Middle East Cruise News

Marella Cruises brings new ship Discovery to Dubai for 2019 cruise to Jordan

Newly re-branded Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) is returning to the Middle East in 2019 with Marella Discovery.

The cruise ship will cruise from Dubai to Aqaba in Jordan a year after Marella sailed its first ever Arabian Gulf cruise season out of Dubai with Thomson Celebration (now Marella Celebration).

Marella Discovery, which is actually the former Royal Caribbean ship Splendour of the Seas, will offer a Dubai cruise departure on April 11th, a 14-night cruise through the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea.

Marella Discovery

Marella Discovery sailed as TUI Discovery before Thomson Cruises was re-branded.

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This cruise is part of her re-positioning voyage from her Asian cruise season during winter to her summer season out of Corfu in the Mediterranean.

Marella Discovery, which formerly cruised roundtrip from Dubai as Splendour of the Seas, was acquired by Marella Cruises in late 2016 and handed over in 2017 at the end of the Arabian Gulf cruise season.

She was given a major multi-million pound refit and is now joint flagship with Marella Discovery 2, both of which are the largest ships in the Marella fleet at 1,830 passengers.

She boasts an extended line-up of bars and restaurants, climbing wall and on-deck movie screen – clear markers of its American heritage in the Royal Caribbean cruise line.

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There are 918 cabins with balcony cabins accounting for 40 per cent, the highest proportion of any Marella ship, plus six ocean view staterooms, added during the refit, with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Dining options are varied with five complimentary options and four speciality venues. The main restaurant, 47° – named after the latitude of the French shipyard where the vessel was built – is light and airy serving “traditional fare with a modern twist”.


Marella Discovery’s Dubai to Aqaba cruise will depart on April 11th and spend two nights in port in Dubai before heading out into the Arabian Gulf. Ports of call in the Gulf include Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Bahrain and Khasab, as well as Muscat and Salalah on the Indian Ocean coast.

Between Salalah and Aqaba in Jordan (the gateway to the ruins of Petra), Marella Discovery will spend three days at sea, cruising at full speed through the notorious Red Sea.

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