Today sees the staging in Dubai of the inauguration ceremony for the Costa Deliziosa, the new diamond of the Costa Cruises fleet and the first cruise ship ever to be named in an Arab city: a unique and quite extraordinary event which sets a new record and combines traditional Arabian enchantment, reminiscent of “A Thousand and One Nights”, with the unmistakable Italian style of Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s n.1 cruise line.
Together with her sister ship Costa Luminosa, the Costa Deliziosa (www.costadeliziosa.com) represents the most exclusive and innovative member of the fleet; weighing in at 92,600 gross tonnage and with total Guest capacity of 2,826, the new ship is an emblem of Italian-made excellence. She was built at Fincantieri’s Venice-Marghera yard in Italy with the labor of around 3,000 people, comprising both the shipyard’s own employees and those of about 500 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms, with a total investment worth 450 million euros. During winter 2009/10 and 2010/11 the Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa – Costa’s top of the range offer – will be offering 7-day cruises in the Arabian Gulf with departure from Dubai and stopovers in Muscat (Oman), Fujairah, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain.
The inauguration of the Costa Deliziosa, which constitutes another milestone in the development of the cruise industry not only in Dubai but also in the region as a whole, is the result of an a partnership between Costa Cruises, the first operator in the world to market regular cruises in the Gulf back in 2006, and the Government of Dubai, through the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing: this solid co-operation has contributed to the development of local tourism and will allow Italy’s no. 1 cruise line to clock up 150,000 passenger movements in Dubai in winter 2010/11 (compared to 44,000 in 2006/2007) with 31 port calls, generating revenue for the local economy estimated at 14 million euros* in 2009/2010.
“The decision to hold the inaugural event – the highlight of any ship’s early life – for the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai has dual significance,” commented Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi. “On the one hand it is testimony to our active engagement in the region, where we have more than tripled our passenger traffic in just 5 years, and on the other it expresses Costa Cruises’ pioneering spirit, which combines continuous innovation and ongoing promotion of Italian tradition, for which we are global ambassadors, thanks to our ships and our style. It means constant commitment, entailing major investments in renewal of the fleet and the continuous pursuit of ways of improving our product. It is this commitment that enabled us in 2009 – a year characterized by marked falls in consumption in virtually all areas – to carry about 1.3 million Guests on board our ships, an increase of 8% compared to the year before, in line with the increase in our capacity.”
Built in Italy by Fincantieri, the Costa Deliziosa is the third ship delivered to the Italian Company in just 9 months, and is part of a 2.4 billion euro fleet expansion program with 5 new ships entering service between 2009 and 2012. The Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica – named together on June 5, 2009 at a Guinness World Record event – and the Costa Deliziosa will be followed by the sister ships Costa Favolosa, due for delivery in summer 2011, and Costa Fascinosa, which will make her debut in spring 2012. All 5 ships are Italian builds commissioned from Fincantieri and their introduction will lead to a 50% increase in capacity for the Costa fleet, Europe’s largest, which by 2012 will be 16-strong with accommodation for 45,000 total Guests.
Mr. Hamad bin Mejren, DTCM Excecutive Director Business Tourism, said: “We welcome Costa’s decision to operate out of Dubai and also perform the naming ceremony of Costa Deliziosa here on the opening day of our new cruise terminal. We hope that it will be a shot in the arm for the regional cruise industry. Costa’s decision reconfirms the potential of Dubai as the regional cruise industry hub. We are delighted with their decision and assure of our whole hearted cooperation and support to make the initiative successful. We are confident that this will help expand the cruise tourism industry in the region and simulate other cruise operators to use the emirate as a cruise hub. At the DTCM we look forward to a period of tremendous growth in high-yielding cruise tourism segment.”
The inauguration event
The extraordinary inaugural ceremony for the Costa Deliziosa is taking place during her Grand Maiden Cruise, which left from Savona on February 5. Over 3,000 guests are expected to witness the event, including about 2,200 Costa Guests traveling on the first sector of the maiden cruise.
