Middle East Cruise News

MSC Bellissima begins maiden Dubai cruise season as largest-ever homeporting ship

MSC Bellissima has kicked off her 2019/2020 Arabian Gulf cruise season out of Dubai, becoming the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in the city.

At the time of writing, MSC Bellissima was midway through her inaugural roundtrip cruise from Dubai, a 7-night voyage visiting the UAE’s Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas Island, and Muscat and Khasab in Oman.

On the final night of the cruise she will stay overnight in port in Dubai.

MSC Bellissima is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in Dubai

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This itinerary will alternate with another featuring different ports in the region. The second itinerary also features port calls in Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas Island, but switches out Muscat and Khasab for Doha and Bahrain instead.

Because the itinerary changes weekly, a 14-night back-to-back cruise can also be booked, enabling passengers to visit all the ports on a butterfly itinerary.

The central promenade entertainment complex aboard MSC Bellissima

MSC Bellissima will cruise from Dubai until the end of March next year when she will reposition to Asia, sailing roundtrip out of Shanghai and Tianjin in China on 4 and 5-night cruises.

At 167,800 gross tons and carrying 4,488 passengers, MSC Bellissima is in the same size class as Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class cruise ships, or Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-class vessels.

She is by far the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in Dubai, underscoring the Italian cruise line’s commitment to the region’s cruise sector.

MSC Bellissima is actually one of two ships MSC is homeporting in Dubai during the current cruise season. She is joined by MSC Lirica, a much smaller ship offering a totally different on-board experience.

MSC Lirica alongside in Abu Dhabi

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MSC Lirica will arrive in Dubai on December 10th and begin a program of 7 to 14-night roundtrip cruises in the Arabian Gulf.

Both itineraries are essentially the same as those offered by MSC Bellissima, except that on February 29th, 2020 she will sail a two-week roundtrip cruise from Dubai to India, visiting Mumbia, Goa, Mangalore, Muscat, Khor Fakkan, and Abu Dhabi.

MSC Cruises first tried out homeporting two cruise ships in Dubai during last year’s cruise season, to great success.

“We have seen strong demand for our quality product offering from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Our modern ships and distinctive, quality cruise experience are an appealing way for travellers to explore the rich and diverse experiences that the UAE can offer,” MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said at the time.

“Introducing India to MSC Cruises’ winter 2018/2019 itineraries demonstrates how our significant investment plan is enabling us to expand our global footprint and establish a presence in a high-potential market, one that we expect to grow considerably over the coming years,” he added.

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