Middle East Cruise News

Meraas appoints ASGC to build Dubai’s new Palm Jumeirah cruise terminal

The new Dubai Cruise Terminal within the Dubai Harbour development on the Palm Jumeirah will be built by ASGC, Meraas, the property giant behind the project, has announced.

The new Dubai Cruise Terminal is intended to create a unique entry experience to all cruise ship passengers who arrive in the city, Meraas said in a release.

The new cruise terminal will have a daily passenger capacity of 15,000 guests across its 300,000 square feet combined floor area. According to Meraas, it will be able to accommodate two ships simultaneously.


Rendering of the Dubai Harbour project

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Meraas and Dubai Cruise Tourism have not confirmed it, but this means that the new cruise terminal is being designed to accommodate the new World-class MSC cruise ships and the Oasis-class Royal Caribbean cruise ships, both of which carry in excess of 6,000 passengers.

Work conducted by ASGC on the project will include the construction of two main cruise terminal buildings strategically positioned on a quay of approximately 1km, in addition to service buildings, a central unit building, external works, and all fixtures, fittings and equipment.


The new Dubai Cruise Terminal within Dubai Harbour will accommodate two ships carrying in excess of 6,000 passengers

“Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of reputable cruise liners visiting [Dubai] and our ongoing partnership with key stakeholders is testament to delivering top-class cruise facilities and providing distinctive services to enhance the tourists’ experience, marking Dubai as a significant destination for cruise tourists worldwide,” said Jamal Alfalasi, director of Dubai Cruise Tourism.

With the city primed for its largest cruise season in history this coming winter, and even more passengers anticipated for the 2020/21 cruise season, it is expected that the new cruise terminal at Dubai Harbour will complement existing facilities in Port Rashid, the current primary cruise port in the region.

During November, 2017 and March, 2018 725,000 cruise tourists boarded cruise ships in Dubai, with 150 cruise itineraries operated by 20 cruise lines sailing from the city. This reflects an increase of over 15 per cent when compared to the same period last year.


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By 2030, it is expected that cruise tourism will contribute AED 1.5-billion to the UAE’s economy, while more than 1-million cruise passengers are expected to cruise from Dubai during the 2020/21 cruise season.

This growth comes amid ongoing expansion of the global cruise sector. More than 40-million people worldwide will be traveling on cruise ships annually by 2030, according to the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA), up 40% from the 28-million that went on a cruise in 2017.

Hamad bin Mejren, senior vice-president, Dubai Tourism, says the plan is for Dubai to capitalize on this and leverage the city’s position as a year-round ‘must-visit’ destination for cruise tourists, welcoming multiple international cruise lines to operate regular international itineraries out of the city.


Dubai Harbour will include one of the tallest lighthouses in the world, modeled after the Lighthouse of Alexandria

“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 said.

While industry experts generally agree that year-round cruising in the Arabian Gulf is near to impossible given the summer climate, at least for the mainstream European and American cruise lines, new entrants to the market such as Jalesh Cruises, have begun to test the waters.

Jalesh Cruises is sailing its first-ever Middle East cruise season out of Dubai aboard its first cruise ship Karnika. It is also the first time any cruise ship has homeported in Dubai during the summer, the hottest months of the year.

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