Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises to get preferential docking rights at Dubai Cruise Terminal in Port Rashid

MSC Cruises has signed an agreement with the operator of Dubai Cruise Terminal to secure preferential berthing rights for its ships amid unprecedented growth in the regional cruise sector.

The agreement, signed during the maiden call of MSC Bellissima in Dubai this week, will secure prime positions at the Dubai Cruise Terminal for MSC Cruises vessels, meaning passengers will have a shorter walk to and from the ship, and will be able to disembark faster after docking.

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

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It comes as MSC Cruises increases its capacity in the Dubai cruise market to 180,000, and ahead of the launch of Dubai Harbour, a new cruise port adjacent The Palm Jumeirah, with space for an additional two cruise ships (even the largest in the world).

The length of the agreement wasn’t revealed, but in a statement MSC said it was “long-term”.

The contract was signed by the line’s CEO Gianni Onorato and Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannaei, CEO, P&O Marinas & Executive Director, Mina Rashid on-board MSC Bellissima during her maiden call ceremony at Port Rashid in Dubai.

“This new agreement with DP World is a continuation of what has been a successful partnership and establishes a longer-term framework for our operations out of Dubai that provides our cruise ships with preferential berthing rights at the Mina Rashid cruise terminal,” said Onorato.

“Our existing commitment to Dubai and the region is clearly demonstrated by MSC Bellissima’s presence this season, the most modern, as well as one of most environmentally-advanced, cruise ships to sail in the Gulf,” he added.

MSC Bellissima alongside at Dubai’s Cruise Terminal 3

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“We will strengthen that bond further in winter 2020/21 when we deploy the highly-innovative MSC Seaview, a ship especially designed to operate in warmer weathers, to serve the region.”

Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannaei, CEO – P&O Marinas & Executive Director, Mina Rashid, said the agreement marks a new high in a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

“The agreement with MSC Cruises for preferential berthing comes at a time when Mina Rashid has been experiencing a double digit increase in cruise tourist traffic. Key to this sterling performance is our flagship Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal (Cruise Terminal 3), the world’s single largest covered cruise facility capable of handling 14,000 passengers a day,” he said.

The agreement for preferential berthing rights comes as MSC Cruises begins its biggest ever cruise season out Dubai, with capacity for 180,000 passengers, during what is expected to be the busiest cruise season for the region as a whole, with Dubai as the primary homeport for eight cruise lines operating roundtrip cruises in the Arabian Gulf.

MSC Bellissima, which was launched in February of this year, will make 17 calls and spend 35 days in Dubai during the winter season until March 2020 and sail a range of 7-night itineraries in the Gulf.

MSC Cruises will also deploy MSC Lirica in the Gulf for this winter season with 11-night cruises as well as 14-night cruises calling in India.

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