Starting from December 2006 the Italian Costa Crociere SpA, which operates the brands AIDA Cruises and Costa Crociere, will be offering cruises with departures from Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
The official announcement was made during a series of official meetings, set to take place in Dubai on February 1 and 2, 2006, between a delegation from Costa Crociere – headed by Costa Crociere SpA Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, Costa Crociere President Gianni Onorato, and AIDA Cruises SVP Operations Michael Ungerer – and political and administrative leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Deputy Chairman of DP World, and Khalid bin Sulayem, Director General of the DTCM (Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing). A meeting is also planned with the Italian Ambassador to the UAE, Domenico Pedata, at his official residence.
“The local authorities in Dubai,” said Costa Crociere SpA Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, “have been involved in an important development program 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 Crociere 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. Finally, I also want to stress that the spirit of cooperation, approachability and commitment of the local authorities has played a vital role in our decision. We hope that in the future Dubai will become a regular destination for our cruises.”
For the first time a leading cruise operator has decided to schedule itineraries intended for an international clientele with departures out of Dubai, which is easily accessible from Europe and renowned for its fine, sunny weather and mild winter.
The new Dubai-based cruises will be offered throughout the 2006/2007 winter season by two ships belonging to the Italian group – the Costa Classica and AIDAcara. The seven-day itinerary includes two nights in Dubai and one-day stopovers in the ports of Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (United Arab Emirates), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain. The Costa Classica will depart on Saturdays while the AIDA will leave every Friday. In all, the two ships will be deployed on a total of 25 cruises, 17 on the Costa Classica (from December 23, 2006 to April 14, 2007) and 8 on the AIDAcara (from December 22, 2006 to February 9, 2007). A total of around 63,000 passengers will be handled, approximately 44,000 on the Costa Classica and 19,000 on the AIDAcara.