Costa Toscana offers short Arabian Gulf sailings


Costa Toscana, the Italian company’s new flagship vessel arrived at Dubai Harbour for the first time late last year, with promising winter 2022/23 itineraries that include 3 to 7 days cruise packages exploring the Arabian Gulf.

TTN spoke to Francesco Raffa, Director of Asia Region, Growth Markets and North America Costa Cruises, to shed light on the significance of this itinerary to Costa Cruises.

“Costa Toscana, our newest vessel launched in spring last year, is a tribute to the region of Tuscany.

“All of Costa’s itineraries in the Mediterranean Sea are very popular in the Middle East because Italy, France, Spain and Greece are highly desirable destinations for these travellers. But with Costa Toscana here in the Arabian Gulf we want to offer a local product that is fitting with the desire of the local community that maybe doesn’t want to spend one week locally on a cruise ship, but is looking for a shorter solution.

“With the short cruise segment – three to four nights – we invite local travellers to experience our Italian way of life, our Italian hospitality, our food experiences and all the cutting-edge services offered aboard.

“We have a spa area over 4,500 square metres, making it one of the largest spas at sea.”

In total, there will be 13 cruises, until March 11, also available with the ‘flight+cruise’ package, which guarantees maximum comfort, without having to worry about transfers to the ship or luggage at the arrival at the airport.

Costa Cruises offers a wide range of shore excursions on these itineraries. In Dubai, Costa Toscana offers a helicopter tour, which offers a breath-taking panorama of this incredible city. The “cruise & golf” package is also available for golf lovers, which combines the best of golf with the best of cruising and will allow golfers to play at some of the most beautiful clubs in the Arabian Gulf during the ship’s port calls.

The vessel features a whopping 1550 balcony cabins, 13 swimming pools and hot tubs, 11 restaurants, 19 bars and lounges with noteworthy collaborations such as with Ferrari Spazio, Aperol Spritz, Campari, Nutella, to name a few. Sushino at Costa serves Michelin star sushi to guests and Pummid’Oro Pizzeria is a must try for finger-licking pizza.

The stunning interiors are the result of an extraordinary creative project, curated by Adam D. Tihany, created to enhance and bring to life the colours and atmosphere of this wonderful Italian region in a single location.

The colourful and striking tile work on the ground is reminiscent of ancient villas hidden away in the historic sites of Herculaneum and Pompei. 

Furniture, lighting, fabrics and accessories are all Made in Italy, created by 15 partners highly representative of Italian excellence.

The onboard offer is perfectly integrated in this extraordinary context: from the Solemio Spa to the areas dedicated to entertainment; from the thematic bars, in collaboration with great Italian and international brands, to the 21 restaurants and areas dedicated to the “food experience.” For the youngest guests there is the Splash AcquaPark, with its slide positioned on the highest deck, a new area dedicated to video games, and the Squok Club.

Costa Toscana’s onboard offerings are tailored according to the destination. Starting with the gastronomic offer, signed by Bruno Barbieri, Hélène Darroze, and Ángel León. These three world-renowned chefs will introduce the cruise destinations through taste, with the Destination Dishes, available in the main restaurants that interpret the tradition and flavours of the place that will be visited the following day. The three Archipelago restaurant menus, one by each chef, are designed to explore the sea being sailed through food.

The on-board entertainment programme will see the debut of an unprecedented and spectacular show, called Essence, inspired by the Arabian Gulf’s Arabian Nights atmosphere.

Costa Toscana is a traveling ‘smart city,’ able to be powered by LNG and equipped with cutting-edge technological innovations designed to reduce environmental impact. “We are fully committed to sustainability and to sustainable inclusive development of the tourism. Together with the local stakeholders we able to develop and generate value for our customers who visited the destination, but also from the local communities.”

Raffa tells our readers: “We continue to develop our distribution network in the Middle East, so our doors are always open. We are happy to partner with new potential clients. We have spent the last few weeks on training agents to update them on our new product features.

“Our suites onboard Costa Toscana have more space and customised services, perfect for the luxury consumer. There is a dedicated restaurant for suite guests, access to private area with Jacuzzis, private sun chairs, quiet zones and also priority in terms of disembarkation. These guests also get discounts in some cases.

“We provide halal food on all our sailings upon request, not just in the Arabian Gulf. We have year-round itineraries in the western as well as eastern Mediterranean. During the winter season, we also have some product in the Caribbean and South America. For instance, we have three ships deployed in South America offering cruises catering mainly to Brazil and Argentina.”

Costa Cruises has been consistently marketing its MICE at sea product in the Middle East, resulting in a landmark expat Indian wedding vessel buyout that took place a few years ago. There are several recent examples of Costa’s MICE initiatives, among them a fitness-themed cruise and product and brand showcase with high fashion brands.

“We are very flexible when it comes to meetings, incentives and weddings in particular. We are happy to meet the expectation of customers who request for special events, buyouts and themed cruises.”