship’s captain – Francesco Schettino, also known as Captain Coward – he was sentenced on 11 February 2015 to 16 years in prison, however, the sentence is not yet in effect and the ‘brave’ captain is giving interviews and cashing income from world-famous magazines such as GQ.

Even today many cruise ship passengers that survived the tragedy await for compensation for property left on board and lost when the ship sunk. Money in no way can reduce the grief but it was something that the cruise line owed to the people.

“Four years later Costa Crociere has yet to compensate the huge damage ” shared Mara Parmegiani, a journalist, writer and fashion expert that was on board the Concordia during the disaster. “The legal department had assured me that by the end of 2015 I would be notified how the refund will be processed but then no one contacted me further on. Besides my case, there are other outstanding of important value, like that of a jeweler. “

The fashion expert was on board with his precious collection of vintage clothes, as part of an Ambassodor of Fashion Made in Italy display. Glamorous dresses made ​​by the founders of high fashion – the sisters Fontana Valentino, by Antonelli to Ferré, to Gattinoni, Egon Furstenberg and Gay Mattiolo were showcased.

A huge loss,but just from an economic standpoint, which in no case comparable to the psychological and emotional hardships that still disrupt the daily life with frequent panic attacks of the survivors. Among the most moving memories was the one of the small Daiani, the five-year old child whose little body was fished out a few days later by the rescuers.

“The memory comes back constantly before my eyes, I met her just before she died, she was in the arms of her dad on the deck packed with people; she looked at me, recognized me and gave me a pat. I was initially surprised, then I pulled out a little key ring with a teddy bear filled with rhinestones and I gave it to the girl who smiled at me and kissed me. I think Iit was her last smile “, one of the survivors shared.