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Costa Luminosa casts off on 98-day circumnavigation

Costa Luminosa's world cruise overland tours visit the Grand Canyon, Ayers Rock, Bali and the Taj Mahal
Costa Luminosa sailed Monday from Savona, Italy, on a 98-day world voyage that will visit 39 destinations on five continents, returning to Savona, Dec. 21.

More than 1,000 passengers embarked at Savona, with another 260 to board Tuesday at Marseille, France, and 240 more at Barcelona, Spain, for a total of nearly 1,500 cruisers. The oldest traveler is 95, while the youngest is 1 year old. There are more than 30 nationalities, mainly Swiss, Germans and French, followed by Italians and Spaniards.

Exclusive festivities were planned for the departure including a quintet playing at embarkation and a poolside party accompanied the departure 'countdown' after a welcome from Capt. Pietro Sinisi.

After the Mediterranean Costa Luminosa will visit destinations in the Antilles, Colombia, Mexico, the US, Hawaii, Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Jordan.

Longer stays are planned at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Cochin, Mumbai, Dubai (two days), Sydney and Singapore (three days).

A number of overland excursions are available. For example, after an afternoon of shopping in Los Angeles and an overnight stay in a room facing the Sunset Strip, travelers will have the opportunity to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. From Sydney they can experience Ayers Rock and have dinner in the middle of the desert.

After discovering the 'The Twelve Apostles,' the iconic limestone stacks of Melbourne, travelers can leave the ship at Perth to travel to Bali for a couple days before returning to Costa Luminosa at Singapore. From Cochin travelers can visit Delhi and Agra, India, to tour the Taj Mahal.

Norbert Stiekema, evp sales and marketing, said the world cruise departure follows a sold out, record-breaking month of August for Costa Cruises. Starting with the world voyage, the fall season is also on an upswing, he added, and bookings continue to increase.

Costa's next world cruise, a 108-day itinerary, is scheduled to sail from Savona aboard Costa Luminosa Jan. 6, 2016.