The Department of Tourism (DOT) recently welcomed Costa Classica, a 14-storey, 53,000 gross-tonnage ship which brought 1,300 guests to Manila.
From Costa Cruises, Italy’s largest tourism group and Europe’s number one cruise company, the maiden call also coincided with the company’s affirmation to commit regular calls in the city’s port, making it the first cruise ship liner to make the pledge.
“Cruise tourists represent a valuable segment of our arrivals, comprising the high-spending, silver markets from Europe, US and Asia. And with Costa Classica being twice the size of Costa Allegra, it means more tourists and more jobs for our people,” Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said.
The tourism chief further cited that Costa Cruises has committed to a total of 14 visits of Costa Classica, bringing 21,000 guests to the country this year.
Sales and Marketing Director of Costa Cruises Pacific Asia Operations, Dario Rustico said, “Costa Classica has been sailing in Asia for about six months, and we are excited to be able to add this popular Asian city to her itineraries.”
As the cruise industry continues to grow in Asia, Costa Cruises will be sending a newer ship – Costa Romantica – to Manila. Costa Romantica, with the same gross-tonnage as Costa Classica, will be in Asia to replace Costa Allegra from April 2010.
“We expect to bring more tourists to Manila with the combined lower berth capacity of the three ships, Costa Allegra, Costa Classica and Costa Romantica, generating tremendous economic benefits to the city, from now till November 2010,” Rustico added.
The Philippines has also been praised by guests for having the warmest arrival reception from among the ship’s destinations. “As the ship arrives at our pier, we greet guests with spectacular cultural performances. There is also a festive atmosphere with various stalls offering handicrafts, delicacies and other home-made products on the wharf,” shared Eduardo Jarque, Jr., Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions.
Touted as a ‘romantic ship,’ Costa Classica holds an astonishing number of sculpture, original painting, hangings, murals, and crafts. It has ten decks, two swimming pools and 2 theaters.