While there are five cruise ships due to homeport in Dubai for the 2021/22 cruise season, only five additional ships will sail international itineraries from the city as the Middle East cruise sector gets back on its feet following COVID-19.
With cruises around the world totally shut down for much of 2020, and reopenings taking place across the world in early 2021, the patchwork of cruise destinations allowing cruises to resume presents an ongoing challenge for itinerary planning.
For this reason, most cruise lines are keeping their cruise ships close to their home markets, primarily in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean (out of the United States). A few intrepid cruise lines, however, are re-scheduling grand voyages.
AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Azamara and Silversea are among these, with each cruise line offering a grand voyage from Dubai in late 2021, when it is hoped the vaccine roll out globally will have had a greater chance of bringing travel restrictions amongst countries into alignment.
The itineraries hang in the balance as any local flare-up in cases in either destination could scupper the plans, with Norwegian Jade’s Dubai to South Africa cruise looking particularly precarious, but it is a sign of hope as the cruise industry gets back on its feet.
There are usually several dozen international cruise itineraries from Dubai ever year. In 2019, eight cruise ships homeported in the city for the winter cruise season, while an additional 21 sailed grand voyages to Asia, Africa and Europe.
AIDAbella – AIDA Cruises
AIDAbella is scheduled to sail a 21-night Dubai to Bangkok grand voyage on November 1st, 2021.
The ship will visit Khasab and Muscat in Oman before crossing the Indian Ocean to call in Male, Maldives, and Colombo, Sri Lanka. She’ll then sail for Asia, calling in Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia and Singapore, as well as Phu Quoc, Vietnam and Sihanoukville, Cambodia before arriving in Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand.
Silver Moon – Silversea Cruises
Silver Moon will cruise from Dubai to Mumbai on November 17th, 2021. The 9-night voyage will visit Abu Dhabi (staying overnight), Bahrain, Doha and Khasab before venturing out into the Indian Ocean for a three day crossing to Mumbai, India.
Delivered in 2020, Silver Moon is the newest ship in the Silversea fleet. She debuted the cruise line’s innovative new culinary enrichment programme S.A.L.T., an acronym of Sea and Land Taste, which will enable guests to travel deeper through a range of destination-focused gastronomic experiences—both on-board and ashore.
At 40,700 gross tons and with a maximum capacity of just 596 guests, Silver Moon takes influence from the successful design of her sister ship, Silver Muse, and maintains the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations that are hallmarks of the Silversea experience.
Azamara Journey – Azamara
Azamara Journey is scheduled to sail from Dubai to Singapore on November 18th, 2021, a 19-night cruise with a port-intensive itinerary.
The pocket cruise ship, one of four identical ships in the Azamara fleet, will visit Mumbai, India where she’ll stay overnight in port, as well as Colombo, Sri Lanka (again, staying overnight), and Yangon, Myanmar, where she intends to spend two nights in port.
She’ll then arrive in Singapore on December 6th. Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to Azamara to find out if her Myanmar port call has been affected by the recent coup there.
Mein Schiff 5 – TUI Cruises
Mein Schiff 5 of TUI Cruises is scheduled to sail a 15-night cruise to Singapore on November 23rd, 2021.
The sister ship to Mein Schiff 6, which is homeporting in Dubai for the 2021/22 cruise season, will spend a day at sea cruising for Muscat, and then five days at sea crossing the Indian Ocean to Mumbai, India. She’ll then cruise on to Colombo and Hambantota in Sri Lanka, as well as Penang and Klang (Kuala Lumpur) in Malaysia, before arriving in Singapore.
Norwegian Jade – Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Jade is scheduled to cruise from Dubai to Cape Town on an 18-night itinerary departing December 3rd, 2021.
Although this cruise is looking increasingly unlikely due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in South Africa(the country remain on a red list for most European and North American countries), the itinerary at the time of writing was as follows:
Norwegian Jade will depart Dubai December 3rd, 2021, sailing to Muscat, Oman and on to La Digue and Mahe in the Seychelles, before calling in Nosy Be, Madagascar.
She’ll then cruise to Port Louis, Mauritius and Saint-Denis, Reunion, before crossing to South Africa, where she’ll visit Richard’s Bay before ending the cruise in Cape Town.