Costa Cruises announces first Indian Ocean programme – 15 Feb 2007

Carnival’s Italian-style cruise operator Costa Cruises will further enhance its reputation for opening up new cruise markets by sailing its first itineraries in the Indian Ocean in 2008.

The cruiseline’s new brochure, which was launched simultaneously in all the cruiseline’s key European markets yesterday, features an expanded progaramme in both Dubai and South America, a second season out of Singapore, as well as a full year-long season of Hong Kong sailings.

Costa Cruises was the first foreign operator to enter the local Chinese market last year when it positioned Costa Allegra in Hong Kong and, after offering a limited selection of longer sailings to the European market this year, it has decided to include a full programme following demand from European trade partners.

In 2008, the 800-passenger Costa Marina will be the first mainstream cruise ship to sail in the Indian Ocean based in Mauritius, with calls in the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mombasa in Kenya, until now the reserve of niche operators such as African Safari Club and Hebridean International Cruises.

UK managing director Marco Rosa said, based on the popularity of new Dubai cruises among British customers this year, these 14-night, 16-day cruises were expected to appeal to experienced UK cruise customers looking for something different.

“There is very strong demand for that area,” said Rosa. “This will appeal to a more sophisticated passenger who has already done many of the itineraries in the market place.”

Costa is also expecting interest from tour operators such as Kuoni and Gold Medal for its 14, 15 and 16-night cruises in China out of Hong Kong and expanded South America programme, with an additional third ship in theregion. Direct flights from London to São Paulo are available.

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