Middle East Cruise News

Dubai rains on cruise passengers’ parade as unstable weather affects shore excursions

Three ships were in port in Dubai Tuesday, but unstable weather affected shore excursions for a number of the 6,000 or so passengers disembarking at Dubai Cruise Terminal.

The port calls of MSC Lirica, Azamara Quest and Mein Schiff 5 all coincided with the beginning of two days of unstable weather across the United Arab Emirates.

MSC Lirica is homeporting in Dubai for her winter Arabian Gulf cruise season

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The UAE’s National Center of Meteorology issued a “red alert” in Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khamaih (four of the seven Emirates that make up the UAE) warning the public to take care.

“Be extremely vigilant: Hazardous weather events of exceptional severity are forecast,” weather forecasters warned.

The heavy rainfall throughout the morning forced the cancellation or postponement of a number of popular Dubai shore excursions, such as Desert safaris, Wadi bashing and bike tours of tourist areas such as Dubai Marina, Business Bay and The Palm Jumeirah.

An official with Sharaf Travel, one of the official tour operators working with MSC Cruises, told Cruise Arabia & Africa the weather could wreak havoc on shore excursion plans.

“Today was not too bad,” said the official, who asked not to be named, “but there have been times before where several dozen tours for thousands of passengers all get cancelled because the traffic, flooding and so on is just too much.”

Azamara Quest and Mein Schiff 5 were also in port (Mein Schiff 5 is also homeporting in the city for the winter)

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“These scenarios are a nightmare, as an alternative has to be found for everyone at the last minute,” he added.

The current cruise season has been a particularly active one when it comes to weather-related disruptions.

Marella Cruises last month sought refuge in Dubai from bad weather, prompting a port call in Fujairah to be cancelled, while Costa Venezia also found the city inundated during heavy rain on her maiden port call during a re-positioning from Europe to Asia.

Of the three ships in port today, both Azamara Quest and Mein Schiff 5 will depart tonight. MSC Lirica will stay overnight at the cruise terminal and depart Wednesday evening.

Passengers shouldn’t expect the weather to clear tomorrow though, in fact, it will get worse according to meteorologists.

The National Centre for Meteorology has warned that rough sea conditions and heavy rain will last into Wednesday and possibly Thursday, with particularly heavy rain expected Wednesday morning.

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