The Costa Atlantica and the Costa Mediterranea are back in Europe. After two years out of service in Asia and the Middle East, the vessels returned to the Mediterranean Sea in April.
Now owned by Carnival Corporation’s joint venture with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), the sister ships were previously operated by Costa Cruises.
With detailed restart plans not yet announced by the new owners, both vessels are currently anchored off Cyprus along with other Princess and P&O Australia cruise ships.
Sold to the new Chinese cruise line in late 2018, the Costa Atlantica and the Costa Mediterranea have been out of service since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020.
Cruising in Asia since 2012, the Costa Atlantica was one of the first cruise ships to have its schedule halted due to the sanitary emergency.
Following urgent guidelines issued by the Chinese government, the 2000-built vessel saw its initial cruise cancellations in January 2020.
The 2,210-passenger ship had been handed over to its new owners just days earlier, during a ceremony held in China.
The Costa Mediterranea, meanwhile, was transferred to the joint venture a few months later.
Initially set for a 2021 delivery, the vessel was used to get Costa’s Asian crew home during the early days of the pandemic.
After transporting team members to Philippines and Indonesia in April 2020, the 2003-built vessel set course to China, where it was eventually handed over to the new owners.
Built in Finland, the Costa Atlantica and the Costa Mediterranea share the design of Carnival’s Spirit-Class.
Despite the ownership change, both ships retain their original names, in addition to Costa’s colors and features.
In addition to the two existing ships, the Carnival – CSSC joint venture also intends to operate two newbuilds.
Currently under construction at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co (SWS) shipyard, the vessels use the Carnival Vista-Class platform and are set to debut in 2023 and 2024.