Middle East Cruise News

Dubai will hit 1-million cruise tourist target a year early as ships get bigger

More than a million cruise tourists are expected to visit Dubai during the coming 2019/2020 cruise season, according to tourism officials.

As Cruise Arabia & Africa previously reported, the coming cruise season, which officially began in October with the arrival of Mein Schiff 5, will be the busiest on record, but now Dubai Cruise Tourism has confirmed the staggering numbers.

The upcoming 2019/2020 season is expected to see more than 200 port calls in Dubai by the eight cruise ships homeporting in the city and an estimated one million cruise visitors.

all set for new cruise season

dubai’s 2019/2020 cruise season began with the joint arrival of mein schiff 5 and aidavita

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A further 60+ port calls will be made by cruise ships repositioning between East and West or on Grand Voyages through the region.

This follows a successful 2018/2019 cruise season when Dubai saw a record increase of over 51% in cruise tourism numbers with nearly 850,000 tourists and 152 port calls.

The rapid growth in numbers is largely a result of cruise lines increasing the size of the ship’s they’re homeporting in Dubai – while passenger numbers have increased 51% year-on-year, the number of cruise ship calls has increased 38%.

MSC Cruises will base its largest cruise ship MSC Bellissima in the region, Costa Cruises is sending its second-largest ship to Dubai, Costa Diadema, and AIDA Cruises has made its second-largest cruise ship AIDAprima, an annual Arabian Gulf fixture for the past two years.

The coming cruise season, from October, 2019 to March, 2020, will see five cruise ships make maiden calls to Dubai – Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema, MSC Cruises’ MSC Bellissima, and Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas (all three of which are homeporting in Dubai), and Croisieurope’s La Belle Des Oceans and TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6.

dubai cruise ships

like last year, the coming season will see five cruise ships in port simultaneously on multiple days

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La Belle Des Oceans and Mein Schiff 6 will both be making one-off calls in Dubai during the season, using the city as a turnaround port for beginning new cruise itineraries. La Belle Des Oceans is a cruising yacht similar to Crystal Esprit, which is homeporting in the Arabian Gulf.

The cruise liners will homeport at Dubai’s award-winning Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal, home to world-class facilities capable of handling seven mega-cruise vessels at one time.

dubai cruise terminal

In fact, the terminal will receive five cruise vessels in a single day on 11 occasions throughout this season and six cruise vessels in a single day twice throughout the season.

In April, Mina Rashid won the Middle East’s Leading Cruise Terminal Award for the 12th consecutive time at the World Travel Awards 2019, along with WTA’s prestigious World’s Leading Cruise Port Award for 11 years in a row since 2008.

dubai canal

“Dubai has continued to strengthen its position as the leading cruise hub in the region, and is now the preferred destination for cruise travellers looking to experience the diversity of Dubai’s tourism offerings including the Arabian hospitality, culture and heritage,” says Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Tourism.

“Last season, we witnessed remarkable growth in visitor footfall and international cruise liners opting to dock at the award-winning Mina Rashid cruise terminal, reflecting Dubai’s ongoing efforts to provide international visitors with holistic and world-class services throughout their journeys,” he added.

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