A second Costa Cruises ship has returned to service in the Mediterranean with a focus on the Liguria region of Italy.

Costa Diadema is the second vessel in the Italian Carnival Corporation brand’s fleet to resume sailings as operations are gradually ramped up following Covid-19 lockdown.

The ship is running an itinerary from Genoa initially for Italian passengers only to Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cagliari and La Spezia.

Costa’s cruises sailing after September 27 will be available to other European passengers citizens who are residents in countries listed in the most recent decree from the Italian prime minister.

Around 80 calls are planned for the Liguria region of north-west Italy until the end of the 2020-21 winter season.

Savona will be the homeport for flagship Costa Smeralda from October 10.

The company’s first vessel powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) will be running one-week cruise holidays in the Western Mediterranean.

Costa Diadema will also be moving to Savona from November for 12-day cruises to the Canary Islands and 14-day itineraries to Egypt and Greece.

New ship Costa Firenze is due to make its debut on December 27, calling at Genoa and La Spezia every week.

La Spezia will also see the arrival of AIDAblu, operated by Costa Group’s German brand AIDA Cruises, between October 22 and mid-December on week-long sailings.

Costa’s return follows rival MSC Cruises spearheading the resumption of sailings from Italy.

Costa requires passengers to have temperature and swab tests and must submit a health questionnaire. Crew members are required to take molecular swab tests at intervals and undergo a 14-day quarantine prior to embarking. Crew will also have monthly tests.

On board amenities and entertainment have been redesigned based on safety protocol procedures alongside physical distancing enabled by reduced capacity.

The changes include repeat performances of live shows for smaller audiences; a switch from buffet restaurants to seated dining; reduced capacity and minimum distance between tables in the theatre, show lounge, bars and restaurants; staggered entrance for some facilities such as the spa, pools and childrens’ club with a limited number of people allowed in at any one time.

Costa Group chief executive Michael Thamm said: “At last Costa’s cruises are back in Genoa and Liguria, which has been our home for over 70 years.

“We’re setting sail again gradually and responsibly, with safety protocols that are unrivalled in the tourism industry. The initial response from our guests has been most encouraging.”

He added: “We have a responsibility to turn this difficult situation into an opportunity to come back stronger than ever, and to continue to develop the tourism and economic ecosystem of the destinations.

“We want to do it in close co-operation with all our stakeholders and we believe that Liguria has a leading role to play with us in becoming a model for others to follow based on four cornerstones: state-of-the-art infrastructures, like the new passenger terminals in Genoa and La Spezia; sustainable innovation, to improve environmental performance in ports, such as shore power, LNG; improved destination management and tourism development to better respond to the needs of today’s travellers and expand our value creation capabilities; and support to the social needs of the community, for which we are committed through our Costa Crociere Foundation.”