The inauguration ceremony, designed and produced by the DTCM together with Costa Cruises, features a grand inauguration event, involving not only the ship but also the new cruise terminal at Port Rashid and part of the quay where a stage and grandstand were set up specially to celebrate the Costa Deliziosa.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crownprince of Dubai, and his brother His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum are attending the Naming Ceremony of the Costa Deliziosa.
The event is set to be both spectacular and memorable, stressing the links between Italian and Arab culture. The artistic journey into the history and culture of Dubai and the Emirates includes traditional dance and music, video about the history of the UAE. One of the highlights is a performance of Al-Ayala, which welcomes the Guests of the ceremony: dancers in costume holding sticks that are used to enhance the stylish movements. The Arab journey entwines the one dedicated to Italian culture, music and art, to Costa’s history and role as a roving ambassador taking “the very best of Italian-made excellence” around the world. An air show with parachute jumps will introduce the official speeches by a high representative of the DTCM, by Costa Crociere S.p.A. Chairman & CEO Pier Luigi Foschi and Paolo Dionisi, Ambassador of Italy in the United Arab Emirates.
In keeping with tradition, the ceremony climax is the arrival of the godmother, before cutting the ribbon and letting the bottle break against the bows of the ship. The Godmother of Costa Deliziosa is Mrs. Tala Dionisi, wife of the Ambassador of Italy in the United Arab Emirates. The thread of the whole show is “A Thousand And One Horse Tales’”, a superb exhibition of horses accompanied by live music in a special blend of entertainment from the most renowned Arab tradition. The event continues with an Arab style lunch prepared by the chef Osama, who is a household name throughout the Middle East. The ceremony is presented by an original duo of personalities, both very well known in this part of the world: Mona Ibellini, a very popular TV presenter and broadcaster on programs on the BBC Worldwide and Al Jazeera English, who was born and raised in London but has spent virtually all her professional career in the Middle East; and Marwan ‘DJ Bliss’ Parham, a talented young music producer and entertainer from Dubai, who is currently hosting his own lifestyle show “Emarati” on national television and who is fast establishing a name for himself internationally.
The naming ceremony of the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai is broadcasted live on www.costadeliziosa.com. Costa Cruises’ fans can share their emotions and report on the event through the social channels of the company (facebook, blog, twitter, youtube).
The inaugural event for the Costa Deliziosa is taking place in Dubai under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai., the Italian Embassy to the United Arab Emirates, the Consulate General of Italy in Dubai and the ICE (Italian Trade Commission). It is being staged in partnership with Alpha Tours, Dnata, Emirates, Grand Hyatt, Gulf Venture, Jumeirah, Maserati and RHS (Raiss Hassan Saadi Group).
Costa Cruises in Dubai
Costa Cruises – together with AIDA Cruises, the German brand and affiliate of the Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group – was the first Company to market regular cruises in the Arabian Gulf, turning Dubai into a major cruise destination and contributing to its growth as a tourist resort. Costa Cruises’ operations in the region were launched in winter 2006/2007 with the deployment of one ship – the Costa Classica (53,000 gross tonnage and 1,680 total Guests) – and were an immediate success; so much so, in fact, that Costa has increased its capacity in the region every year since then. The number of Costa Cruises Guests in Dubai has risen from 44,000 in winter 2006/2007 to an estimated 140,000 in winter 2009/10, thanks to the presence of three ships – the Costa Luminosa, Costa Deliziosa and Costa Europa, with a total of 32 port calls. In winter 2010/2011 a further increase is expected with 31 calls and 150,000 passenger movements. The estimated economic impact in 2009/10 was around 14* million euros, derived from direct spending by Costa’s Guests, shoreside excursions, transport, port fees and expenditure on food & beverage.
Costa’s Guests on cruises out of Dubai are mainly Europeans (Italians, Germans, British, Spanish and French). In addition to the Costa brand ships, one AIDA Cruises brand ship, namely the AIDAdiva (69,200 gross tonnage and 2500 total Guests) will be calling at Dubai 20 times during winter 2009/2010. In all (considering both the Costa Cruises and Aida Cruises brands), ships belonging to the Costa Crociere Group will make 42 stopovers in Dubai this winter, with a total of 220,000 passenger movements.
