Middle East Cruise News

MSC Opera and AIDAnova offer Dubai and Abu Dhabi as 2021/22 homeport

Two of the five cruise ships homeporting in Dubai for the 2021/22 winter cruise season will offer Abu Dhabi as a homeport as well.

MSC Opera and AIDAnova will both interport between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, meaning cruise passengers will be able to choose either city as their embarkation port for the ships’ Arabian Gulf itineraries.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi is a fast-growing cruise destination alongside Dubai. During the 2018/2019 cruise season, the city was visited by more than 500,000 cruise tourists on more than 190 cruise calls.

The city has announced that it is reopening to cruise tourism in September, bringing the city in-line with Dubai, which reopened to cruises in late 2020.

No cruise ships homeported in either city during the 2020/21 cruise season, however, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

MSC Opera’s Abu Dhabi cruises will be the same as those from Dubai, it will just visit the destinations in the Arabian Gulf in a different order.

When sailing from Abu Dhabi as the homeport, MSC Opera will visit the cruise island destination of Sir Bani Yas Island, as well as Muscat and Dubai, where she will spend two nights in port.

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AIDAnova meanwhile will skip Sir Bani Yas Island, spending the night in port in Muscat instead, while she will also stay overnight twice in Dubai, before returning to Abu Dhabi and spending another night in port.

The cruises aboard AIDAnova are therefore a more port-focused itinerary on which passengers will have loads of time to fully explore each destination.

The ship, however, is a destination all on its own. Carrying 5,000 passengers and displacing 180,000-gross tons she’s among the biggest cruise ships ever to spend a full season in the region, and features as many restaurants, cafes and onboard attractions as a small city.

According to a press release, guests will have extensive options for dining and entertainment with 17 restaurants and 23 bars.

The ship also features a rock-climbing wall, a waterpark with a double water slide and a spacious pool deck at the stern, which extends across the entire width of the ship and is home to a large infinity pool.

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