Cruise Destinations

Sir Bani Yas Island to get dedicated cruise jetty for mega cruise ships

Sir Bani Yas Island is to get a US $100-million cruise jetty that will allow two cruise ships to dock simultaneously, according to a release from Abu Dhabi Ports.

The operator of Abu Dhabi’s Port Zayed cruise port, as well as the offshore island of Sir Bani Yas said the new cruise pier would be completed by the end of 2020, in time for the new 2020/21 cruise season.

The new jetty will increase the number of passengers able to go ashore per day at Sir Bani Yas Island

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The new jetty will enable up to 5,000 passengers to embark and disembark “at an accelerated rate” from the southeast of the Sir Bani Yas Island, the company said.

Sir Bani Yas Island, located 280 nautical miles from Abu Dhabi, is the only dedicated cruise beach stopover in the Arabian Gulf.

Cruise ships currently calling at Sir Bani Yas Island have to anchor offshore and ferry passengers ashore in tenders.

In addition to being the only cruise beach stopover in the region, it is also the only cruise destination where tenders are used (as well as Khassab in Oman). For many passengers, it’s a nice novelty, but for those with limited mobility and wheelchair users, it can be inconvenient.

Passengers are currently ferried ashore by tender

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The development plan also comes as cruise ships sailing in the region get ever larger. MSC Cruises, which has signed a preferential berthing deal with Abu Dhabi Ports for the island, will be homeporting MSC Virtuosa in Dubai for the 2021/2022 cruise season.

Alongside the current Dubai-based MSC Bellissima, she will be the largest cruise ship ever to spend a full cruise season in the Arabian Gulf. But other cruise lines homeporting in Dubai (in particular Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Royal Caribbean) have all increased their tonnage as well.

Dutch construction giants BAM International have been awarded the contract to design and construct the new jetty, according to a statement from Abu Dhabi Ports, which operates Sir Bani Yas anchorage and Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi City.

The development of the jetty will “significantly increase the total number of visitors to the island, and reduce the time it takes to move them to and from a vessel,” said Abu Dhabi cruise terminal director Noura Al Dhaheri.

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