Middle East Cruise News

MSC Bellissima hosts Saudi Arabia’s first netball tournament on Red Sea cruise

MSC Cruises‘ massive cruise ship MSC Bellissima has hosted Saudi Arabia’s first netball tournament during a cruise in the Red Sea out of Jeddah.

The huge cruise ship proved an ideal venue for the tournament, which included three rounds between teams competing from Jeddah and Riyadh.

The Galleria shopping promenade aboard MSC Bellissima

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MSC Bellissima is the largest cruise ship ever to sail in the Red Sea and the first to homeport in Saudi Arabia since the country opened up to cruise tourism earlier this year.

During the three-day voyage, the team from Riyadh’s Golden Sports Academy claimed victory, winning all three games.

The event was held in the ship’s sports complex, which includes a range of facilities for several different sports, including basketball, volleyball, and five-a-side football. There’s also a squash court, a tennis court and mini-golf course.

Teams from Riyadh and Jeddah competed during the three-stage tournament

The event was organised by the Saudi Sports for All Federation and the Saudi Tourism Authority and is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to boost tourism through the promotion of sports, such as the annual polo match at Al Ula, which is one of the destinations on the ship’s itinerary.

MSC Bellissima was delivered in 2019 and has a deck surface area of 450,000 square meters, with more than 2000 cabins and dozens of restaurants, bars, cafes and lounges.

MSC Bellissima in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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She also offers a luxurious spa, a Broadway-style theatre, shopping district, bowling alley and Formula One simulators.

The ship is the first to spend a cruise season in Jeddah, sailing roundtrip in the Red Sea to Egyptian and Saudi Arabian ports.

In November, the ship will be replaced with MSC Magnifica, which will spend the winter cruise season sailing roundtrip from Jeddah through to March next year.

As part of the opening up of Saudi Arabia to cruise tourism, MSC Virtuosa, homeporting in Dubai for the coming winter cruise season, will also be visiting the Saudi port of Damman on her roundtrip Dubai cruise itineraries.

The addition of Saudi Arabia to the regional cruise destination line-up will transform the Middle East cruise sector into one of the world’s leading cruise destinations and markets by removing two of the key challenges that have long held it back.

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