Middle East Cruise News

Record-breaking ten cruise lines to homeport in Dubai for 2020/21 cruise season

As many as ten cruise lines will make Dubai a homeport for the 2020/21 winter cruise season in the Arabian Gulf, according to Hamad Bin Mejren, senior vice president, Dubai Tourism.

“Dubai is primed as a year-round ‘must-visit’ destination for cruise tourists, welcoming multiple international cruise lines to operate regular international itineraries out of the city,” said Bin Mejren on the side-lines of Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami.

The 2020/21 cruise season in Dubai will break all previous records according to Dubai Tourism

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“We are committed to actively working with our robust network of local, regional and global partners to continue to highlight Dubai’s ease of accessibility,” he added.

The UAE has introduced a six month multi-entry visa exclusively for the crew of cruise ships free of cost, a low cost multi-entry UAE visit visa exclusively for cruise tourists, and visa on arrival for over 50 nationalities boarding cruise ships in the city.

“We have also simplified immigration and cruise-specific visa procedures on our online portals,” he said.

Homeport status injects more money into Dubai’s local economy because passengers tend to spend more

All of these initiatives were taken to Seatrade Cruise Global where Dubai Cruise Tourism promoted the city as a turnaround port and seasonal hub to executives of international cruise lines attending the event.

Crucial leads were generated as a result with ten international cruise lines confirming they would make Dubai their winter home port during the 2020/21 season, according to Dubai Cruise Tourism.

“This will result in over ten cruise ships sailing out of Dubai every week on a round trip international itinerary, offering diversified choices across all budgets and demographics – including boutique, ultra-luxury and mega-ships,” the organisation said in a release.

MSC Bellissima is the largest cruise ship in the MSC fleet, and the largest ever to homeport in Dubai

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During the coming 2019/2020 cruise season, nine cruise ships from eight cruise lines will homeport in the city, according to published itinerary information.

The same number are currently scheduled for the 2020/21 cruise season, although Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to Dubai Tourism to find out who the two new cruise lines are.

Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas will be homeporting in Dubai for the 2019/2020 season.

The development will take the city even closer to its ambitious goal of entering the coveted 1-million-plus cruise tourist club, joining the likes of Hong Kong, New Orleans, Naples, Genoa, Seattle and Tampa – all of which get around 1-million cruise tourists per year.

During the 2017/18 cruise season, Dubai received 725,000 cruise tourists aboard 20 cruise ships that made 150 port calls in the city. That was a 15% increase on the year before, while the current 2018/19 season is expected to bring more than 800,000 cruise tourists to the city.

Being a homeport is more economically impactful than only being a popular port of call as the majority of cruise tourists fly into the city to board ships at Dubai Cruise Terminal. Many of them will also stay in hotels in the city before or after their cruise, injecting even more money into the local economy.

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