Today, Dubai saw the staging of the inauguration ceremony for Costa Deliziosa, the new diamond of the Costa Cruises fleet and the first cruise ship ever to be named in an Arab city. This unique event combines traditional Arabian enchantment, reminiscent of “A Thousand and One Nights”, with the unmistakable Italian style of Costa Cruises, the Italy’s largest travel group and Europe’s No1 cruise line.
The extraordinary inaugural ceremony for Costa Deliziosa is taking place during her Grand Maiden Cruise, which left from Savona on 5 February 2010. Over 3,000 guests are expected to witness the event, including about 2,200 Costa guests traveling on the first sector of the maiden cruise.
The inauguration ceremony, designed and produced by the DTCM together with Costa Cruises, features a grand inauguration event, involving not only the ship but also the new cruise terminal at Port Rashid and part of the quay where a stage and grandstand were set up especially to celebrate Costa Deliziosa. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crownprince of Dubai, and his brother His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum are attending the Naming Ceremony of the Costa Deliziosa.
“The decision to hold the inaugural event – the highlight of any ship’s early life – for the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai has dual significance,” commented Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi. “On the one hand it is testimony to our active engagement in the region, where we have more than tripled our passenger traffic in just 5 years, and on the other it expresses Costa Cruises’ pioneering spirit, which combines continuous innovation and ongoing promotion of Italian tradition, for which we are global ambassadors, thanks to our ships and our style. It means constant commitment, entailing major investments in renewal of the fleet and the continuous pursuit of ways of improving our product. It is this commitment that enabled us in 2009 – a year characterized by marked falls in consumption in virtually all areas – to carry about 1.3 million Guests on board our ships, an increase of 8% compared to the year before, in line with the increase in our capacity.”
The event is set to be both spectacular and memorable, stressing the links between Italian and Arab culture and including traditional dance and music. Guests will be welcomed with dancers performing the traditional Al-Ayala dance in costume. The Arab journey evokes Italian culture, music and art, as well as Costa’s history and role as a roving ambassador taking “the very best of Italian-made excellence” around the world. An air show with parachute jumps will introduce the official speeches by a high representative of the DTCM, by Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi and Paolo Dionisi, Ambassador of Italy in the United Arab Emirates.
In keeping with tradition, the ceremony culminates with the arrival of the godmother, to cut the ribbon and break the bottle against the bows of the ship. The Godmother of Costa Deliziosa is Mrs. Tala Dionisi, wife of the Ambassador of Italy in the United Arab Emirates. The thread of the whole show is “A Thousand and One Horse Tales’”, a superb exhibition of horses accompanied by live music. The event continues with an Arab style lunch prepared by the chef Osama, who is a household name throughout the Middle East. The ceremony is presented by: Mona Ibellini, a very popular TV presenter and broadcaster on programs on the BBC Worldwide and Al Jazeera English, who was born and raised in London but has spent virtually all her professional career in the Middle East; and Marwan ‘DJ Bliss’ Parham, a talented young music producer and entertainer from Dubai, who is currently hosting his own lifestyle show “Emarati” on national television and who is fast establishing a name for himself internationally.
The naming ceremony of Costa Deliziosa in Dubai is broadcasted live on www.costadeliziosa.com. Costa Cruise fans can join the excitement and report on the event through the company’s social channels (Facebook, blogs, Twitter & YouTube).
The inaugural event for Costa Deliziosa is taking place in Dubai under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the Italian Embassy to the United Arab Emirates, the Consulate General of Italy in Dubai and the ICE (Italian Trade Commission). It is being staged in partnership with Alpha Tours, Dnata, Emirates, Grand Hyatt, Gulf Venture, Jumeirah, Maserati and RHS (Raiss Hassan Saadi Group).
Together with her sister ship Costa Luminosa, Costa Deliziosa (www.costadeliziosa.com) is the most exclusive and innovative member of the fleet; weighing 92,600 gross tons and featuring a total guest capacity of 2,826, the new ship is an emblem of Italian-made excellence. Built in Italy’s Fincantieri’s Venice-Marghera ship yard, Costa Deliziosa is the labor of around 3,000 people, comprising both the shipyard’s own employees and those of about 500 contracted suppliers with a total investment of 450 million euros.
During winter 2009/10 and 2010/11 the Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa – Costa’s top of the range offer – will be offering seven-day cruises in the Arabian Gulf with departure from Dubai and stopovers in Muscat (Oman), Fujairah, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain.
The inauguration of Costa Deliziosa, another milestone in the development of the cruise industry both throughout the region and in Dubai, is the result of an a partnership between Costa Cruises, the first operator in the world to market regular cruises in the Gulf back in 2006, and the Government of Dubai, through the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. This enduring co-operation has contributed to the development of local tourism and will allow Italy’s No1 cruise line to clock up 150,000 passenger movements in Dubai in winter 2010/11 (compared to 44,000 in 2006/2007) with 31 port calls, generating revenue for the local economy estimated at 14 million euros* in 2009/2010.
Mr. Hamad bin Mejren, DTCM Excecutive Director Business Tourism, said: “We welcome Costa’s decision to operate out of Dubai and also perform the naming ceremony of Costa Deliziosa here on the opening day of our new cruise terminal. We hope that it will be a shot in the arm for the regional cruise industry. Costa’s decision reconfirms the potential of Dubai as the regional cruise industry hub. We are delighted with their decision and assure of our whole hearted cooperation and support to make the initiative successful. We are confident that this will help expand the cruise tourism industry in the region and simulate other cruise operators to use the emirate as a cruise hub. At the DTCM we look forward to a period of tremendous growth in high-yielding cruise tourism segment.”
Built in Italy by Fincantieri, Costa Deliziosa is the third ship delivered to the Italian company in just nine months and is part of a 2.4 billion euro fleet expansion program, with five new ships entering service between 2009 and 2012. Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica – named together on 5 June 2009 at a Guinness World Record breaking event – and Costa Deliziosa will be followed by sister ships Costa Favolosa, due for delivery in summer 2011, and Costa Fascinosa, which will make her debut in spring 2012. All five ships are Italian builds commissioned from Fincantieri and will lead to a 50% increase in capacity for the Costa fleet, Europe’s largest, which by 2012 will be 16-strong with accommodation for 45,000 total guests.