New Book: Sixty Years of Cruising with Costa

240 pages, five chapters in Italian and English, an exceptional collection of photographs and illustrations:  Costa Cruises has produced a special book to commemorate its first sixty years of activity, six decades during which it has taken “Italian made” excellence and Costa style and entertainment around the world.

The book is available (retail price 30 euros) on board the ships of the Costa fleet, at major Italian bookshops, on the Silvana Editoriale website ( and at some specialist bookstores abroad.

Sixty Years of Cruising with Costa, edited by Paolo Piccione and Fiora Steinbach Palazzini and published by Costa together with Silvana Editoriale, is a valuable account of the history of the business, shipping and life on board, and also provides a revealing overview of the changes in Italian society from 1948 to 2008.

The book will be showcased by means of special promotional activity being arranged across Italy.  Starting in September, Sixty Years of Cruising with Costa will be given a dedicated shop window in  one major bookstore in each of five Italian cities, including Milan, Genoa and Turin.  The shop windows will be dressed in honor of the history of Italy’s favorite cruise line.

The text examines the beginnings of the Company, namely the shipment of olive oil and the first regular postwar passenger services from Italy to America, and the gradual development of the cruise business, where Costa was already a pioneer as early as the 1950s, and includes the most recent innovations, which have enabled Costa to become Europe’s favorite cruise line and Italy’s leading tour operator.

The writers highlight the Company’s historic records:  the first cruises in 1952, the one million Guest bookings in 2007, the description of the finest and most famous fleet members, like the legendary Eugenio C, and the evolution of the ships’ interior design – one of the hallmarks of the fleet.  There are also sections describing how the Costa logo has changed over the years, and detailing topics linked more closely to the world of seafaring, such as the launches of the liners or the design of their funnels.  The text is enhanced by a superb selection of photographs and illustrations documenting the vessels, life on board and the cruise experience.  There are also brochures and posters from 1948 to the present day.  The volume comes complete with fact sheets for each of the 31 ships that have been fleet members at one time or another, and with a detailed bibliography, making this a genuine collector’s item.

Chapter One, “1948-55: From Olive Oil to Shipping”, tells the story of the establishment of the company trading olive oil and how this activity was soon broadened to include the transport of passengers emigrating from Italy to America.  A substantial part of the chapter is dedicated to the Anna C, the first passenger ship in the Costa fleet, which left Genoa on March 31, 1948 on her maiden voyage to Buenos Aires.  Considerable attention is also given to the dawn of liner service and of the modern pleasure cruise.

Chapter Two, “1955-65: On the Atlantic Routes”, recounts the gradual transition from traditional passenger transport to cruising, and how this change influenced the ships’ interior design.  There is also a detailed description of the Federico C, the first liner built specifically for the Costa fleet, launched in 1957, and offering facilities ahead of their time, such as air conditioning in all spaces.

Chapter Three, “1965-86: On global routes”, documents the end of liner service in the late ‘60s and the Company’s far-sighted move when it decided to concentrate on cruising as its core business, with the launch of liners like the Eugenio C, in 1964, offering futuristic amenities, advanced design and cutting-edge technology.

Chapter Four, “1986-98: En route on the funship”, continues this tale of evolution and describes the qualitative leap made by the cruise industry, with the idea of the cruise as a vacation accessible and affordable for everyone.  The establishment in 1986 of Costa Crociere S.p.A. marks a new phase in the Company’s development:  the distinctive features are fleet expansion, modern communication and mass marketing.

The final chapter, “1998-2008: The Decade of the Turning Point”, deals with recent history, which has seen Costa Cruises retain its leadership and consolidate its position as the number one cruise line in Italy and across Europe.  The cornerstones are a new approach to the market, diversified state-of-the-art ships with spectacular designs, and a new corporate philosophy based on innovation and excellence, on the fleet and on the “Costa product”, which is increasingly identified as the epitome of “Italian style” around the world.

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