Middle East Cruise News

Dubai to become ‘Monaco of the Middle East’ with Dubai Harbour project

The ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE has announced the development of a major new waterfront destination called Dubai Harbour, which will be 20-million square feet in size, or roughly the size of the Principality of Monaco, nestled between Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) and Palm Island.

The new project, one of the country’s biggest since the 2008 financial crisis, will integrate Skydive Dubai, Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) and Logo Island into a single community. The current DIMC marine will be redeveloped and expanded to accommodate up to 1,400 yachts, making it the largest in the MENA region.

The centrepiece of the new development will be a huge new cruise terminal, with a daily passenger capacity of up to 6,000 passengers. The cruise terminal will be able to accommodate two to three cruise ships at a time, a DP World official told Cruise Arabia & Africa, with Dubai’s Mina Rashid remaining the primary cruise port of the city.

The ‘Dubai Lighthouse’ (below), part of the new Dubai Harbour project.


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Mina Rashid is set to undergo its own redevelopment, with a marina and retail areas to be developed, which will complement its role as the Middle East’s main cruise hub.

Dubai Harbour will instead be reserved for the largest cruise ships sailing from the city, such as Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, both of which called in Dubai in 2015 and 2016, and Princess Cruises’ new Majestic Princess, which is due to call in Dubai in 2017.

“We are happy that this new project, which represents a unique and innovative new addition to the region’s tourism landscape, opens up a range of new opportunities to investors,” Sheikh Mohammad said during the announcement of the project.

“’Dubai Harbour’ creates a venue for new investments that support our vision for this important sector and promises to further accelerate the expansion of the tourism industry in the UAE, which is already growing rapidly,” he added.

Dubai Harbour rendering (below) adjacent Palm Jumeirah Island.


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The new development will also include a shopping mall covering 3.5 million sq. feet, an events arena, luxurious residential buildings, hotels, offices, retail stores, public services, restaurants and cafes and ‘Dubai Lighthouse’, which appears to be Dubai’s modern nod to the fabled Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Indeed the ancient wonder of the world was around 130m high, and Dubai Lighthouse will have a reported height of 135m.

To be developed in phases, the ‘Dubai Harbour’ project will be completed in four years once ground has been broken, just in time for Dubai’s expected 2020 milestone of receiving 1-million cruise visitors per year.

A DP World official told Cruise Arabia & Africa that the focus of Dubai Harbour’s cruise terminal would be attracting global cruise lines to include Dubai as an overnight port call on their itineraries, while Mina Rashid would remain the primary port for Dubai to Dubai ‘turnaround’ cruises. Dubai is currently the homeport of five major cruise lines that sail in the Arabian Gulf throughout the winter cruise season.

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