COSTA Cruises has announced plans to lengthen and add a 12th deck to its ship Costa Classica as part of a project to increase fleet capacity by 50%.
The construction work, which is scheduled to start at the end of 2000, will boost passenger capacity from 1,400 to 2,000. Costa Classica is currently a 53,000-tonne vessel, but following the changes it will be around 78,000 tonnes.
UK managing director Peter Richardson explained: "The company's project over the next four years is to increase its capacity by 50%. At present, it has around 360,000 berths a year, but the plan is to increase this to 540,000 berths a year."
The cruiseline's new ship Costa Atlantica is due to join the fleet at the end of May 2000, and will be carrying out a programme of seven-day cruises out of Venice next summer.
The 84,000-tonne vessel has a capacity of 2,112 passengers, and Richardson estimates that this ship alone will add around 100,000 berths a year to Costa's total capacity.
Meanwhile, the company has announced a net profit of £11.8m for the six months to March 31 2000, compared with a £680,000 loss for the same period the year before.
Revenues were £154.8m, up from £154m the previous year.
The company claimed the increase was due to factors such as a rise in operating income, a drop in non-operating expenses and a reduction in extraordinary charges.
Costa has just released its winter 1999/2000 brochure, which offers a 15% discount on cruises booked at least four months before the departure date. Previously, the lead time to qualify for an early booking discount has been six months.
South America has been added to the programme for the first time. A 13-night flycruise holiday, including an 11-night voyage out of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, leads in at £1,750 per person.
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