Costa Crociere S.p.A., operating as Costa Cruises (Costa Crociere), is an Italian cruise line which was founded in 1854. The company has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc since 2000. Based in Genoa, Italy, the cruise line primarily caters to the Italian cruise market, but the company’s Italian flagged fleet provide itineraries sailing to countries globally.
Founded in 1854 by Giacomo Costa as Giacomo Costa fu Andrea, the company originally operated cargo ships, carrying olive oils and textiles from Sardinia to Liguria. In 1924, the company was passed to the founder’s sons (Federico, Eugenio and Enrico).
In 1947, passenger services were introduced with regular services between Italy and South America and the name of the company was changed to Linea C. In 1959, the company gradually transitioned into offering more pleasure holidays, with trips being offered in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean regions. Linea C proceeded to take ownership of its first purpose-built cruise ship in 1964 and went on to own 12 more ships by 1980, making the company the owner of the world’s largest fleet of passenger ships. In 1986, Linea C changed its name to Costa Cruises and became a cruise-centered business.
In March 1997, the Carnival Corporation and Airtours PLC purchased Costa Cruises for $300 million, each company taking a 50% stake in the company. At the time of its purchase, Costa Cruises had been the leading European cruise line, with an estimated market share of 19%. In the year 2000, the Carnival Corporation fully acquired Costa Crociere after it purchased Airtours’ 50% interest in Costa for $525 million. In 2002, Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises plc merged to form Carnival Corporation & plc, bringing together both companies’ assets under one corporation.
Today, as the Costa Cruises Group, the company is one of the main operating companies within Carnival Corporation & plc. The company is responsible for the operations of both Costa Cruises in Italy, and AIDA Cruises in Germany.