Costa Deliziosa (www.costadeliziosa.com), the latest “diamond” in the Costa Cruises fleet, called at Muscat and Abu Dhabi for the first time on her Grand Inaugural Cruise.
Costa Deliziosa was the first ship to call at the new cruise terminal in Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos, designed to ensure fast and trouble-free handling of cruise ships as well as comfort, service and safety for passengers. Its facilities include a shopping arcade, duty-free shopping, Omani handicrafts store and a cyber café.
To celebrate the arrival of the new ship and Costa Cruises’ commitment in the region, a delegation of dignitaries, including H.E. Ahmed Abdul Nabi Yousuf Macki, the Minister of National Economy, H.E. Maqbool bin Ali bin Sultan, the Minister of Commerce & Industry, H.E. Dr. Rajiha Bint Abd Al-Amir Bin Ali, the Minister of Tourism, H.E. Khamis Mubarak Al Alawi, the Minister of Transport & communication, and H.E. Cesare Capitani, Italian Ambassador in Oman, visited the vessel.
“I would like to express all my satisfaction,” said Costa Crociere Chairman & CEO, Pier Luigi Foschi, “for the debut of the Costa Deliziosa in Muscat and thank Omani authorities for their cooperation. I am also very proud that the new diamond of our fleet is the first ship to call at the new cruise terminal. Since 2006, when we started our regular cruises in the Gulf, we have been increasing our presence in Muscat. In winter 2009/10 we expect a 40% increase of our guests, with an estimated economic impact of 5 million euro for the city. The new terminal will support us for a further development of our cruises in Muscat”.
Costa’s commitment to Muscat is confirmed also for winter 2010/2011, with 33 calls and 85,000 guests forecasted. In addition to Costa Cruise ships, AIDA Cruises - the German brand belonging to the Costa Crociere’s group - called AIDAdiva (69,200 gross tonnage and 2,500 total Guests), will be calling 20 times at Muscat in winter 2009/10.
Costa Deliziosa also called at Abu Dhabi for the first time on 22nd February 2010, an occasion marked by high dignitaries H.E. Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, and Mr. Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General of ADTA (Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority), and H.E. Paolo Dionisi, Italian Ambassador in the United Arab Emirates has visited the ship.
According to current forecasts, in winter 2009/10 Costa will make 28 calls in Abu Dhabi with 65,000 guests in transit, a 20% increase compared to the previous year. The estimated economic impact will be about €4 million*, coming from guests’ direct spending, shore excursions, transfers, cruise operation expenditures, general expenditures. Most of Costa’s customers come from Europe (Italy, Germany, UK, Spain and France). A further increase is forecasted for winter 2011/2012 with 30 calls and 75,000 guests in transit coming from Costa’s ships.
As the first cruise company to market regular cruises in the Arabian Gulf – with Costa Classica in winter 2006/2007 – Costa Cruises have turned both Muscat and Abu Dhabi into premier cruise destinations, contributing to their development as tourist resorts.
In winter 2009/10, Costa Deliziosa, together with its sister ship Costa Luminosa, the “top of the range” ships, are positioned in the Arabian Gulf offering seven-day cruises with two nights in Dubai and one-day stopovers in the ports of Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (United Arab Emirates), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain. Costa Deliziosa will be sailing from Muscat every Tuesday from 16 March until 4 May 2010 and Abu Dhabi every Thursday from 18 March – 6 May 2010; while Costa Luminosa is departing Muscat every Monday from 14 December 2009 through until 5 April 2010 and Abu Dhabi every Wednesday from 16 December 2009 – 7 April 2010.
Four additional calls are scheduled during the positioning cruises of the two ships from Italy to the Arabic Gulf and from the Arabic Gulf to Italy. In addition to the two diamonds of the Costa fleet, Costa Europa (54,800 gross tons and 1,830 Total Guests) is offering a new itinerary: 18-day cruises from Savona to Dubai and Dubai to Savona – on an exclusive route crossing the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, including Muscat.
Costa Deliziosa left Savona (Italy) on 5 February, directed to Dubai with about 2,200 Guests on board. The itinerary includes calls at Civitavecchia (Italy), Port Said (Egypt), the Suez Canal, Sharm el Sheik (Egypt), Aqaba (Jordan), Safaga (Egypt), Aden (Yemen), Salalah (Oman), Muscat (Oman), Abu Dhabi (UAE).
Costa Deliziosa (92,600 gross tons and 2,826 total Guests), an emblem of “made in Italy” excellence, was delivered on the 29 January 2010 by Fincantieri in Venice Marghera’s ship yard at a final cost of 450 million euros.