Costa Allegra Debuts in China

Costa Cruise Lines will inaugurate Carnival Corp.'s first service within the Asian cruise market, as it launches the 1,000-passenger Costa Allegra on new service from Shanghai on July 2. The 28,500-ton Costa Allegra will offer five-day itineraries with stops in Nagasaki, Japan and Cheju, Korea. Initially, the ship will be marketed solely to the Chinese market. The ship will move south to Hong Kong for its 2006–2007 winter program this November, offering five-day cruises with stops in Sanya, China and Vietnam's Halong Bay. Costa's goal is to reach 55,000 Chinese guests per year. An inaugural celebration in the port of Shanghai scheduled for July 2 will include representatives from the Italian and Chinese Consulates; Pier Luigi Foschi, president and CEO, Costa Crociere; and Micky Arison, Carnival Corp.'s chairman and CEO. Arison, also the managing general partner of the Miami Heat, is expected to bring the team's new NBA championship trophy to showcase on the ship during the inaugural ceremony. This past spring, the Costa Allegra underwent a 12 million Euro renovation in order to create cruise experience designed for the Chinese market. The ship's wellness center was expanded, karaoke machines were added, and a new Asian fusion restaurant was created. Costa Crociere's Asian development is being managed by the company's new Asia-Pacific division, operating from offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Over time, that division plans to market cruises to customers in more than 10 countries in the Pacific-Asian region.

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