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Costa Cruises to set sail from Keelung this year

The cruises arrive amid a rapidly growing industry in Taiwan

The Costa Fortuna cruise ship was built in 2003 for  Costa Crociere

The Costa Fortuna cruise ship was built in 2003 for Costa Crociere (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As part of Taiwan’s effort to grow cruise tourism, Keelung Port has attracted Costa Cruises for two cruises set to sail this year.

The ships Costa neoRomantica and Costa Fortuna are set to sail from Keelung Port on April 12 and June 16, respectively, with an “Italy on the sea” theme to attract passengers. The Costa Fortuna is scheduled to host a performance by A-Lin on June 19 and another by Ailing Tai (戴愛玲) and Freya Lim (林凡) on June 23.

Buhdy Bok, president of Costa Group Asia, said “The cruise tourism industry in Taiwan has matured….Taiwan is currently the second-largest cruise market in Asia.” Last year, Taiwan was the third-largest cruise market in Asia behind China and Singapore.

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said the cruise industry should be a focus for Taiwan in its efforts to attract more foreign tourists amid the downturn in tourism from China. Taiwan’s cruise industry market value is expected to reach about NT$5 billion (US$162 million) this year.

Keelung Port became a home port for U.S.-based Princess Cruises last year. The company said it expected to surpass 70,000 cruise passengers embarking from Taiwan in 2016. The Taiwan International Ports Corporation statistics indicated that local ports hosted 493 calls and served about 750,000 cruise passengers in 2016. The country targets more than 1 million this year.

Cruise options from Keelung are not currently listed on the company’s website.

Costa Cruises, the trading name of British/American-owned Italian cruise line Costa Crociere S.p.A., is one of the main operations of Carnival Corp. On January 13, 2012, its cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy, resulting in the loss of 33 lives.