Following her Grand Inaugural Cruise, which will continue after the inaugural event to India and the Maldives, in March the Costa Deliziosa will be redeployed back in Dubai where, like her sister ship Costa Luminosa, she will be offering 7-day Arabian Gulf cruises.
The itinerary includes 2 nights in Dubai and one-day stopovers in the ports of Muscat (Oman), Fujairah & Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain. The Costa Deliziosa will be sailing from Dubai every Sunday from March 14 through May 9, 2010; the Costa Luminosa is departing every Saturday through April 10, 2010.
Looking beyond the two jewels of the Costa fleet, this winter the Costa Europa is operating on another intercontinental itinerary: 18-day cruises from Savona to Dubai and Dubai to Savona – on an exclusive route crossing the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.
In winter 2010/2011, Costa Cruises will once again be offering 7-day Gulf cruises on the Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa, the top of the range of Europe’s n.1 cruise line.
In summer this year and next, the Costa Deliziosa will be deployed on cruises to the Norwegian fjords and Baltic cities; another highlight will be on December 28, 2011, when she sets sail from Savona on an exceptional 100-day round-the-world cruise, which can also be broken down into three stand-alone segments: Savona-Los Angeles; Los Angeles-Singapore; Singapore-Savona.
The new cruise terminal in Dubai extends over an area of 3,450 m2 and can handle up to 4 cruise liners at a time. Facilities include a bureau de change, post office, ATM, duty free shop, souvenirs, business center and VIP lounges.
Together with her sister ship Costa Luminosa, the Costa Deliziosa represents Costa Cruises’ top of the range offer and is the most exclusive and innovative member of the fleet. All the features of the ship combine to create an experience of “sheer pleasure”. This is readily apparent in her cutting-edge design and use of premium materials such as various types of marble and granite, stucco applied by spatula using the technique known as “spatolato veneziano” and other decorative interior finishes including “parchment scroll” lamé, refined Zebrano wood and Wenge timber, Murano glass, stylish polished and glazed steel, and 970 La Murrina chandeliers. Featuring in the stunning atrium, very much the focal point here as on all Costa ships, are fine works of art, notably “Sphere” by Italy’s greatest living sculptor Maestro Arnaldo Pomodoro, and “Physical delight and intellectual delight” by leading contemporary Italian painter Maestro Mario Donizetti. The Costa Deliziosa is an ultramodern ship also in terms of environmental compliance, which has always been one of Costa Cruises’ distinguishing features. Indeed, the Italian Company stands out on account of its environmental excellence and innovation. Like her sister ship Costa Luminosa, the Costa Deliziosa is the first vessel in Italy and one of the first in the world to be equipped for “cold ironing”, namely a system whereby the ship is plugged into shoreside electrical power, enabling generators to be shut down during stopovers in port. This is a way of further reducing the environmental impact of liners when they call at ports. Other energy- and fuel-saving measures have also been introduced on the Costa Deliziosa, with a reduction in CO2 emissions and the objective of cutting down on wastage in the use of electricity and water.
Whether it’s fun or relaxation, there are an incredibly large number of entertaining things to do on board the Costa Deliziosa, all involving the use of leading-edge technology: 4D cinema; roller skating track; the latest generation super-realistic Golf simulator, with a real outside putting green; Grand Prix driving simulator, produced from an original GP car with the same software and technology used by the F1 champion drivers themselves in training; the exclusive 3500 m² “Samsara Spa” wellness centre with the Technogym Kinesis circuit, a world first, as well as the innovative 24-carat gold facial, the ultimate skin rejuvenating treatment using a sheet of 24-carat gold leaf; and “PlayStation World”, an area on board dedicated exclusively to PlayStation3, plus the “PlayStation on demand” cabin service”.
*Figure based partly on the equivalent spending of cruisers in European ports according to the European Cruise Council’s estimate for 2008.
The DTCM is the principal authority for the development of tourism in Dubai. Established in 1997, it is the sole body responsible for the licensing of hotels, tour operators and other types of travel trade companies. Its supervisory role also covers heritage sites, cruise terminals and the Dubai Convention Bureau. The DTCM has 18 overseas offices, including three in China and two in Saudi Arabia. www.dubaitourism.ae and www.definitelydubai.ae