Costa Diadema, the fleet flagship of leading Italian company Costa Cruises docked at Doha Port for the first time this Thursday, 28 November. The arrival marked the first of 16 turnaround calls that the Dream-class cruise liner will be making during the 2019-20 season.

Doha’s emergence as a turnaround port marks a major milestone in the development of the country’s cruise tourism. For the first time, visitors can begin and end their journey from Doha and have the opportunity to enjoy Qatar’s five-star airline and award-winning hospitality before and after their cruises.

Qatar Residents can now go on a Gulf Cruise

And the good news about the arrival of Costa Diadema is that Qatar residents can go on a seven-night cruise trip. The starting price is from QAR1,450 per person. This includes seven nights – eight days shipboard accomodation, full board meals, recreation and entertainment on board, taxes.

Sailing dates from Doha: 4 December, 18 December, 25 December, 1 January, 8 January, 22 January, 29 January, 5 February, 12 February, 26 February

For full itinerary and other information, contact Unique Choice at 4458 1695/97/98 or email [email protected]

Turnaround voyages contribute significantly to the country’s economy and strengthen the tourism sector. In addition to visitor spending, the growth in Qatar’s cruise tourism is also contributing to the country’s economy through cruise line spending on port services and maintenance. As the cruise season grows year-on-year, thousands of jobs and business opportunities are created.

Officials including HE Akbar Al Baker, Secretary-General of QNTC and GCEO of Qatar Airways; Ahmed Al Jamal, Chairman of the General Customs Authority; Captain Hassan Al Maqeef, Executive VP-Commercial at Mwani Qatar, Rehan Ali, Executive Director of Al Tawfeeq Travels, and Rafi Ramashandran, General Manager of Inchcape, among others were present to receive the mega-ship.

Costa Diadema Plaque exchange Ceremony
HE Akbar Al Baker, Secretary-General of QNTC and GCEO of Qatar Airways and Captain Moretti Giorgio

HE Akbar Al Baker, Secretary-General of QNTC and GCEO of Qatar Airways, said that receiving turnaround calls is a great milestone for cruise tourism in Qatar, supporting the hospitality, retail and aviation sectors, as thousands of passengers spend time exploring the country.

We are particularly pleased that our cruise visitors can experience the excitement of regional and international sporting events taking place this season. Together with support from our partners in public and private sectors, including global partners like Costa Cruises, Qatar is on its way to become a distinctive cruise hub in the region.’

Costa Qatar Dohia 3
Ferrari Stefano, Hotel Director; Hilary Bainbridge, Marhaba Managing Editor and Founder and Captain Moretti Giorgio

The arrival of Costa Diadema comes as a result of an agreement signed between QNTC and Costa Cruises in September last year to develop cruise tourism in Qatar, by building attractive packages and special services dedicated to Costa Cruises guests, in addition to joint communications, co-marketing actions and familiarisation trips.

Following this agreement, Costa Mediterranea also made three voyages to Qatar earlier this year. With a capacity of 4,974 passengers and over 1,200 crew members on board, Costa Diadema is the latest addition to the fleet of Costa Cruises launched in 2014 and is currently the largest vessel flying an Italian flag.

Qatar has multiple advantages that make it a perfect turnaround cruise hub. The expanded network of Qatar Airways covering over 160 destinations worldwide provides visitors numerous options to suit the cruise itinerary (passengers from seven destinations in six countries across Europe were able to arrive in Doha this morning onboard flights landing within a span of less than two hours). The passengers are further facilitated by the speedy immigration system at the five-star Hamad International Airport.

Running parallel to the cruise season is an exciting winter calendar of events featuring FIFA Club World Cup 2019 matches, music concerts by global artists and numerous retail, travel and hospitality promotions that the cruise passengers will be able to enjoy during their stay in Qatar.

The 2019/20 season is expected to be even bigger, with over 186,000 passengers and over 61,000 crew arriving on 74 ships. Five ships will make their maiden calls to Doha this season. In addition to the 16 turnaround calls, it is also the first season where nine ships will be staying overnight at Doha Port, giving passengers ample time to explore the destination’s offerings. Forty-five ships are making transit calls during this season.