Middle East Cruise News

Marella Cruises confirms second roundtrip Dubai cruise season for 2020/21

Marella Cruises has released its 2020/21 Winter cruise itineraries, confirming Marella Celebration’s deployment in the Arabian Gulf out of Dubai.

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The British cruise line will sail it’s second cruise season in the Middle East after deploying Celebration in Dubai during 2016/17, a season that the cruise line said had been extremely popular.

There were rumours earlier this week that the cruise line might be returning to the region, but it wasn’t confirmed until the cruise line released its itineraries for the November, 2020 to March, 2021 season.


Marella is the tenth cruise line to confirm a Dubai cruise season for 2020/21

“We’re really pleased to share details of our winter 2020 programme,” said Chris Hackney, managing director, Marella Cruises. “Our customers loved being able to book their summer holidays earlier than ever so it seemed only natural to offer this flexibility for winter too.”

“We’re always looking at ways we can offer even more choice to the destinations that customers really want to visit and given the popularity in tourism to Dubai it seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to have one of the fleet homeport there again.”


Marella will be one of the only Dubai homeporting cruise lines to feature Khor Fakkan as a regular port call

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Marella Celebration will arrive in Dubai on December 15th, 2020 and begin a season of 16 roundtrip cruises from the city until March, 2021. Each cruise will be 7-nights and will visit several cities in the Arabian Gulf.

The cruise season will feature two versions of these week-long itineraries, Arabian Nights and Cities of Gold.


The Cities of Gold cruise itinerary departs Dubai and calls in Bahrain, Khasab, and Abu Dhabi, staying overnight in Dubai on the first night of the cruise.


The Arabian Nights itinerary, on the other hand, will also cruise from Dubai (again staying overnight in port on the first night of the cruise), but will instead call in Doha, Qatar, before cruising for Muscat, Khorfakkan and Abu Dhabi.

This itinerary will make Marella Cruises the first of the ten cruise lines homeporting in Dubai to use the new Khorfakkan Cruise Terminal as part of a regular fixture during the season.

The deployment of Marella Celebration in Dubai puts Marella Cruises in direct competition with fellow British cruise line P&O Cruises, which is homeporting Oceana in Dubai during the same season.


Marella (then known as Thomson Cruises) homeported Celebration in Dubai during the 2016/17 season

Marella Celebration is a totally different kind of cruise ship to Oceana though. Built in 1984 (two years before I was born!) she is a vintage cruise liner offering a more laid-back, low-key cruise experience, with an injection of the family-fun and nighttime party atmosphere for which Marella is known.

Carrying a maximum of 1,380 passengers, this 214m grand lady of the seas has three dining rooms, six bars and cafes, a Broadway show lounge, large casino, music lounge, a dedicated entertainment lounge and (my favourite place on-board) the Horizon’s observation lounge with views over the bow.

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