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Costa Cruises to Broaden Appeal in the Middle East

28 April 2010

The Middle East

Cruises to Dubai and other locations in the Middle East have been offered by numerous liners in the past, with Costa Cruises the latest set to jump on the bandwagon.

As part of the process to enhance its presence in the region, the liner has already opted to position its Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa ships in Dubai and has even taken steps to strengthen its appeal to the locals.

This has been done by prayer rooms being added on board vessels, while Arabic TV and radio can be enjoyed and specialist menus featuring Arabic cuisine also feature.

Gianni Onorato, the president of Costa Cruises, said: "Our objective is to invest in Dubai, the Gulf and the Middle East not only as a regular destination for our ships, but also as a sourcing area to increase the number of cruisers choosing us for their vacations."

Some 100 cruise ships stopped in Dubai last year, with this figure expected to grow in the coming 12 months to take tourist numbers close to the 325,000 mark.

According to the National, Hamad bin Mejren, the executive director of business tourism at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, added: "The cruise business is becoming very important to Dubai, as a tourism industry as a whole, and most important to Dubai's economy.

"It will certainly give a boost to our efforts to promote cruise tourism and provide encouragement to other cruise industry players to utilise the strengths and growth opportunities that Dubai offers."

Meanwhile, Costa Cruises has also been busy looking to have a greater presence across Asia with the Costa Romantica ship recently having its maiden visit to Hong Kong.

The cruise line is expected to complete 97 sailings to the country in the coming 12 months, with the elegant vessel displaying Italian heritage and charm planned to bring in over 50,000 additional tourists.

Among the highlights that await passengers on board is the Via Condotti shopping centre, which provides the opportunity to sample some quaint boutiques.

Jazz, classical and ballroom music can also be heard, while passengers can be entertained by speciality acts and cabaret performances.

Other locations in the Middle East that may appeal to cruise fans and are visited by a range of liners, including Egypt, with this able to be enjoyed both as a regular cruise or as part of a world voyage.

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