‘Majestic’ newbuild Costa Favolosa set for maiden Med sailing
By Donna Tunney
Costa Cruises will launch its new flagship, the Costa Favolosa, on July 2.
When Costa Cruises launches the Costa
Favolosa in Italy on July 2, the 3,000-
passenger ship will become the largest in
its fleet, but there’s more that distinguishes
the vessel from its sister ships, according to
Maurice Zarmati, the line’s president and
CEO for North America.
Speaking of his new flagship, Zarmati
said, “Favolosa is just a tad bigger” — by
just eight cabins — “but one could refer to
it as a modern-day castle.”
Costa Crociere Group Chairman Pier Lu-
igi Foschi and industry designer Joe Farcas
designed the Favolosa “with the theme of
the majestic palaces and museums around
Europe and the world,” Zarmati said.
“For example, the atrium was designed
to look like the Hall of Mirrors in the
Palace of Versailles, the Lido is postured
around the Forbidden City of Beijing. On
Deck 10 there are exclusive royal quarters,
as we call them, each with a Jacuzzi out on
the verandas,” he said.
The ship also sports a high-tech fitness center, with an integrated display of Internet, TV
and iPod connections.
“You see that in the U.S., but
you don’t often see it on cruise
ships,” added Zarmati. “This is a
first for a Costa ship.”
Constructed at Fincantieri’s
shipyard in Marghera, Italy, near
Venice, the $600 million ship will
depart on a three-day cruise from
Venice July 4, with calls at Du-
brovnik, Croatia, and Koper, Slovenia.
Its 11-day inaugural cruise departs from
Venice on July 7 and calls at Bari, Italy;
Smyrna and Istanbul, Turkey; Mykonos, Piraeus and Olympia, Greece; and Dubrovnik.
For the rest of the summer season, the
ship will offer seven-day cruises from Venice and Bari to Olympia, Smyrna,
Istanbul and Dubrovnik before
repositioning for a series of Jewels of the Emirates winter cruises.
The Favolosa’s 11-day maiden voyage is priced from about
$2,100 per person, but the later
seven-day sailings start from
about $1,229, reflecting some
deep discounting that’s been going on in the Mediterranean this
This fall, for instance, the Costa Romantica’s seven-night Greece and Turkey cruise, departing from Rome, is priced
from $479 per person.
President and CEO,
Price cuts also are reflected in cruise fares
in Northern Europe, such as to England,
Norway and Finland.
Price cuts in the Med, Zarmati said, are
“more aggressive” this year than in 2010.
The reason, he said, is the disproportionate
amount of tonnage there this summer and
fall. And other cruise lines have cut fares, so
Costa has to be competitive.
“If cruising was ever a tremendous value,
this year it is a fantastic value,” he said.
Will the Favolosa ever be deployed in the
U.S. for Caribbean cruises?
“There are no immediate plans, but I
wouldn’t rule anything out,” Zarmati said.
“We’d love to be able to host her in the U.S.
on a regular basis.”
Even if the ship eventually makes its way
to a Florida homeport, chances are good
that the lion’s share of passengers will hail
from Europe. The Costa Cruises fleet, said
Zarmati, attracts about 80% of customers
from Europe, regardless of where the ships
are operating. On Europe sailings, he add-
ed, the percentage of Americans is typically
in the 10% to 12% range. It’s a little higher
in the Caribbean.
Gaylord to enter
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Gaylord Entertainment will build a resort
and convention center in the Denver area,
with a targeted opening in the second half
The 1,500-room resort will be located in
Aurora, Colo., about 10 miles east of Denver.
According to Gaylord’s research of meetings markets, the Denver metropolitan area
was rated a top 10 destination by meetings
planners and is one of the highest growth
areas in the country, the company said.
“Our loyal customers who return over
and over again to our existing properties
have been telling us for some time that
they would love to be able to replicate
the Gaylord experience in a market in the
Western region of the United States,” said
Gaylord CEO Colin Reed. “We believe that
this is the perfect location for meeting that
The project is expected to cost approxi-
mately $800 million and will be funded by
Gaylord and potential joint venture part-
ners. Also, the city of Aurora has agreed
to reinvest taxes generated by the Gaylord
resort into the project, but the tax incentive
plan must be approved by local jurisdic-
tions and the state of Colorado.
“Our top priority is jobs, and this brings
over 1,800 new jobs with a great employer,”
said Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer.
The property is expected to have 400,000
square feet of exhibition and meetings
space. An atrium will afford panoramic
views of the Rocky Mountains.
Gaylord has convention hotels in Nashville and the Dallas, Orlando and Washington metropolitan areas.