Costa Cruises, an Italian cruise line founded in 1948, is set to embark on its first season in Taranto. The cruise line will also introduce an appealing itinerary around the Greek Islands.
Costa Cruises in Taranto
The 114,500-ton Costa Pacifica, with a capacity for 3,780 guests, arrived in Taranto on June 3, 2023, marking Costa Cruises’ inaugural season here.
Authorities from Taranto Cruise Port have already announced that they anticipate 110,000+ cruise ship guests in 2023, demonstrating a growing trend in local tourism in this Southern Italy town, located on the coast of the Ionian Sea.
Taranto is a new cruise hub for the Costa Cruises, which currently sails 10 vessels under the Italian flag, and focuses on the Italian cruise market. The Taranto port will also host Italian Cruise Day later this year, in October, a significant conference focusing on sustainability.
With Costa Pacifica making weekly stops in Taranto until October 7, it should be a fairly busy season for the port. The success of Taranto as a cruise destination seems to be evident, as Costa Cruises has already confirmed the arrival of Costa Fascinosa (114,500 gross tons), built by Fincantieri in Venice, for the company’s 2024 summer season in Taranto.
“We are pleased to have brought Taranto onto the map of the valuable tourism we offer in Italy and in all the world destinations visited by our ships,” Mario Zanetti, President of Costa Cruises, commented.
“We want to continue working together with local institutions and operators to promote the excellence of the area and offer ever better experiences to our guests, most of whom come from abroad and discover Taranto, in many cases, for the first time,” Zanetti added.
Costa Pacifica’s June 3 inaugural call in Taranto welcomed over 5,000 guests for various activities (embarkations, disembarkations, etc.).
The official start of this year’s season featured a traditional “crest” exchange ceremony on board, attended by important figures like the Mayor of Taranto, the President of Costa Cruises, the President of the Ionian Sea Port System Authority, and the General Manager of Italian Cruise Ports of Global Ports Holding.
Costa Pacifica’s Summer Itinerary
Costa Pacifica’s summer 2023 voyages, beginning and ending in Taranto, will include a week-long journey that will feature the Greek islands and Malta.
The vessel, constructed at Fincantieri’s Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard in 2009, will visit Taranto every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In total, Costa Pacifica is scheduled for 19 Taranto visits this year, accommodating an estimated 80,000 or more guests.
Taranto will also act as a departure or arrival point for guests and serve as a transit port for passengers heading off to or arriving from other locations, notably Catania.
Costa Pacifica, constructed in 2009, underwent substantial refurbishments in 2022, introducing fresh and distinct offerings to elevate the onboard experience. A noteworthy enhancement includes the Archipelago dining venue, showcasing specially curated menus crafted by three well-regarded global chefs.
The ship’s week-long itinerary will include Taranto, Catania, Valletta in Malta, Mykonos, and Santorini—providing guests with a chance to explore the exquisite Greek islands, two exceptional destinations in Puglia and Sicily, renowned Italian regions, plus the delightful island of Malta.
Getting to Know Taranto Better
Taranto, founded by Spartan Greeks, is a city with a long history dating back to the 8th century BC, and also worth getting to know better (for cruise ship holidaymakers).
Cruise guests arriving in Taranto will have the freedom to explore the city.
Working with local institutions and operators, Costa Cruises will offer travelers a range of city-focused tours, including outings to the esteemed MarTa National Archaeological Museum, a walking tour of the old city, plus small boat tours that will take people out to learn more about the Gulf of Taranto, as well as local dolphin research, with the chance to see dolphins up close.