Based on double-occupancy the latest Costa entrant would carry 3,004 passengers and a crew of over 1,000. At full capacity there could be up to 3,780 passengers aboard occupying the 1,502 staterooms. The overall length of the ship is 952 feet (290.2 meters), a beam of 116 feet (35.5 meters) and a draft of over 26 feet (8.2 meters). The newer Costa ships are based on a common platform as vessels in parent company Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet. The same basic design for the COSTA CONCORDIA, originated with the CARNIVAL CONQUEST class of ships beginning in 2002.
The rapid pace of building is well illustrated by the large number of ships delivered by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyards during the decade from 2002 to 2012. For just the two brands, Carnival and Costa, the yard produced 19 cruise ships, 11 of which share similarities of design with the COSTA CONCORDIA. Among their many subsidiary companies, Costa Cruises and their affiliated Aida Cruises brand were the primary beneficiaries of Carnival’s new building largesse. The COSTA CONCORDIA entered salt water for the first time from the Sestri Ponente yard of Fincantieri near Genoa, Italy, on September 2, 2005. The floating out ceremony was somewhat unusual in that it resembled a traditional ship launch more than a mere move to the builder’s wet dock. Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison was present for the blessing which was performed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Archbishop of Genoa. An employee of the shipyard, Graziella Frisone, acted as Godmother. As she sent the ceremonial bottle of champagne against the hull, the bottle did not break. Widely regarded in seagoing lore as an extremely unlucky omen, another shipyard worker successfully smashed the bottle against the hull on the second attempt. On June 30th the largest Italian ship in history was delivered, followed by the official christening ceremony on July 7, 2006 by supermodel Eva Herzigova. Again underscoring the rapid building pace, the next ship of the class, the COSTA SERENA was floated out on August 4th and commenced her own maiden voyage in May, 2007.