MIAMI, April 6: Costa, Europeâ€™s number one cruise line, has doubled its presence in the Far East with the arrival of the Costa Classica (53,000-tons, 1,308 passengers), which joins the Costa Allegra (28,400-tons, 820 passengers) in the region. The Costa Classica is the second ship to operate on a permanent basis in the Far East and recently departed on her first cruise from Singapore. Costa became the first international cruise company to open the cruise market in China when it deployed the Costa Allegra from the region in July 2006. Costaâ€™s cruises in the region are sold to its key markets as well as local markets. Since commencing operations in China, nearly 100,000 guests have taken Costa cruises in Asia. Half of these guests are Chinese.
The Costa Classica was positioned to Asia after operating in Dubai for the 2008-2009 winter season, offering 7-night cruises in the Arabian Gulf, another Costa exclusive. The Costa Classicaâ€™s first cruise in the Far East, which departed on March 27 from Singapore, was a 14-night itinerary that includes calls in Thailand, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong. For all of 2009, the Costa Classica will set sail from Singapore and from the Chinese ports of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tianjin, with alternating extended and short cruises. The longer 14- and 15-night itineraries, preferred by international guests, will include calls to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, China and Vietnam. The shorter 4- to 6-night cruises, more popular with local guests, will call on some of the most coveted destinations in those markets, such as Okinawa (Japan), Kagoshima (Japan), Nagasaki (Japan), Fukuoka (Japan) and Cheju (South Korea). Various cruises offered by the Costa Classica in China will include three between China and Taiwan in the months of April and May, the first cruises of their kind to link between the two countries. Passengers will include the employees of Amway (China) Co., Limited, one of the leading manufacturing and distributors operating in China.
Given the great success of these Far East cruises, Costa will increase its activities in the area in 2010. Beginning in March 2010, the Costa Allegra will be replaced by an even larger ship, the Costa Romantica (53,000-tons and 1,356 passengers), to operate alongside her sister ship, the Costa Classica. For complete information regarding Costa, guests may contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit www.costacruises.com.