Published on Friday, February 3, 2006

Costa to sail from Dubai

Costa Cruises is to become the first international cruise operator to offer cruises from Dubai.

Weekly sailings start in December and run throughout next winter on 1,680-passenger Costa Classica and AIDAcara from German arm AIDA.

The seven-day itineraries include two nights in Dubai and stopovers in the ports of Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (United Arab Emirates), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain. 

Costa Classica will depart on Saturdays with AIDAcara leaving on Fridays. 

The two ships will run a total of 25 cruises, 17 on the Costa Classica, from December 23 to April 14, 2007, and eight on AIDAcara, from December 22 to February 9, 2007. 

Costa chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, said: “The local authorities in Dubai have been involved in an important development programme aimed at making the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf a major travel destination for European tourists. 

“I believe that the arrival in Dubai of an international operator like Costa can make a significant contribution towards achieving this objective. The importance of the cruise industry locally is confirmed by the substantial investments made in the last few years for the construction of a new cruise terminal and related port infrastructure.

“We hope that in the future Dubai will become a regular destination for our cruises.”

The port of Dubai handled 13 calls by cruise ships last year, with 8,500 passenger movements. 

Report by Phil Davies 

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  • Costa's plan to sail from Dubai should send a huge wake-up call to Caribbean tourism planners!

    The decision by Costa to homeport and operate two ships from Dubai should send a huge wake-up call to Caribbean tourism planners. Clearly the already massive and growing cruise sector is looking for new areas of operation as an alternative to the traditional WINTER Caribbean market. An anticipated 70,000 passengers expected to book one of these 7 day middle eastern cruises takes a big chunk out of a 500-600,000 cruise passengers that Barbados handles a year. One of the ships, Costa Classica, was a frequent visitor to Barbados. It's time now even with current fuel prices that the Caribbean tourism policymakers sit down with the cruise industry and plans new and exiting itineraries with the region before we loose even more market share.

    By Adrian Loveridge, Monday, February 6, 2006

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