Costa Cruises announced it had formed a partnership with Asian travel organizations to return Costa Serena to service as the first Costa liner in the region since the 2020 COVID-related suspension of operations.
The 114,000 GT ship has been idle for 3 years and will now return to service 6 months ahead of schedule.
Costa signed a commercial agreement with travel partners in Taiwan and South Korea for a total of 30 voyages to be operated between June-September 2023. In June, the cruise ship will operate 6 cruises from South Korea, and then from July through to September, the liner will operate another 24 voyages for the Taiwan market.
According to Mario Zanetti (Costa's President), the new voyages were "an important signal for the recovery of the industry in Asia."
“We achieved this significant result thanks to our historic presence in Asia and established relationship with local partners, as well as the recent reopening to cruising of some countries in the area."
In 2022, Costa Asia announced that with the Asian markets remaining closed it would be reorganizing its operations in the region reducing staff, and focusing on its operations in other areas. Before the COVID crisis, the company had a significant presence on the Chinese market with Costa Serena offering voyages in East Asia. Costa also built two new boats for the Chinese market but they were not finished until after the markets closed during the crisis and eventually redeployed to other regions.
Costa Serena's itineraries for the first voyages, raging between 4 and 7 days, include destinations in East Asia - Japan (Kagoshima, Sasebo, Otaru/Sapporo, Hakodate, Miyakojima, Ishigaki, Naha).
Departures are scheduled from homeports in Korea (Busan, Sokcho, Pohang) and Taiwan (Keelung).