Categorized | Cruises

Midnight spectacle in Italy as Costa Cruises names new ship…

Posted on 05 July 2011

TRIESTE, Italy — Italy’s easternmost port was treated to a night of spectacle on Saturday as Costa Cruises unveiled its newest ship, the Costa Favolosa, in an elaborate waterfront naming ceremony.


The highly choreographed black-tie event kicked off near midnight in Trieste’s grand Piazza Unita d’Italia, which overlooks the city’s harbor, and included everything from a classical piano performance by noted Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi to a resounding fireworks display.


The 90-minute extravaganza marked the first time in nearly 50 years that a passenger vessel had been christened in Trieste and comes as Italy-based Costa gears up to relaunch sailings out of the city in 2012. Trieste, notably, also is home to Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder that has constructed a number of Costa ships including the Costa Favolosa.


Dubbed a “Tribute to Beauty,” the christening event incorporated the historic buildings surrounding the famed Piazza Unita d’Italia with colorful 3-D video projected onto their walls, and it also featured a performance by a classical ballet troupe and a dramatic reading of Baudelaire by Italian theater actor Alessandro Rossi (speaking from a balcony of the piazza’s elegant Palazzo dei Governo).

The Piazza Unita d’Italia is billed as the largest piazza in Europe, and it easily accommodated the nearly 2,000 invited guests in black tie and ball gowns who watched the event from rows of chairs facing a stage along the waterfront. Thousands of local residents also looked on from behind barricades set up around the piazza. During the ceremony, the Costa Favolosa eased out of a nearby berth and glided into view on the water just behind the stage.

Doubling as one of the official celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification being held this month across Italy, the naming ceremony tugged at the heavily Italian crowd’s sense of patriotism and pride. In one particularly poignant moment, an aerial performance artist representing the spirit of Italian unity floated over the audience supported by dozens of white helium-filled balloons. As she drifted across the piazza, she neared the ground just long enough to pull up a flowing banner decorated with the red, white and green of the Italian flag, drawing gasps and applause.


Italian newscaster Cristina Parodi served as the master of ceremonies for the event, introducing a number of speakers including Costa Cruises CEO Pier Luigi Foschi and Fincantieri chairman Corrado Antonini. Also present on stage were the two top executives of Costa Cruises’ parent company, Miami-based Carnival Corp.: Chairman Micky Arison and Vice Chairman Howard Frank.


The event ended with a traditional breaking of a bottle against the hull of the ship, with Italian film star Margareth Madè serving as godmother. Madè swung a small hatchet on stage to cut a ribbon that triggered the release of a bottle of prosecco against the Favolosa’s bow. It broke flawlessly, and a lengthy and spectacular fireworks display along the waterfront followed.


The largest cruise line in Europe, Costa caters to an international clientele that includes some Americans. With the debut of the Costa Favolosa, the line now has 15 ships at sea. The Costa Favolosa is scheduled to spend the coming summer sailing seven-night voyages out of Venice to Bari, Italy; Olympia, Greece; Izmir and Istanbul, Turkey; and Dubrovnik, Croatia

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