CostaMediterranea sendoff with 'palazzi' theme

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NAPLES, Italy -- Never let it be said that Costa Cruises doesn't know how to bring out a ship.

Costa's latest, the 2,114-passenger CostaMediterranea, was christened earlier this month in an evening extravaganza that included a breathtaking, six-part stage show reminiscent of the Cirque du Soleil as well as a spectacular fireworks display.

In many ways, the opulence of the christening ceremony reflects the ambiance of the vessel itself, which was designed with a "palazzi" (palace) theme by Carnival Corp. architect Joe Farcus, the man responsible for the interior design of the Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet.

The ship's decor pays tribute not only to 17th and 18th century Italian palaces but also to Italian art and culture.

Farcus, who also created the interiors of the CostaMediterranea's sister ship, the CostaAtlantica, said he used Costa's concept of "Cruising Italian Style" as a "literal motivation in designing the ship."

Continuing through October, the ship will operate seven-night Mediterranean itineraries.

The CostaMediterranea will reposition to the Caribbean in November.

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