Middle East Cruise News

Bahrain says cruise port ready as Dubai boom impacts its tourism numbers

For the first time ever, Bahrain will welcome more than 120,000 cruise tourists to the Arabian Gulf island nation, benefiting from the ongoing boom in the Dubai cruise sector.

The expected 124,425 cruise passengers will arrive at Khalifa Bin Salman Port throughout the 2019/2020 season aboard 61 itineraries featuring Bahrain as a port call.

All 61 of those itineraries will begin in Dubai on cruise ships either homeporting in the Arabian Gulf for the winter season, or cruising through it on their repositioning voyages between the Asian and European markets.

Cruise passengers disembark Mein Schiff 5 in Bahrain at start of 2019/2020 cruise season

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The cruise ships will call at Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), operated by APM Terminals, which this week welcomed its first ship of the season.

TUI Cruises’ ship Mein Schiff 5, carrying 2,351 passengers docked at the port to a traditional Bahraini welcome, during a season in which Bahrain will celebrate ten years of hosting cruise ships at the port.

The maiden cruise season in 2009 saw just 4,938 cruise passengers coming to Bahrain.

Susan Hunter, CEO and Managing Director of APM Terminals Bahrain said: “This has been an important year for us as we mark a decade of bringing cruise tourism to Bahrain.

“Through our collaborative efforts with government entities, we continue to enhance our cruise facilities to make Bahrain an-all seasons destination for luxury ships touring the GCC. We’re confident this will help boost Bahrain’s tourism economy,” she added.

Passengers received a traditional Bahraini welcome at the port

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“As the regulator of the port and maritime related infrastructure, we are committed in ensuring that Khalifa Bin Salman Port is fully equipped in handling and providing services to attract and enhance cruise tourism to Bahrain,” said Bader Hood Al Mahmood, Assistant Undersecretary for Ports Affairs.

“We work hand in hand with APM Terminals in attracting cruise liners and boosting Bahrain as a destination of choice,” he added.

Bahrain is a popular destination on Dubai cruise itineraries as it provides a fascinating look into the ancient history of the region with archaeological sites dating back to 2300 BC.

Remnants of this ancient merchant culture have been found at an archaeological dig near Bahrain Fort (Qal’at al-Bahrain), one of the country’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which is included in the shore excursion options of most cruise lines calling here.

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