Dubai Cruise Terminal operator DP World has launched the first phase of its major re-development of the Middle East’s primary cruise port with the opening of Mina Rashid Marina.
The launch of the marina is part of DP World’s plans to convert the commercial cruise and shipping port into a luxury marina for superyacht owners, while still retaining its cruise operations.
The project, carried out by P&O, part of DP World, stretches over 13 square kilometres and features a number of facilities including an integrated entertainment city: Marina Cube, which features cafes, restaurants, retail shops, walking paths and an area for seaplanes to land.
The first 500 yacht berths have been built thus far, in the second and third phases a further 260 and 130 yacht berths will be added, along with the landside development outlined above. DP World said Monday that phase 3 would be completed by mid-2018.
“Cruise tourists coming to Dubai will have the best entertainment facilities awaiting them,” said Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World.
— Cruise Arabia (@CruiseArabia) November 20, 2017
The marina lies adjacent to the port’s two cruise terminals, with the QE2 berthed at Terminal 1. She is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment work and although no mention was made of her at the launch event, DP World officials have previously told Cruise Arabia & Africa that she will form part of the redeveloped cruise and yachting port.
By redeveloping Mina Rashid into a cruise port and yacht marina, DP World hopes to make it a luxury lifestyle destination within itself, with leisure facilities, cultural entertainment, hotels, villas, brokerage houses, chandlery services, maintenance facilities, crew training and more.
A common complaint Cruise Arabia & Africa hears from disembarking cruise passengers in the city is that the cruise terminal itself is world-class, but the port is ugly. The view from cruise ships in port in Dubai is not picturesque (as can be seen in the image above).
This project, turning the port into a little French Riviera in the Middle East, will change that and will in turn support further growth in the UAE’s burgeoning cruise market, which is on track to see more than one million cruise visitors to the UAE by 2020.
This cruise season alone, more than 800,000 cruise tourists will visit the country, with more than 500,000 of them departing on cruises from Dubai Cruise Terminal.
The first phase of the Mina Rashid Marina includes a 400-berth facility for 15-35m yachts, and some exclusive berths reserved for vessels over 100m, and is expected to open during the first quarter of 2017.
A conceptual image released to the media clearly shows the former Cunard ocean liner QE2 included as part of the marina and waterfront lifestyle development, although she was not mentioned in press material.
— Cruise Arabia (@CruiseArabia) November 11, 2015
DP World has not replied to a request for comment, DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem has previously assured Cruise Arabia & Africa that QE2 would not be scrapped and that there was a “new plan” for her.