Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises to get preferential berthing rights in Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas Island

MSC Cruises has added Abu Dhabi’s Port Zayed and Sir Bani Yas Island to the list of locations in the Arabian Gulf at which it will get preferential berthing and anchoring rights, enhancing the cruise experience for passengers in the region.

The announcement, made at the cruise line’s Geneva, Switzerland headquarters by CEO Gianni Onorato and Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, Director of Cruise Business, Abu Dhabi Ports, comes just weeks after MSC signed a similar deal with Dubai Cruise Terminal.

MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato and Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, Director of Cruise Business, Abu Dhabi Ports.

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Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said the deal was a natural step for MSC Cruises, which is the largest cruise operator in the region (MSC Cruises has two ships homeporting in the UAE for the current and future seasons), and demonstrates the line’s long-term commitment to growth in the Middle East cruise sector.

“Abu Dhabi is a very important embarkation port and popular destination for shore visits during winter cruises,” he said. “We are currently serving the city and Sir Bani Yas Island with both MSC Bellissima, the most modern and one of the most environmentally-advanced cruise ships to sail in the Gulf, and MSC Lirica.”

MSC Lirica will return to the Arabian Gulf in the winter 2020/2021 cruise season, sailing roundtrip from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. She will be joined by the highly-innovative MSC Seaview, a ship especially designed to operate in warmer weather.

MSC Lirica alongside in Abu Dhabi

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“Looking further ahead, we will deploy our biggest ship to the Gulf region for winter 2021/2022 with MSC Virtuosa,” Onorato added.

While Cruise Arabia & Africa reported on the deployment plans for Virtuosa last year, this is the first time it has been confirmed by the cruise line.

MSC Bellissima alongside at Dubai’s Cruise Terminal 3 (Virtuosa will be even larger)

For the coming season, MSC Seaview will sail 14 cruises between December, 2020 and March, 2021 from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Sir Bani Yas Island, Manama in Bahrain, Doha in Qatar and Muscat and Khassab in Oman.

The exact destinations on each cruise depend on the specific itinerary, see more here.

MSC Lirica meanwhile will offer 21 cruises between November, 2020 and April, 2021 from Abu Dhabi and Dubai with calls to Sir Bani Yas; Muscat in Oman and other destinations in the Gulf.

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