Middle East Cruise News

Only three cruise ships remain in Dubai, waiting out the global cruise shutdown

Only AIDAvita and MSC Bellissima remain docked in Port Rashid, while MSC Lirica is waiting out the global shutdown of the cruise industry at anchor off Dubai.

In the weeks after the global shutdown of the cruise industry was announced, Port Rashid, the primary cruise port in the Arabian Gulf, became one of the busiest in the world, with up to 10 stranded ships docked.

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The port almost exceeded its total capacity and some ships had to spend time at anchor in rotation until  Costa Diadema and Mein Schiff 5  departed for Europe and Seven Seas Voyager was relocated to Abu Dhabi’s Port Zayed.

Horizon of Pullmantur Cruises, Norwegian Jade of Norwegian Cruise Line and Nautica of Oceania Cruises were also kept in hot lay-up in Port Rashid, along with AIDAprima and Celebrity Constellation.

MSC Bellissima has been docked in Dubai since March

It’s unclear when AIDAvita, MSC Bellissima and MSC Lirica will depart the region, which is traditionally devoid of any cruise ships between May and October during the hot summer months.

MSC Cruises has previously indicated that MSC Fantasia will homeport in Dubai for the coming 2020/21 cruise season and not MSC Lirica and MSC Seaview as was previously planned.

MSC Fantasia in Marseille

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MSC Bellissima has not confirmed cruise itineraries until August, 2022, when she will homeport in Shanghai, while MSC Lirica is scheduled to homeport in Venice, cruising the Mediterranean, from August this year.

AIDAvita, meanwhile, is due to cruise a series of voyages from Hamburg in September, before repositioning to Singapore, with an October 26th, 2020 cruise from Dubai to the island city-state.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Dubai’s cruise sector was one of the fastest growing in the world and on-track to hit the 1-million annual cruise tourist target a year early. But the 2019/2020 cruise season was brought to a sudden halt by the virus.

It’s unclear how many cruise lines will homeport ships in the region in the coming year as most appear to be focusing on their home source markets and homeports within driving distance of those markets.

The long-term outlook remains bright though, with the world’s largest cruise ship, MSC Cruises new Meravigilia Plus class cruise ship, AIDA Cruises’ largest ship and the second-largest class of cruise ship in the world all due to cruise from the region in 2022.

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