In an effort to support the thousands of Ukrainians displaced by the ongoing Russian invasion of their country, Costa Cruises has offered Costa Magica as temporary housing for refugees if needed. The cruise line offered the ship to the Italian government for use, as the Italian-flagged ship is currently positioned off the coast of northwestern Italy, near La Spezia.
Cruise Ship Could House Refugees From Ukraine
In a statement, the cruise line explained, “Costa Cruises is following the dramatic events in Ukraine with great concern. Our thoughts are with the people involved, including the families of our Ukrainian colleagues who are understandably concerned about their loved ones.”
“As immediate support to the needs of the people affected by the impact of the conflict, we have already donated medical supplies and medicines. In addition, we offered the Costa Magica to the Italian government as a potential temporary hub for the reception of Ukrainian refugees should the number of arrivals in Italy increase in the coming weeks as a result of prolonged conflict,” the statement continued.
Costa Magica is not currently in service, having not yet resumed passenger operations since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. The ship is available, however, and Costa Cruises added that the costs of managing the ship, including staff and meals, will be covered by the company in the initial time period of refugee housing.
According to information from Italy’s Ministry of the Interior on March 23, 2022, the country has seen 65,350 refugees from Ukraine arrive since the Russian invasion began on February 24. Rome, Milan, Naples, and Bologna the main destination cities of arriving refugees.
The Destiny-class Costa Magica has a guest capacity of 2,718 passengers at double occupancy, with a maximum capacity of approximately 3,400 guests if all berths are filled. In an emergency, however, it is possible that even more people could be housed aboard the ship, if some crew cabins are utilized.
The Governor of Liguria Region, Giovanni Toti, expressed his gratitude to Costa Cruises, though it is not yet necessary to take advantage of the offer.
“Today we evaluated the offer from Costa Cruises to house refugees from Ukraine on a cruise ship. The gigantic ship has enormous operational costs and we would not know who to house in. For the moment the world of volunteering is enough to absorb the impact, but we thank Costa Cruises for the offer,” Toti said.
This generous offer is not the only support Ukraine is receiving from cruise lines. Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation have donated generously to relief efforts, and different cruise lines have extended support to Ukrainian and Russian crew members to help keep them safe and keep them in touch with their families.
Costa Magica to Leave Fleet
Whether or not it is used to house refugees, Costa Magica will soon be leaving the Costa Cruises fleet. In June 2021, Carnival Corporation – parent company of Costa Cruises – announced that the ship would undergo drydock renovations and be transferred to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet by mid-2022.
During that drydock, Costa Magica will be renamed and will receive the new Carnival Cruise Line livery colors that first debuted with the new flagship, Mardi Gras, and are gradually being rolled out across the fleet. No further details of that drydock have been revealed, nor has any announcement been made about exactly when the ship will become the next Carnival Fun Ship.
It is possible that the drydock could be extensive and may completely change the look and layout of the ship. Similar transformations have already been done to three other Destiny-class vessels in the Carnival fleet.
Carnival Destiny was renovated to become Carnival Sunshine in 2013, Carnival Triumph was transformed into Carnival Sunrise in 2019, and Carnival Victory became Carnival Radiance in 2021.