Middle East Cruise News

UAE reveals fines for cruise ships and passengers who break anti-COVID-19 rules

The UAE has announced a new set of fines relating to measures being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including thousands of dollars in penalties for cruise lines and passengers that violate health and safety protocols.

While the UAE’s cruise sector is currently between seasons (the previous 2019/2020 season having been shut down early due to the pandemic), the coming 2020/21 cruise season is expected to open in December with at least two cruise lines having confirmed that they’ll homeport in the city.

AIDAvita and MSC Bellissima in port in Dubai

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However, the UAE authorities are taking no chances and have announced fines of AED10,000 for any cruise companies that operate cruises without official sanction from the government, or any cruise lines that fail to adhere to precautionary measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

It’s still unclear what those measures are, but they’re likely to mirror those introduced for the limited resumption of cruises in Europe.

Cruise passengers going ashore will face a AED3,000 fine if they fail to wear a face mask.

A drive-through rapid covid testing facility has been opened at Dubai’s Mina Rashid cruise port.

The move comes as part of the UAE’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus throughout the country, with cases recently having increased to record levels.

The list, issued by state news-agency Wam, was re-released following the closure of an overcrowded restaurant in Satwa, a cafe in Karama and an Abu Dhabi wedding at a private home.

A surge in Covid-19 cases in early September led to the UAE hitting a high on Saturday with a record 1,007 new cases in a single day.

So far, only MSC Cruises and AIDA Cruises have announced confirmed cruise itineraries for the upcoming Arabian Gulf cruise season.

AIDAprima will return to Dubai for the 2020/21 season

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Both will cruise round trip from Dubai on week long cruises visiting Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Oman. However, travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is still heavily regulated, and Oman and Qatar only this month allowed the limited resumption of tourist arrivals.

The season traditionally runs from November to March each year, with nine cruise ships from eight cruise lines having homeported in Dubai during the previous cruise season.

Costa Cruises has publicly available roundtrip Dubai cruise itineraries available for booking on its website, but unlike MSC and AIDA, has not confirmed whether it will in fact be returning Costa Diadema to Dubai.

Scheduled cruise itineraries have been cancelled at the last minute throughout the year by cruise lines as they struggle to adapt to ongoing travel restrictions and evolving anti-COVID health and safety measures.

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