Costa Cruises (Italian: Costa Crociere S.p.A.) is a British-American owned Italian cruise line, based in Genoa, Italy. Founded in 1924, the company originally operated cargo ships, until the introduction of passenger services in 1947, with regular services between Italy and South America. The company later converted its entire fleet to full time cruising, and as an independent company became one of the largest cruise operators in Europe. Acquired by Carnival Corporation in 2000, Costa Cruises is now one of eleven brands operated by Carnival Corporation & PLC. Today, as Costa Cruises Group, the company is one of the main operating companies in the Carnival group, with executive control of the groups activities in Europe. The company is responsible for operation of Costa Cruises in Italy, AIDA Cruises in Germany and Ibero Cruises in Spain. AIDA was previously a subsidiary of P&O Princes Cruises PLC, being transferred to Costa following the merger of Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess in 2002. Ibero Cruises is a new brand, created in 2007 as a joint venture between Carnival Corporation and Orizonia Group.