Middle East Cruise News

Norwegian Jade cruises from Dubai to Singapore with every berth fully booked

Norwegian Jade’s first ever cruise from Dubai has gone down a treat with Norwegian Cruise Line’s passengers, according to Eamonn Ferrin, VP & MD, UKIMEA, who says the Dubai to Singapore 17-night itinerary sold out months ago.

“Unfortunately, we can’t show you any cabins, because they’re all fully booked,” he told Cruise Arabia & Africa during a tour of the ship in port on Thursday. Later on, in a follow-up discussion, he said that while Dubai is certainly a popular embarkation port, Norwegian would like to see it grow further before committing to a homeport season.

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“It’s very popular, and is a great location between Asia and the Mediterranean, which are two hugely popular destinations, so it’s good for repositioning cruises like this, but we prefer to homeport in cities like Civitavecchia or Barcelona, cities with a massive cruise appeal,” he said, when asked if Norwegian had any plans to homeport in Dubai (a long-circulating rumour).

For comparison, Civitavecchia (the gateway port for Rome) will see 499 cruise ship port calls in 2020, while Barcelona will see 674. These ports got 2.2-million and 2.5-million cruise passengers respectively in 2017.

For the current cruise season in Dubai, the largest on record, the city will break the one-million mark for the first time.

The pool deck aboard Norwegian Jade

Asked whether it was because of the comparatively small size of the Middle East cruise source market, Ferrin said Norwegian Cruise Line’s bread-and-butter comes from the fly-cruise sector anyway.

“We source globally for our cruises, in Asia, for example, the majority of our guests are fly-cruise passengers from all over the world,” he said.

Norwegian Jade was cruising from Dubai to Singapore to begin her winter cruise season sailing roundtrip out of Singapore and Hong Kong until February next year, when she will return to Dubai to do another turnaround on her way back to Europe.

Norwegian Jade alongside at the Dubai Cruise Terminal

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The cruise ship sailed from Dubai still fresh from a major refit and refurbishment conducted in 2017 as part of the fleetwide Norwegian Edge program.

The ship received enhancements to every part of the onboard experience.

O’Sheehan’s Irish Pub aboard Norwegian Jade

Two new bars were introduced (O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill was added above the lobby along with Sugarcane Mojito Grill offering traditional mojitos and mojito flights).

The refit also included two new restaurants and lounges (Bliss Ultra Lounge aims to give guests the feel of a Miami nightclub on deck seven, while The Pit Stop, serves poolside fare in a 1950’s style diner atmosphere).

The Pit Stop above the pool deck on Norwegian Jade

All the public spaces were updated in design and decor, and all staterooms were also refurbished.

“We stripped her back to the bare steel,” said Ferrin. “When we do these projects we don’t mess around, we’re investing $100-million in the refurbishment of Norwegian Spirit.”

Norwegian Spirit is slightly smaller and older than Norwegian Jade, having been built in 1998, but if the results of the refurbishment of Norwegian Jade are anything to go by, she will look and feel like a brand-new ship when she leaves the refit yard.

Norwegian Spirit will cruise from Dubai and Cape Town next year, followed by Norwegian Dawn in 2021, as Norwegian Cruise Line continues to toy with the idea of upping its presence in both markets.

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