Dubai: Cruises are back – and Dubai is the center of the action as peak season begins and continues through early April.
“Most of the major cruise lines have resumed operations from Dubai and we are experiencing high demand for cruise vacations,” said Emily Jenkins, UAE recreation manager at dnata Travel. “In winter, Persian Gulf crossings are most popular among UAE residents, while in summer months travelers book cruise vacations to the Mediterranean region, Northern Europe, the islands Greece, the United States and the Caribbean. “
Last week, Dubai was the port where MCI Cruises, the world’s third largest cruise operator, added its 17th vessel to its fleet. Earlier, Dubai’s 2021-22 cruise season kicked off with the arrival of TUI Cruise Line’s “Mein Schiff 6” at the Hamdan bin Mohammed cruise terminal, Mina Rashid, on October 23.
Dubai has welcomed more than 2,000 passengers and crew aboard the Mein Schiff 6, the first of several luxury ships that will dock at Mina Rashid. Dubai expects the 2022 season to welcome more than 500,000 cruise passengers and 126 ship stopovers, helping to boost tourism in Dubai.
“In this historic year for Dubai – showcasing Expo 2020 and the United Arab Emirates Golden Jubilee – the arrival of Mein Schiff 6 from TUI Cruises is a significant expression of confidence in Dubai as a destination of cruise and marks a major milestone in the renaissance of the cruise industry. in this part of the world, ”said Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general of the Dubai Tourism and Business Marketing Department (Dubai Tourism) at the time.
Other cruises too
‘Costa Fierenze’, operated by Costa Cruises, will begin operations in the Gulf on December 17th. The cruise begins with an 11-night program, which will cost passengers around $ 700 (Dh 2,570) per person, and will depart from its home port in Dubai. in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Muscat and Bahrain before returning to the emirate. The cruise will later sail on a 7-night program between January 7 and March 11.
The “MSC Virtuosa”, which will also have its home port in Dubai, will start sailing on December 4th. The cruise ship will be on a seven-night program, sailing to Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Dammam (Saudi Arabia), and Doha (Qatar) before returning to Dubai.
MSC Virtuosa, which has a per person rate of around $ 400 (Dh1,470) on its first trip, hosted the launch event in Dubai the last week of November. “This is the second time that a cruise line christening ceremony has taken place in Dubai, which shows the importance of the UAE in the cruise industry,” said Ashok Kumar, Managing Director of Cruise Master II. “We are delighted to return to a normal cruising schedule after two years and look forward to a successful winter cruising season. “
Even with great interest, cruise lines have yet to convince travelers that their ships are safe from a COVID-19 perspective. At the start of the epidemic, cruise lines to Japan, Australia and California grabbed the headlines due to the sudden and brutal outbreak of infections on board.
“Safety will remain a number one priority, now with pre-board COVID-19 screening for all passengers with rapid testing,” said Jenkisn of dnata. “On board, cruise ships must follow local government guidelines in addition to standard guidelines for cruise lines.
“In the wake of the global pandemic, cruise lines around the world have introduced enhanced health and safety measures to protect passengers. “
Mina Rashid is in turmoil
The main docking point for international cruise liners is Dubai’s Mina Rashid Port, which can accommodate seven mega-cruise ships or 25,000 passengers at a time. The port’s Hamdan bin Mohammed cruise terminal is the largest indoor cruise terminal in the world and can accommodate 14,000 passengers per day.
“Mina Rashid has been the leading Middle Eastern cruise tourism destination for the past eight consecutive years and is steadily gaining ground as a top destination in the world,” according to World Travel Awards polls.
Mina Rashid, which welcomed more than 800,000 travelers during the 2018-19 season, seeks to further strengthen its status as a premier cruise tourism hub by expanding its recreation area. Due to the high demand, he was also striving to provide improved mooring services for private yacht owners looking to make Dubai a home for their ships.