Cruise season is getting back into full swing from Mina Rashid in Dubai

ABU DHABI-The cruises are back and Dubai is right at the centre of the action as the peak season starts and goes all the way to early April.
New cruise ships are getting into the high seas from Dubai's Mina Rashid Terminal. (Photo by Dubai Media Office).

“Most of the leading cruise lines have resumed operations from Dubai and we are experiencing strong demand for cruise holidays,” said Emily Jenkins, Head of Leisure UAE at dnata Travel. 

“In winter, Arabian Gulf sailings are the most popular among UAE residents, while for summer months, travellers book cruise holidays across the Mediterranean region, Northern Europe, the Greek Isles, the US and Caribbean.”

Last week, Dubai was the port where MCI Cruises, the world’s third biggest cruise operator, added its 17th ship 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 welcomed over 2,000 passengers and crew on board Mein Schiff 6, the first of several luxury ships that will dock at at Mina Rashid. Dubai expects the 2022 season to welcome over 500,000 cruise visitors and 126 ship calls, contributing further to the Dubai’s tourism recovery.

“In this landmark year for Dubai - featuring Expo 2020 and the UAE Golden Jubilee - the arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6 is a significant expression of confidence in Dubai as a cruise destination and marks a major step in the revival of the cruise industry in this part of the world,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), said at the time.

Other cruises too

‘Costa Fierenze', operated by Costa Cruises, will commence Gulf operations on December 17. 

The cruise starts with a 11-night schedule, which will cost passengers around $700 (Dh2,570) per head, and sail from its home port in Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Doha, Muscat, and Bahrain before returning to the emirate. 

The cruise will later sail on a 7-night schedule between January 7 and March 11.

‘MSC Virtuosa’, which will also be home-ported in Dubai, will start sailing on December 4. 

The cruise ship will be on a seven-night schedule, 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 fare of around $400 (Dh1,470) on its first trip, had the launch event in Dubai in the last week of November. 

“This is the second time a cruise line’s christening ceremony is happening in Dubai, displaying the importance of UAE in the cruise Industry,” said Ashok Kumar, Managing Director of Cruise Master ll. 

“We are excited to get back to a normal cruising schedule after two years and we are looking forward to a successful winter cruise season.”

COVID-19 protocols

Even with the high interest, cruise lines still have to convince travelers that their ships are safe from a COVID-19 standpoint. 

At the beginning of the outbreak, cruise lines in Japan, Australia and California hit the headlines because of the sudden and sharp outbreak of infections onboard.

“Safety will remain a number one priority, now with COVID-19 screening ahead of boarding for all passengers with rapid testing,” said dnata’s Jenkisn. 

“On-board, cruise liners have to follow guidelines from local governments on top of standard guidelines for cruise lines.

“In the wake of the global pandemic, cruise companies across the world introduced enhanced health and safety measures to protect passengers,”adding.

Mina Rashid is busy

The main docking point for the international cruise liners is Dubai’s Mina Rashid port, which can handle seven mega-cruise vessels or 25,000 passengers at once. 

The port’s Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal is the world’s largest single, covered cruise terminal facility and capable of handling 14,000 passengers a day.

“Mina Rashid has been the Middle East's leading cruise tourist destination for the past eight consecutive years, and is steadily gaining traction as a leading destination globally,” according to the World Travel Awards polls.

Mina Rashid, which welcomed more than 800,000 travelers during the 2018-19 season, is looking to further boost its status as a premier cruise tourism hub by expanding its recreational area. 

Due to high demand, it was also working to provide improved berthing services for private yacht owners looking to make Dubai a home for their vessels. (Gulf News).

Post a Comment