Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises extends Saudi Arabian cruise season for MSC Bellissima

MSC Cruises has extended its Saudi Arabian cruise season aboard MSC Bellissima in the Red Sea until March next year following greater than anticipated demand.

MSC Bellissima will no longer end her Red Sea cruise season in November as planned, as she will instead take over the Saudi Arabian cruise itineraries that were planned for MSC Magnifica.

The Galleria shopping promenade aboard MSC Bellissima

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MSC Bellissima is significantly larger than Magnifica, and will be able to accommodate the significant demand the cruise line has seen for its new Saudi Arabian itineraries.

In a statement, MSC Cruises said MSC Bellissima and her Red Sea itineraries have proven “very popular” since she first commenced sailing in July from Jeddah.

The statement added that her continued deployment in the region will “further enrich the cruise experience for guests looking for the ultimate winter getaway.”

MSC Bellissima will now continue to cruise roundtrip from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia until March next year.

The 2021/22 cruise itineraries are brand new for MSC and are a first for the global cruise industry as no other cruise ship has ever spent a full cruise season in the country.

MSC Bellissima is homeporting in Jeddah for the summer and winter seasons.

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Saudi Arabia’s opening up to cruise lines offers international and local guests opportunities to discover the country and its many World Heritage sites, as well as Egypt and Jordan by cruise ship – exploring their culture, history, tradition and enjoying their beaches.

MSC Bellissima is sailing 7-night cruises from Jeddah, calling at the ports of Ras Al Abyad, Aqaba for Petra in Jordan, Safaga for Luxor in Egypt and Al Wajh and Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia.

MSC Bellissima is one of the newest ships in the MSC Cruises fleet, having launched in 2019. She featuresthe MSC Yacht Club, 12 dining venues and more than 20 lounges, a dedicated family deck area, two entertainment venues, an 80-meter-long LED Sky over her Galleria shopping and entertainment promenade and more.

At the end of March 2022, MSC Bellissima will reposition to Japan for her planned cruises out of Yokohama from April 21st.

Highlights of MSC Bellissima’s Saudi Arabian cruises:

Jeddah Old Quarter

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – Homeporting in this city, guests will have their pick of sites to visit. AlBalad, the old town of Jeddah and a cultural hotspot, dates back to the seventh century and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites Saudi Arabia has to offer. Jeddah is also known for its waterfront and modern shopping malls, offering entertainment and recreational activities to its visitors.

Ras Al Abyad is known for its beaches

Ras Al Abyad, Saudi Arabia – known as “the White Coast” due to its white beaches.

Aqaba in Jordan is the gateway to Petra.

Aqaba for Petra, Jordan – This city on the Red Sea coast is a “haven for divers and history buffs alike,” MSC said. Guests can snorkel in the Aqaba Marine Park, visit Mamluk Castle and the Aqaba Archaeological Museum, and much more. Aqaba’s close proximity to Petra offers guests a chance to travel to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, inhabited since as early as 7,000 BC, and discover its rock-cut architecture.

Luxor is home to the ruins of the Luxor, Karnak temples and the Necropolis

Safaga for Luxor, Egypt – A short distance from one of Egypt’s most spectacular destinations, the small city of Safaga is the gateway to Luxor, which offers the ruins of the Luxor, Karnak temples and the Necropolis – where guests will find the Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens.

Al Wajh is a coastal gateway to AlUla, home to Hegra (Al-Hijr Archaeological Site)

Al Wajh, Saudi Arabia – The coastal city of AlWajh offers turquoise seas and 100 km of beaches on either side. It once served as one of the region’s central shipping ports. Its abandoned AlBalad old town features ancient Hejazi architecture made from Red Sea coral. It now serves as a coastal gateway to AlUla, home to Hegra (Al-Hijr Archaeological Site) one of Saudi Arabia’s cultural masterpieces and its first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features more than 110 tombs carved from giant rock formations as well as ancient sites that date back to the first millennium BC.

Radwa Mount in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.

Yanbu, Saudi Arabia – This major port is the final stop on this seven-night cruise. The old town of Yanbu, located within walking distance from the port, dates back 2,500 years and offers one of the oldest souks, where traders used to come from places far and wide to sell their goods. The city is known as “the diving capital of Saudi Arabia,” and is an attractive tourist destination due to its white sandy shores and lively coral reefs, offering opportunities for snorkeling and water activities in the Saudi Red Sea.

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