Costa Neo Classica, a passenger vessel of 722 feet and weighing of 52,950 tons, made her first port of call on the dawn of the New Year, at the Colombo Harbour, on 2 January 2018. The visit lasted from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Her journey started from Male, Maldives on 30 December 2017, and continued till 5 January by ending in Mumbai, India. The vessel belongs to Costa Cruises. It carried 800 passengers from Italy, Germany, Russia, France and India, and a crew consisting of 610 members. Built in 1991, the passenger vessel is capable of carrying 1304 to 1420 members, adorned with facilities such as 4 restaurants, 11 bars, 3 swimming pools, gym, spa, beauty salon, and sports courts. Further, guests are assured of being entertained with a theatre, casino, night club, library and a disco, including additional facilities such as the Viceroy wedding venue, art gallery, medical centre, laundry, and Piccadilly shops.
Costa Neo Classica
In the year 2017, 37 passenger vessels made their stop overs in Sri Lanka and they were able to have a different experience by watching the cultural dance performances and the vivid diversity of locations and tourist attractions. High profile passenger vessels such as Aurora, Norwegian Star, Queen Elizabeth, Celebrity Constellation, Queen Mary 2 and Costa Neo Romantica were included in the list, reputed for their up to standard luxury and comfort. These cruises include high spending tourists who like to have an experience worth their high expenditure and they find Sri Lanka as a compact destination to spend their ideal holiday experience. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has taken the initiative to welcome these cruise lines and create more awareness about Sri Lanka and its cultural and geographical diversity, and showcase its importance of having 4 natural harbours. Sri Lanka’s harbours are reputed for their easy accessibility and as convenient stop overs for the tradesmen and sailors across the ancient silk road. SLTPB has also taken measures to highlight the cultural glamour by welcoming each vessel by featuring traditional dance performances which gives the visitors an entertainment experience which they never had before. International cruise lines as these have considered Sri Lanka as an exclusive stop over, not only because of its natural harbours, but also to admire the compact destination and take back unforgettable memories, giving them an opportunity to select their ideal holiday destination to spend their next vacation. Cruise tours in general provide a new experience and add a touch of difference to the normal procedure of travelling and holiday making.
Visitors at the SLTPB TIC counter
The visitors received an opportunity to experience Sri Lankan culture, vivid diversity of locations, and attractions such as Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Negombo, Tea Plantations, Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic Kandy, Mount Lavinia Beach, Colombo City attractions and shopping in Colombo. Sri Lanka has a wide variety of exclusive must see attractions for tourists and also as a safe travel destination for any traveller or tourist. The visitors gained an extensive knowledge about Sri Lanka as a compact island which can be explored within a few days by the travel brochures which were issued free by the Tourist Information Centre officials of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. The Sri Lankan Shipping Line which brought this passenger vessel was Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd., while the ground handling was carried out by Exotic Holidays International Ltd. Sri Lanka has a rapid growth in the tourism sector and cruise tourism is a new segment which is under rapid progress, adding a new dimension towards Sri Lanka’s tourism sector.