Costa Victoria, the Victoria class cruise ship operated by Italian Cruise company Costa Criciere, Europes, which is a leading cruise company in Venice, Italy, called at Colombo Port on 5th November 2019. It was given a warm welcome by the Tourist Information Centre officers of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau(SLTPB), where the visitors were able to gain a lot of important information on Sri Lanka and also the most exclusive places to travel, from the onboard tourist information counters set up at the vessel. They were also handed over brochures by the TIC officers of the SLTPB to go through and to get an idea of the beautiful island destination. The SLTPB also arranged a welcome dance before their departure for the excursions.
The vessel started its journey from Mumbai, India, and will continue its journey from the Maldives. The ship’s itinerary covers, Male –Colombo – Goa-Mumbai – New Mangalore & Cochin. Costa has positioned this Itinerary successfully from 2016 onwards, this is the fourth consecutive season, and with a bigger capacity of Victoria they are expecting more passengers this season to Colombo. Costa Victoria is scheduled to call at Colombo port for 9 calls between 2019 / 2020.
Carrying passengers from Germany, Italy, India and Maldives, it will have tourist excursions to the Pinnawala elephant Orphanage, Bentota beach, Colombo City and Negombo City tours. The Sri Lankan shipping line for this tour was Aitken Spence while the Ground handling was managed by Lotus Tours. This will be the first cruise liner to call at port after the 21/4 April attacks and highlights a good sign that tourism is regaining its former position and turning back to normal.
The tourists showed their keen interest of getting to know more about the destination by inquiring more about the popular tourist attractions of the island and the authentic food and culture, and most visitors have planned to come back to Sri Lanka next year for a round tour, for a more detailed experience.
The massive luxury liner which is 828 in length, with 2 decks has a capacity of carrying over 2300 passengers along with 790 crew members. It features a panoramic Concorde plaza, an indoor pool, complete with an ultra-modern spa, plus exclusive health and entertainment facilities. It has the ability to carry a 75166 tonnage, and the vessel was built in 1996.
The ship is positioned in the Indian Sub- Continent region for the season 2019-20 doing a 7-day itinerary from Male – Mumbai. The Sri Lankan High Commission in Singapore together with the Economic Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry, assured the Carnival Corporation, which is responsible for the security management of the cruise ships arriving on the port of Colombo, with regard to security situation of the country.
Cruise tourism is an important product of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, since it could attract tourists with a high spending capacity representing the elite crowd. Last year, Sri Lanka Tourism was able to bring in 47 passenger cruises including the Costa Neo Classica and MV Mein Schiff 3 of TUI Cruises. Up to April 2019, around 25 passenger cruises have arrived in the destination so far.