MIAMI, FL, Dec 16 â€“ Costa, Europeâ€™s Number One Cruise Line, began its third consecutive season operating in Dubai. Both Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises, the two Costa Crociere brands that became the first lines in the world to offer regularly scheduled cruises from the locale, have increased capacity in the region for the 08-09 winter season. Costa Cruises will increase capacity by 50% with the arrival of the Costa Classica and Costa Victoria, while AIDA Cruises will almost double its cruise capacity with the deployment of the AIDAdiva, the largest ship in the AIDA fleet.
In addition, Costa announced plans to position the new Costa Luminosa 92,700-ton (2,260 double occupancy capacity) in Dubai for the 2009-2010 winter cruise season. This one-of-a-kind ship, which is currently under completion at Fincantieriâ€™s shipyard in Marghera (Venice) will enter service in April 2009 and be inaugurated on June 5, 2009 along with the new Costa Pacifica 114,500-ton (3,000 double occupancy). During the 2009-2010 season in Dubai, the Costa Luminosa will be joined by the Costa Europa, which will offer a new itinerary of eight cruises from Savona to Dubai and back. AIDA Cruises will once again operate the AIDAdiva from Dubai and will offer two special cruises from Dubai to India and back during the holiday season.
â€œWe are truly delighted to be starting our third consecutive season in the Arabian Gulf operating out of Dubai,â€ said Pier Luigi Foschi, Costa Crociere S.p.A. chairman and CEO. â€œWe were the first and remain the sole operator to believe in the value of this new cruise destination. Thanks to the support and cooperation of the DTCM (Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing), we have boosted the presence here, with increasingly large and modern ships. of both Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises. In view of the great response from our customers, we have decided to deploy the Costa Luminosa in Dubai in winter 2009/2010. She will be the new jewel of the Costa fleet, combining the very best of our product in terms of innovation, facilities, choice of materials, design and works of art, and will help consolidate the worldwide success and popularity of Dubai and the other places on the itinerary.â€
During the current Dubai cruise season, both Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises will offer seven-night itineraries with two nights in Dubai and calls in Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (United Arab Emirates) *Costa ships only, Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Bahrain. The Costa Classica will set sail from Dubai on Sundays for a total of 11 cruises (December 21, 2008 through March 8, 2009) and the Costa Victoria will make 18 calls departing on Saturdays from December 13, 2008 through April 18, 2009. The AIDAdiva will depart from Dubai on Fridays for total of 18 calls (December 4, 2008 through April 9, 2009).
The immediate success of the new cruise destination prompted Costa Cruises to double its capacity by positioning two ships there for winter 2007/2008 with the Costa Romantica and the Costa Europa. The same year, the AIDAcara extended her season by increasing the number of calls from 9 to 15.
Stylish and one-of-a-kind, the Costa Luminosa is the first in a new class of ships. DÃ©cor will be highlighted by trendsetting contemporary design filled with iridescent colors, fine marbles, warm woods, mother-of-pearl details and world-class art. This includes a sculpture commissioned by renowned artist Fernando Botero, entitled â€œReclining Woman 2004,â€ which will be on display in the shipâ€™s atrium. Theatre productions truly take center stage with the shipâ€™s new 4D cinema, where sight, sound, touch and scent come together to form a multisensory experience for guests. Another new exciting feature included is a new 37-hole golf simulator, where guests can â€œhit the links at sea.â€ The exterior of the ship is equally as exciting, with 68% of accommodations featuring verandas â€“ the most for a Costa ship. The Costa Luminosa will also feature the renowned Samsara Spa, complete with Kinesis room, a Grand Prix race car driving simulator and a specialty restaurant featuring cuisine by Michelin-starred chef Ettore Bocchia.