Middle East Cruise News

Nine cruise ships from record-breaking eight cruise lines to homeport in Dubai for 2019/2020

The 2019/2020 Middle East cruise season, which runs from November, 2019 to March, 2020 is set to be the busiest and most popular in the history of cruising in the Arabian Gulf, with eight cruise lines homeporting nine ships in Dubai.

Thus far, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises, TUI Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Pullmantur, P&O Cruises and Celebrity Cruises have all announced roundtrip Dubai cruise itineraries for the winter of 2019/2020.


Dubai’s 2019/2020 cruise season will be biggest and busiest yet.

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MSC Cruises for the first time will homeport two ships in Dubai, with MSC Bellissima and MSC Lirica cruising roundtrip in the Arabian Gulf and to India respectively.

MSC Lirica left and MSC Bellissima right.

Royal Caribbean will cruise roundtrip from Dubai with Jewel of the Seas, and Costa Cruises will be sending its largest cruise ship Costa Diadema to the region.

Jewel of the Seas right and Costa Diadema left.

Meanwhile, AIDA’s second-largest ship AIDAprima, and TUI’s Mein Schiff 5 will both be cruising roundtrip from Dubai for the German-speaking market, offering a laid-back low-cost cruise experience and a premium one respectively.

AIDAprima right and Mein Schiff 4 left.

Celebrity Cruises will be going head-to-head with MSC Cruises with Celebrity Constellation and MSC Lirica both cruising to India from Dubai (as well as Singapore!), and P&O Cruises will be deploying Oceana in Dubai for 10-night roundtrip Dubai to Mumbai cruises targeting the British cruise market.

Celebrity Constellation right and P&O’s Oceana right.

And the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur just confirmed that they will be re-deploying their little cruise ship Horizon in the Arabian Gulf, cruising roundtrip from Dubai on an itinerary identical to the coming 2018/2019 season.


Pullmantur’s Horizon.

The impressive diversity of cruise lines homeporting in Dubai is expected to boost the number of cruise tourists fly-cruising from the city in the coming cruise season, but is also testament to the efforts undertaken by the Dubai Cruise Tourism department to enhance the city’s appeal.


MSC Lirica at the quay at Dubai Cruise Terminal in Port Rashid.

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Working closely with other cruise destinations in the region, the Cruise Arabia Alliance has promoted the Arabian Gulf as a favoured winter cruise destination, while UAE officials has also slashed port charges for the Dubai Cruise Terminal, enticing cruise lines to try out of the region for inaugural cruise season.

This is what P&O and Pullmantur both did in the coming cruise season, and thanks to strong demand from their cruise markets, they’re now returning in 2019/2020 for their second cruise seasons in the region.


Paul Ludlow, Senior Vice President, P&O Cruises.

The popularity of Dubai as a cruise destination and embarkation port for Middle East cruise itineraries is “soaring”, according to Paul Ludlow, Senior Vice President, P&O Cruises.

“We are excited to be offering Dubai & Arabian Gulf cruises. The popularity of this region is soaring and these itineraries offer a mix of destinations, experiences and unique cultures complemented by a choice of unusual tours including camel racing and dune rides,” he says.

Ludlow added that the UK-based cruise line would be bringing a taste of Britain to the Middle East.

“[Deploying Horizon in Dubai] represents a significant milestone for the Spanish market since it is the first time a cruise company offers Spanish passengers a product tailored entirely to them in this part of the world,” says Richard J Vogel, CEO and president of Pullmantur Cruises.

“The Arabian Gulf has one of the most stable winter climates in the world, in fact after the Caribbean it’s one of the most ideal winter cruise destinations in the world,” says Steven Young, Director Port Services & Government Affairs, P&O Cruises and Cunard, Carnival UK. “And the cruise infrastructure development in the region is second to none.”

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