Posted by Neil King
Dubai's tourism department has held a special ceremony to mark the maiden voyage of Costa Deliziosa, the first cruise ship ever to be inaugurated in an Arab city.
Costa Deliziosa is the newest member of the Costa Cruises fleet and has a total guest capacity of 2,826.
During winter 2009/10, the 450 million euro-Costa Deliziosa will offer seven-day cruises in the Arabian Gulf with departure from Dubai and stopovers in Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
Costa chairman Pier Luigi Foschi said the decision to hold the inauguration in Dubai "is testimony to our active engagement in the region, where we have more than tripled our passenger traffic in just five years".
The launch of the cruise ship came as Dubai opened its new cruise terminal this week.
Developed by Dubai's tourism authority at the Port Rashid complex, the new facility - which can accommodate four cruise ships simultaneously - is expected to give a huge boost to the emirate's tourism sector.