Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises to launch Saudi cruise program early with MSC Bellissima in 2021

MSC Cruises has announced it is moving the start of its first ever Saudi Arabian cruise season up to July, with MSC Bellissima due to homeport in Jeddah between late July and October.

MSC Bellissima will cruise roundtrip from Jeddah on short 3- and 4-night cruises visiting Safaga, Egypt, the gateway to Luxor, or Aqaba, Jordan, the port nearest Petra.

MSC Bellissima at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal

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During the three months from July through to the end of October, MSC Bellissima will sail 21 cruises from Saudi Arabia, becoming the first mainstream cruise ship to spend a full season in the Red Sea.

When MSC Bellissima leaves the region in October she’ll be replaced by MSC Magnifica, which was previously scheduled to spend the winter cruise season sailing roundtrip out of Jeddah.

Aqaba in Jordan is the gateway to Petra.

MSC Magnifica will cruise the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia on week-long cruises between November, 2021 and March, 2022.

“As the tourism industry of Saudi Arabia grows progressively for its own residents and international visitors, we at MSC Cruises are looking forward to making a positive and lasting contribution as more people explore and discover the rich heritage and incredible cultural attractions it has to offer,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises.

“With our cruises this summer from Jeddah of the MSC Bellissima and a ship dedicated for the winter season in the Red Sea we are committed to serving holidaymakers with the very best cruise experiences,” he added.

Safaga is the gateway to the ancient Luxor

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“This, we believe, will accelerate the attractiveness of holidays at sea in the region and significantly help in the growth of tourism,” he said.

MSC Bellissima is one of the largest ships in the MSC fleet. She features a 975-seat mainstage theatre and an aft Carousel Lounge, as well as a Grand Canyon themed aquapark, a full-size bowling alley, F1 simulator and XD cinema for guests of all ages.

The Bellissima Promenade

There’s also a 700sqm Kids Club with separate facilities for infants, toddlers, children, adolescents and teenagers.

MSC Bellissima also features a Mediterranean-style indoor promenade with an 80-meter LED sky screen and a shopping gallery with more than 200 brands.

The authentic Balinese MSC Aurea Spa offers 79 different body and facial treatments along with a thermal area.

MSC Bellissima spent her most recent winter cruise season in the Arabian Gulf, sailing roundtrip from Dubai. She will not be returning to Dubai for the coming cruise season, instead her larger fleet mate, MSC Virtuosa will homeport in the city.

The opening up of Saudi Arabia to cruise tourism is a major development in the region’s cruise tourism market.

It provides multi-faceted benefits for cruise lines repositioning ships between Asia and the Mediterranean, and vastly enhances the appeal of the Middle East as a cruise destination.

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