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Costa Victoria kickstarts Vladivostok's cruise season

Vladisvostock traditional bread and salt welcome for Costa Victoria passengers and crew
Vladivostok, Russia's Pacific coast port kickstarted its 2017 cruise season Tuesday when Costa Victoria called with more than 2,000 passengers aboard.

Vladivostok is expecting 13 calls this year - a record to date - which is more than double the six ships that visited in 2016.

Nine of the 13 will be by Costa Cruises' pair of Costa Victoria and Costa neoRomantica and four calls from ships operated by Japanese cruise companies: Mitsui OSK, NYK Cruises, Peace Boat and Venus Cruises.

Most of the passengers onboard this week's vist were from South Korea who were welcomed ashore by a delegation from cruise terminal operator Vladivostok Sea Terminal, LLC, the local shipping agency and shorex tour operator with the support of Primorsky Territory Government.

Konstantin Schestakov, head of the department of tourism of Primorsky Territory Government addressed the passengers and crew in a welcoming speech.

Drummers, singers and dancers provided by the Far Eastern State Technical Fisheries University performe don the quayside.

Passengers were provided with tourist information and guided to a nearby market selling local souvenirs.

Passengers and crew had the opportunity to take photographs with artists dressed in Russian national costumes and participate in a traditional bread and salt ceremony. The Primorsky State Art Gallery organized an exhibition at the passenger terminal.
Shore excursions included Highlights of Vladivostok, short trip on the Trans-Siberian railway and art gallery visit.

Vladivostock, which has been welcoming cruise ships for 25 years, has undergone radical changes in the recent past due to huge federal government investments in the frame of hosting 2012 APEC Summit.

In addition to traditional attractions such as the Vladivostok Fortress built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the fleet HQ of Russia's Pacific Navy and the ending or starting point of the world's longest railway - the Trans-Siberian - new highlights include the famous Mariinsky theatre of opera and ballet, a new Aquarium which is ranked second in the world by the volume of tanks, and the Golden and two spectacular bridges: Golden Bridge and Russian Island Bridge.

Costa Victoria's next visit is scheduled for  May 7, organized by Lotte Tour.a