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Costa Cruises with big plans in Asia

Costa Cruises released its new 2009 brochure in Europe with a dedicated version designed especially for the Asia market to follow with the launch scheduled for early March. The 340 page brochure has been published well in advance in all the countries where Costa Cruises operates and once more the new edition features a number of major Asian and global innovations for the industry, with regard both to the routes and to the fleet.

It features new itineraries in Asia, one of the most popular routes for travelers in this region, as well as the Amazon River, the United States of America and Canada, and the Mediterranean.

Growth in the Asia Pacific, along with the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), the Indian Ocean, Northern Europe and South America has fuelled Costa’s 12 per cent capacity growth on 2008, with further growth anticipated.

In 2009 Costa’s ships will offer about 250 destinations all over the world and more than 100 different itineraries. There will be even more vacation options for Costa’s customers thanks to brand new itineraries. Costa Cruises will be the first operator to offer an incredible transatlantic cruise from Italy to Argentina and up the Amazon River as far as Manaus.

Other news for 2009 is the introduction of cruises in the U.S.A. (New England) and Canada in autumn, with five calls in Quebec, Boston, Newport and New York. There are also innovations in the Mediterranean, with two new itineraries featuring two-day stopovers in Istanbul and Lisbon, and new ports of call at Capri, the Isle of Elba and St. Tropez, as well as additional cruise routes in Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The increased capacity will be reflected both in the exclusive destinations introduced by Costa Cruises in the last couple of years, and in those “traditionally offered”, which have always been extremely popular among Costa’s clientele. An example of the former is Asia, where the company will double its capacity with a second ship deployed in the region for the first time.

The Costa Allegra, which inaugurated this route for Costa Cruises in the summer of 2006, will be joined by the Costa Classica, one of the most popular liners in the Costa fleet.

In Dubai and the U.A.E the size of the offer will rise by 50 per cent with the arrival for the first time of the Costa Victoria alongside the Costa Classica. In addition, a larger vessel than at present will be positioned for Indian Ocean cruises out of Mauritius – namely the Costa Europa, with a doubling in the offer. Costa will also be boosting its presence both in Northern Europe, where for the first time some five liners will be operating, and in
South America, where three ships will be based.

In overall terms, Costa Cruises will be increasing its capacity in 2009 by 12 per cent compared to this year, thanks to the entry into service, in April and May, of the 2 new flagships Costa Luminosa (92,700 gross tonnage and total Guest capacity of 2828) and Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnage and total Guest capacity of 3780), which are currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyards in Marghera (Venice) and Genoa-Sestri Ponente.

The Costa fleet will thus be 14-strong, with total Guest capacity of approximately 36,000. Costa Cruises’ fleet expansion program comprises a total of five new ships (including the Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica) that will enter service by 2012, all commissioned from Fincantieri and built in Italy, with a total investment of almost 2.4 billion euros. This is the biggest order book (together with that of the subsidiary AIDA Cruises) of any cruise line anywhere in the world.

The five new builds will enable a 50 per cent increase in the capacity of the Costa fleet, which by 2012 will be the world’s third biggest, with 17 ships and total Guest capacity of 46,400. Thus Costa Cruises will continue to consolidate its position as Europe’s no.1 cruise line.

After the historic record of one million Guest bookings in one year in 2007, the Italian company has its sights set on the new target of 1.5 million Guests in 2010, a 50 per cent increase in just three years.

As well as the new itineraries, the other headline news for 2009 is the arrival in the Costa fleet of the new flagships Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.