Friday will be a big day for Costa Cruises – they are launching not one, but two new ships simultaneously at a spectacular ceremony in Genoa.
Costa Pacifica and Costa Luminosa are the ships waiting for the bottles of Prosecco to be smashed on their bows. And two ships obviously need two godmothers.
Israeli singer Noa, who sang Ave Maria for Pope John Paul in 1994, will name Pacifica. Appropriately enough, the 114,500-ton, 3,780-passenger ship is musically themed throughout, and even has an on-board recording studio.
Fencing champion Valentina Vezzali, who has won five Olympic gold medals for Italy, will name the 92,600-ton Luminosa, which carries 2,826 passengers and features a 4D cinema, roller-skating track and Grand Prix driving simulator among its entertainment facilities.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be the guest of honour, and the whole city of Genoa is getting ready to take part with parties, fireworks and concerts.
A highlight of the celebrations will be a display by the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team – Italy’s answer to the Red Arrows – and a special tribute from the Italian Paratroopers.
I shall flying to Genoa on Thursday, and I am hoping to meet Carnival cruise director and fellow-blogger John Heald – although last time I looked, he thought it was going to be happening in Trieste. I hope he finds his way to Genoa.
You can watch the proceedings online on Friday evening. Go to www.rai.tv/costacrociere or www.worldofcosta.com. I shall be posting reports and pictures here as soon as possible.