Middle East Cruise News

Costa appears to cancel its 2020/21 Dubai cruise season aboard Diadema

Costa Cruises has removed all Dubai cruise itineraries for the 2020/21 winter cruise season from its website, suggesting it has cancelled Costa Diadema’s homeporting season in Dubai.

Costa Diadema, the second-largest cruise ship in the line’s fleet, was due to arrive in Dubai October 20th, 2020, commencing a series of week-long roundtrip cruises from Dubai until March, 2021.

Costa Diadema in port in Dubai during the recent 2019/2020 cruise season.

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However, on the cruise line’s website, the soonest Dubai cruise departures are now only in November, 2021, the beginning of next year’s cruise season.

While the decision will certainly be a blow to the Middle East cruise sector, it isn’t unexpected.

Costa Cruises had signaled that it might drop its 2020/21 Dubai cruises earlier this week when it announced a redesign of its 2020 deployments, without any mention of the Middle East.

AIDA Cruises and MSC Cruises are the only two cruise lines to have confirmed Dubai cruise itineraries for 2020/21

Only two cruise lines have confirmed via press statements that they will be returning to Dubai for the coming winter season. MSC Cruises will homeport MSC Fantasia in Dubai, while AIDA Cruises will be sending it’s LNG-powered mega ship AIDAprima.

A further two cruise lines (TUI and Azamara) have Dubai roundtrip Arabian Gulf cruises scheduled, but haven’t publicly confirmed they’re returning to the city.

Costa Smeralda was delivered to Costa Cruises last year and may be deployed in Dubai next year

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Tourism officials in Dubai only recently confirmed that the Dubai cruise season would be going ahead, and while Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai Tourism struck an upbeat note in his statement, major challenges remain.

“The cruise sector in Dubai has always shown great potential and sustainable year-on-year growth,” he said. “Dubai is open for business and looking forward to receiving tourists for the new cruise season by the fall.”

While Costa Cruises’ decision to pull out of Dubai for the coming season is a dissapointment, we can take comfort in the fact that next year it will be homeporting its current flagship in the city.

Costa Smeralda will cruise roundtrip from Dubai on week-long itineraries in the Arabian Gulf from November, 2021 through to March, 2022, visiting Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

This is according to its published cruise schedules online, and hasn’t been confirmed in a statement by the line. Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to Costa for comment.

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