Middle East Cruise News

How first Coronavirus cases in UAE might affect your Dubai cruise

All Dubai cruises are going ahead as normal, according to cruise lines homeporting in the UAE contacted by Cruise Arabia & Africa.

While the outbreak of coronavirus has not impacted Dubai cruise departures, it does appear to have had an impact on advance bookings as some cruise sales websites, such as Mirror Cruise have slashed prices since the WHO declared the virus a global health emergency.

“Mirror Cruise’slatest deals could offer the perfect excuse to bag some cheap winter sun holidays,” the site says of its promotion.

Costa Diadema alongside at the Dubai Cruise Terminal

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The cruise deals website has cutprices on a series of sailings from Dubai to Doha and Abu Dhabi – all on board Royal Caribbean’s ship Jewel of the Seas.

British Passengers can currently find deals on 10-night Dubai & Jewels of the Emirates cruises from £669pp instead of the usual price of £1,199pp, for departures in March, 2020.

The holidays include two nights in a hotel in Dubai before the seven-night cruise on board Jewel of the Seas.

However, its apparent that some potential passengers are holding off from booking their cruise holidays, or are trying to cancel altogether, especially now that coronavirus has been confirmed in the UAE just weeks after tensions with Iran and the West escalated.

UAE authorities have moved quickly to contain the spread of coronavirus in the UAE, with five people confirmed infected, and have stressed that the Ministry of Health has the situation under control.

There are nine cruise ships from eight cruise lines home-porting in Dubai this cruise season

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The virus began in China but has since spread to 12 countries worldwide, severely impacting cruise operations in Asia.

The UK is one of the largest markets for cruise tourists and travelers to Dubai in general, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not issue any travel warnings for Dubai when it updated its United Arab Emirates travel advice page to reflect the latest case.

“There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in China. There have also been cases reported in the UAE,” the statement says. “The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province but cases have been confirmed in other parts of China and in some countries, including the United Arab Emirates.”

“You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities,” it added.

Additional health screeninghas been put in place at two of the UAE’s busiest airports – Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while cruise lines operating from Dubai have announced they are stepping up screening measures.

New screening steps primarily involve passengers filling out a form to declare they have not visited mainland China during the past 30 days. Anyone who has will not be allowed to board.

MSC Cruises (home-porting Bellissima in Dubai for the current season) was one of the first lines to step-up its pre-boarding screening measures

Some cruise lines, including MSC, have also implemented no-touch temperature scans.

Passengers travelling to and from China are being screened on arrival at Dubai International, a precaution that is being done by flight hubs worldwide.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s largest airline, Emirates, says it will be taking “all the necessary precautions in accordance with the scientific recommendations, conditions and standards approved by the World Health Organisation.”

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