Costa Continues Its Eastern Expansion With Mauritius Debut & Cruises From Dubai

MIAMI, FL, Dec 21 – Costa Marina called in Mauritius for her first time today, marking the beginning of the 2007-08 winter cruise season in which the ship will sail 14-night Indian Ocean routes. The ship’s first call marks the debut of Mauritius as an international cruise destination, and is a global first for the cruise industry.

“Over the last few years we have established ourselves as the first big cruise company to operate worldwide, offering itineraries that no other operator had ever marketed including China, the Far East, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, and Mauritius,” commented Pier Luigi Foschi, Costa Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. “We have been rewarded for these highly innovative choices by our customers, who have made our new cruise routes a success and stimulated us to further consolidate our presence in the East and Far East as demonstrated by the doubling of our ships in China and the Far East starting from 2009. Even Mauritius is experiencing a great success in our main reference countries in Europe, and also in Asia and North America.”

The 25,600-ton Costa Marina will sail the Indian Ocean from Mauritius from Dec 22, 2007 through Feb 29, 2008. Costa Marina will set sail from Mauritius every Saturday on six 14-night cruises. The itinerary includes two-day stopovers in Mauritius and Mahè (Seychelles), and one-day calls at Mombasa (Kenya), Mayotte, Nosy Be (Madagascar), Toamasina (Madagascar) and Reunion. Costa Marina will return to the Mediterranean on a spectacular 27-night positioning cruise with departures on March 15, 2008 and visiting Reunion, Madagascar, Mayotte, Kenya, the Seychelles, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, the Suez Canal and Savona.

Cruises from Mauritius on Costa Marina feature guided shore excursions in each port of call, with the opportunity for guests to visit local highlights. One of the main attractions is undoubtedly the superb beaches in Mauritius, Mahè in the Seychelles, Mayotte and Reunion. Additionally, there are exciting sightseeing excursion options including the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, which first opened in 1735, Tsavo East National Park, safaris in Kenya–in one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries, daytrips to see the wildlife at Parc Ivoloina in Madagascar, and a tour of Mombasa Old Town with a spectacular “son et lumièrere” presentation portraying the historical struggles between the Arabs and the Portuguese for control of the city. The routes will offer dolphin-watching trips in Mayotte or the blue safari in Mauritius, exploring the superb barrier reef and coral gardens.

Additionally, on Dec 22, the winter cruise season in Dubai will be launched. For the 2007-08 winter cruise season, Costa will position two ships in Dubai, doubling capacity compared to last season, when the company began their unique routes in the region. This season, the 53,000-ton Costa Romantica and the 55,00-ton Costa Europa will sail from Dubai for a total 25 cruises (15 on Costa Romantica, 10 on Costa Europa). The two ships will operate a seven-night cruise itinerary with two nights in Dubai and stopovers in the ports of Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (United Arab Emirates), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain. Costa Romantica will sail every Saturday from Dec 22, 2007 through March 29, 2008 while Costa Europa will depart on Sundays from Dec 23, 2007 through Feb 24, 2008.

All of Costa’s cruises from Dubai offer guided excursions in each port of call, which l give guests the opportunity to visit some of the most historical, cultural and natural landmarks in the area. The program includes excursions to the desert, visits to some of the most exclusive beaches of the Gulf region, visits to beautiful mosques, historical buildings and museums, tours of the city and their typical markets, and excursions at sea for dolphin sighting.