Costa, which is rapidly developing a new reputation as the cruise industry's most exotic pathfinding line, is debuting CostaClassica in Dubai today. The ship will be based in Dubai throughout the winter and sail Arabian Gulf cruises that call at Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (United Arab Emirates), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain. CostaClassica will be departing on its seven-night voyages every Saturday.
While cruise ships do visit Dubai as a port of call -- it's an increasingly intriguing city for travelers worldwide -- Costa's commitment to basing a ship there for a full season is a first in modern-day cruising. And, interestingly, the line is so bullish on demand for the Middle East voyages it has already announced that it will send two ships -- CostaRomantica and CostaEuropa -- there next winter.
As well, Costa's sister cruise line, the German-oriented Aida, is basing one of its ships in Dubai. AIDAcara will call at the same ports but depart on Fridays.
Costa's presence in the Arabian Gulf is another in a series of off-the-track itineraries for its ships around the world. Already well-established in Europe, the line has carved a niche for itself in South America itineraries -- featuring all-Brazil itineraries offered by no other lines -- and is also the first to place a ship in China.