Middle East Cruise News

Mein Schiff 4 kicks off 2018/2019 Arabian Gulf cruise season with Dubai cruise

In a sign of the German cruise market’s ongoing love-affair with the Dubai cruises, Mein Schiff 4 of TUI Cruises was the first cruise ship to begin her 2018/2019 Arabian Gulf cruise season out of Dubai this week.

Mein Schiff 4 is the first of seven cruise ships that will homeport in Dubai between November, 2018 and March, 2019, with that number due to increase to eight ships by next year’s season.


Mein Schiff 4 is the first to begin 2018/2019 Dubai cruise season.

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Mein Schiff 4 arrived in Dubai on November 4th at the end of a 16-night cruise from Iraklion, Greece. She spent the night in port and then took on new passengers on Monday, spending another night in port before departing on a 7-night roundtrip cruise Tuesday.

She’ll visit Mina Sulman, Bahrain; Doha, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, UAE, before returning to Dubai. Her Arabian Gulf cruise season will involve butterfly cruise itineraries alternating between the eastern and western parts of the Arabian Gulf, but every cruise will begin and end in Dubai.

TUI Cruises is a German cruise line, and German cruise passengers love Arabian Gulf cruises, so Mein Schiff 4 is beginning her Middle East cruise program several weeks before any of the other cruise ships homeporting in Dubai.

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Spanish cruise line Pullmantur will begin its Dubai cruise season on December 8th with the cruise ship Horizon, while MSC Cruises two-ship line-up for Dubai, MSC Lirica and MSC Splendida, won’t arrive until two days after that.

Costa Cruises will be homeporting Costa Mediterranea in Dubai from late December onwards, while AIDA Cruises’ ship AIDAprima, and P&O Cruises’ ship Oceana won’t arrive in Dubai until January for their roundtrip Dubai cruise itineraries.

Getting these cruise line to increase the length of time they spend homeporting in Dubai is a key goal of Dubai cruise tourism officials, but experts say that despite the three-month window for roundtrip cruises in the Arabian Gulf, cruise tourism in the region continues to grow significantly.

“Cruise tourism within the Arabian Gulf has experienced explosive growth over the past five years,” says Chris Hayman, chairman, Seatrade UBM EMEA.

“As deployment continues to boom, destinations across the region have already made major investments in cruise terminal facilities to accommodate an expanding fleet of ships, which are increasing in capacity from season to season.”

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