The UAE’s position as the hub – and most popular destination - for cruise ships in the Middle East will be consolidated next month with the arrival of a new state-of-the-art luxury liner on its maiden voyage.
And the arrival in Dubai of Costa Deliziosa, the 15th vessel to join the fleet of Costa Cruises, will strengthen an exciting partnership between Europe’s number one cruise company and Emirates airline, with the firms geared for an expected surge in cruise tourism in the region.
Emirates and Costa Cruises will be at the forefront as the rapidly emerging industry is bolstered further this month when the new Dubai Cruise Terminal becomes fully operational, with a capacity to handle four ships simultaneously.
Costa Deliziosa, along with sister ships Costa Luminosa and Costa Europa, expect to dock in Dubai 32 times during the 2009/2010 winter season and Emirates will play a pivotal role in connecting holidaymakers with their cruise liners.
The airline - which will fly to 25 European destinations in 2010 after announcing the addition of Madrid, Prague and Amsterdam to its network - shares the same commitment to service excellence as Costa Cruises and will ensure many of their guests begin their dream holiday in style.
Costa Cruises, Italy’s largest tourism group, expects this season to bring 140,000 visitors to Dubai – with many flying in with Emirates from France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK – and is confident of delivering a significant contribution to the tourism industry.
Antonio de Rosa, Costa Cruises VP Cruise Operations, said: “We were the first major operator to believe in the UAE as a cruise destination and are proud of the economic benefits we are bringing to the region. We predict the number of guests cruising to Dubai with us will increase by 40%, with an estimated boost of Dhs 74 million for the city in the winter of 2009/10.”
And Fabrizia Greppi, Costa Cruises VP Corporate Marketing and Communication, welcomed Emirates’ commitment to Costa Deliziosa event as well as developing the Middle East ’s burgeoning cruise industry.
“We are excited to have a world-class airline partner on board for this unforgettable event,” said Greppi. “We want the best for our guests and I have no doubt they will be treated to the same level of luxury that they will enjoy on the Costa cruise ships.”
Richard Vaughan, DSVP Commercial Operations Worldwide for Emirates, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Costa Cruises to give their guests the best possible start to what for many will be the trip of a lifetime.
“With an extensive flight schedule to cities throughout Europe, we can unite Costa cruise ships with passengers travelling from their key market, as well as give them the opportunity to attract guests from many of the other countries in our network of more than 100 destinations.
“Cruise tourism has been identified as a key growth segment and we are very excited at the long-term benefits that this partnership can bring to both Emirates and Costa Cruises, not to mention the tremendous boost this gives to the tourism industry in the region.
“Emirates is dedicated to the development of Dubai as an international tourism hub and, with the ships also stopping in Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Oman and Bahrain, we are delighted to be playing a role in the growth of a sector which will reap rewards for businesses throughout the region.”
The Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa, which can both accommodate almost 3000 travellers, will operate a seven-day itinerary, starting and finishing in Dubai, with one-day stops in Oman, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.