Middle East Cruise News

AIDA Cruises appears to drop Dubai cruise itineraries for 2021/22 season

AIDA Cruises‘ planned Arabian Gulf cruise itineraries for the 2021/22 cruise season from Dubai have been removed from its website.

The German cruise line was scheduled to homeport its newest and largest mega-ship, AIDAcosma, in Dubai for the coming 2021/22 cruise season, but the ship is now not scheduled to sail any cruises until March next year.

AIDA drops Dubai 2021/22 cruises - AIDAcosma at sea

AIDAcosma at sea (rendering)

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AIDAcosma will instead be based in the Mediterranean, sailing roundtrip cruises from Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona from March, 2022 until October.

AIDA Cruises has suspended most cruise operations, except for those out of Germany, its home market, and fly-cruise packages to select destinations, such as Greece and the Canary Islands.

While the absence of any AIDA cruise ship in Dubai would be a blow for the coming cruise season, its possible that AIDA Cruises will schedule a Dubai cruise season later this year, once the epidemiological situation globally is more clear.

The emergence of the Indian strain of COVID-19, where case numbers have sky-rocketed, severely straining the Indian healthcare system, have caused concerns around the world that yet another wave of infections might spread across borders.

For this reason, many countries are still either barring their residents from travelling abroad, or urging them not to.

Germany is one such country, and with the vast majority of AIDA Cruises’ passengers being German, it makes a Dubai fly-cruise season unfeasible if they are not allowed to travel internationally.

AIDAprima and AIDAvita at the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal

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Despite the apparent cancellation of its 2021/22 Dubai cruise season, AIDA Cruises remains committed to the city as a cruise destination and homeport.

The German line was the first to use the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal near Palm Jumeirah and Jumeirah Beach Village, and said at the time that the new development enhances the appeal of Dubai as a cruise destination.

AIDA has steadily increased its capacity in the Middle East, upgrading from the 1,266-passenger AIDAvita in 2018 to the 3,300-passengers AIDAprima, before scheduling the now cancelled cruise season for the 5,252-passengers AIDAcosma.

When the cruise line was forced to cancel the 2020/21 Dubai cruise season due to ongoing travel restrictions, it kept both AIDAprima and the smaller AIDAvita in Dubai in warm lay-up, in the hope of being able to resume cruises.

AIDAprima has since left the region to restart cruises for AIDA out of Barcelona, Spain, while AIDAvita remain alongside at the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal.

Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to the cruise line to find out if it will be revising its Dubai cruise plans ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Editor’s note: several days after this story was published, AIDA Cruises confirmed that it has replaced AIDAcosma with sister ship AIDAnova.

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