Earlier this month, Costa Cruise’s CEO, Michael Thamm, announced the line would absorb the smaller Ibero Cruises into the Costa brand by the end of the year. The announcement was made public at a travel agent conference aboard the Costa Luminosa earlier this month.
Ibero Cruises is Spain’s second largest cruise line, behind Royal Caribbean Ltd.’s Pullmantur Cruises, and a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. The cruise line itself, while owned by Carnival Corporation, is under the executive control of Costa Cruises. The decision to absorb Ibero into the Costa brand will allow Costa to significantly expand in the Spanish cruise market, a market Costa has been eyeing for some time.
Ibero’s transition into Costa will take place over the course of this year. Costa has stated Ibero will continue to operate under its own brand until at least the end of the year. Prior to the final transition into the Costa fleet, one of Ibero’s two ships, Grand Celebration, will be renovated and redesigned to coordinate with the remainder of the Costa fleet. The ship will be renamed Costa Celebration and has reportedly received a new hull design, reflective of the white hulls of the current Costa fleet. The Grand Holiday is expected to be either transferred from the Ibero fleet or sold before the transition is finalized.
Following the transition, Thamm states Costa will increase their calls in Spanish ports by six percent in comparison with 2013. In addition, Costa will also devote a number of docking slots in Barcelona’s port to the new Costa Diadema throughout 2015.
Costa Cruises is one Europe’s major cruise lines, sailing alongside its primary competitor, Swiss based MSC Cruises.