Middle East Cruise News

Costa Cruises reportedly switching Smeralda with Pacifica for 2021/22 Dubai season

Costa Cruises has amended its 2021/22 Dubai cruise season itineraries, switching out Costa Smeralda with Costa Pacifica, according to an email sent to passengers booked on the affected cruises.

Costa Cruises said in the email to passengers that due to the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic, and ongoing uncertainty over travel restrictions and other local measures, it would be homeporting Costa Pacific in Dubai instead of Costa Smeralda.

Costa Smeralda will no longer be home-porting in Dubai for the 2021/22 cruise season.

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The development is undoubtedly a blow to the Dubai cruise sector, which had looked poised to make a strong recovery from the disruption wrought by COVID-19.

Costa Smeralda, at more than 180,000-gross tons, would have been the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in Dubai, a title currently held by MSC Bellissima, which spent the last cruise season in Dubai, before it was cut short by the outbreak of the virus.

“We are approaching our gradual restart with a great sense of responsibility toward our guests and crew members, as well as the residents of the communities we visit with our ships,” Costa Cruises said in the email, which was shared with Cruise Arabia & Africa.

“For this reason, we have recently redesigned our deployment for 2021. As part of our cruises’ updated schedule, Costa Smeralda will be positioned on different itinerary,” it added.

Costa Pacific is much smaller than Costa Smeralda, but still large by modern standards (picture courtesy Finally Lost).

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In the email, Costa Cruises described the United Arab Emirates as a cruise destination with huge appeal and said Costa Pacific would be taking over Smeralda’s Arabian Gulf itineraries instead, which visit Abu Dhabi, Muscat in Oman and Doha in Qatar.

The cruise line is offering booked guests the opportunity to transfer their booking to Pacific and receive a 100-euro onboard spending credit per adult passenger.

The passenger that shared the email with Cruise Arabia & Africa said that they would likely cancel their booking and cruise with MSC Cruises instead, which is homeporting their new ship MSC Virtuosa in Dubai during the same cruise season.

MSC Bellissima alongside at Dubai’s Cruise Terminal 3 (Virtuosa will be even larger)

MSC Virtuosa is a sister ship to MSC Bellissima, but slightly larger, while Costa Smeralda is a sister ship to AIDAcosma, which AIDA Cruises has confirmed will be homeporting in Dubai next year as well.

Costa Pacifica, although significantly smaller, is still a fairly large cruise ship at 114,000-gross tons, and carrying more than 3,700 passengers.

She is one of Costa Cruises’ Concordia-class cruise ships, featuring five dining areas, thirteen bars, four swimming pools, various water and health related facilities and a theater.

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