Costa Cruises, Italy’s largest tourism group and Europe’s number one cruise company, opens its fourth winter season in Dubai with the deployment of the ‘top of the range’ Costa Luminosa, the most exclusive and elegant of its cruise ships.
After entering service in April 2009, this is the first time that Costa Luminosa (92,600 gross tonnage, 2,826 Guests) will operate in the region, with the confirmation of a seven-day itinerary in the Arabic gulf, homeporting in Dubai until April 2010.
As the first cruise company in the world to operate regular cruises in the UAE, Costa Luminosa’s arrival in Dubai is followed by the exciting news that her sister ship, Costa Deliziosa, will be joining her from February 2010. On the 23 February 2010, during her Grand Inaugural Cruise, Costa Deliziosa will be named in Dubai becoming the first ever cruise ship to be christened in an Arabian city. Departing from Savona on 5 February 2010 and calling in Dubai between the 23 and 26 February, Costa’s passengers on the first leg of the Grand Inaugural Cruise will be able to attend the naming ceremony.
This winter, for the first time, Costa Cruises is deploying the fleet’s top of the range ships, Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa, to boost the Italian company’s presence in the Arabian Gulf. They will be joined by Costa Europa (54,800 gross tonnage, 1,830 Guests) which will offer a brand new itinerary with a series of eight cruises from Italy to Dubai and vice versa.
“Costa Cruises was the first and remains to this day, the major operator that believes in the value of this new cruise destination, confirming the pioneering spirit of our Italian Company,” commented Gianni Onorato, Costa Cruises President.
“The appreciation of the destination from the public is increasing. In the 2009/2010 winter season, bookings to date are in line with the increase of the offer, which was 40% more than last winter, thanks to the positioning in the area of 3 ships. In particular for the first time ever we are deploying in the same area the “top of the range” sister ships Costa Luminosa and Costa Deliziosa. Moreover, the naming ceremony of the Costa Deliziosa, in Dubai on 23 February 2010, confirms our growth strategy, while strengthening the partnership between Costa Cruises and DTCM (Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing). We are working together towards the same goal of creating an unforgettable event rich with surprise and atmosphere, combining the charming tradition of an Arabian night with the unique Italian style by Costa Cruises,” added Gianni Onorato.
Costa Deliziosa’s naming ceremony further strengthens the relationship between Dubai and Costa Cruises which started in the winter 2006/2007 season. The Italian company, together with AIDA Cruises, the German brand also belonging to Costa Crociere’s group - was the first to market regular cruises in the Arabian Gulf, turning Dubai into a major cruise destination and contributing to its growth as a tourist destination.
During the winter 2009/2010 season, Costa’s ships are expected to bring 140,000 passengers to Dubai, thanks to the presence of three ships - Costa Luminosa, Costa Deliziosa and Costa Europa - for a total of 32 calls. The estimated economic impact will be about €14 million*, coming from Costa’s guests’ direct spending, shore excursions, transfers, cruise operation expenditures and general expenditures, including food and beverage. Most of Costa’s guests are expected to come from Europe (Italy, Germany, Spain, UK and France). In addition to Costa Cruises ships also one AIDA Cruises ship, AIDA diva (69,200 gross tonnage and 2,500 total Guests), will be calling 20 times at Dubai in winter 2009/10.
The immediate success of Costa’s operations in the area started in winter 2006/2007 with Costa Classica (53,000 gross tonnage and 1,680 Guests). The new cruise destination prompted a yearly increase in capacity in the area. Costa Cruises’ passenger movements in Dubai increased from 44,000 in Winter 2006/07 to 100,000 in Winter 2008/09. Costa Cruises’ ships have generated a substantial and growing business for the emirate of Dubai and the other ports of call on the itinerary.
As per a WEFA report, one of the most respected economic information company, tourism’s direct contribution to Dubai’s GDP stands at 19.89%, while the indirect contribution totals 35%. Dubai is sailing ahead to become the ultimate cruise destination of the Middle East as the cruise industry continues to rapidly grow, with 260,817 cruise tourists predicted to visit the emirate during 2009; nearly a 25% increase on last year. In 2010, Dubai is expected to host 99 calls with over 383,000 passengers with the burgeoning cruise industry set to grow further as the new Dubai Cruise Terminal becomes operational in January 2010.
In a survey, 80% of cruise passengers in Dubai revealed that they would extend their visit to the Emirate during their next visit, and 95% said they would recommend others to visit Dubai to enjoy its all-appealing facilities, pristine beaches and unparalleled shopping options.
Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa have established seven-day itineraries for the coming winter season, consisting of two nights in Dubai and one day calls at the ports of Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (UAE), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Bahrain. Costa Deliziosa will be departing from Dubai on Sundays from 14 March 2010 to 2 May 2010; Costa Luminosa will be setting sail on Saturdays from 12 December 2009 to 3 April 2010. Costa Europa will be offering a brand new itinerary: 18-day winter cruises from Savona to Dubai and from Dubai to Savona - a unique itinerary crossing the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.