Middle East Cruise News

Mein Schiff 6 kicks off 2021/22 winter Dubai cruise season

The German cruise line TUI Cruises has marked the start of the 2021/22 Arabian Gulf cruise season out of Dubai with the arrival of its ship Mein Schiff 6.

The German cruise liner will spend the winter cruising in the Arabian Gulf roundtrip from Dubai between October and March next year.

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Mein Schiff 6 arrived on October 23 at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal in Mina Rashid, otherwise known as Dubai Cruise Terminal 3.

Around 2,000 passengers and crew disembarked the ship and were greeted by dancers performing the traditional Emirati yowlah, or stick dance.

The ship usually carries in excess of 2,500 passengers, but is operating at reduced capacity as part of social distancing measures implemented onboard to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6

Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed, Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, added that a range of health and safety protocols had also been put in place in Dubai for the coming cruise season.

These include mandatory PCR testing of passengers and crew, enhanced sanitation and social distancing in the cruise terminal and quarantine arrangements for any passengers suspected to having coronavirus.

Mein Schiff 6 is one of five cruise ships that will homeport in Dubai for the coming cruise season, a reduction from nine during the 2019/2020 cruise season, which was expected to be the biggest on record before it was prematurely cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five cruise ships including MSC Virtuosa, AIDAbella, MSC Opera and Costa Firenze will homeport in Dubai.

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Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, which operates Port Rashid and its cruise terminals, said he hoped a successful 2021/22 cruise season would encourage more cruise ships to return to Dubai.

“The arrival of Mein Schiff 6 at Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal will further usher in an impressive rebound for the sector, encouraging other leading cruise lines to operate regular international itineraries to the emirate,” he said.

The Dubai cruise sector is expected to see 500,000 cruise tourists visit the city during the coming season, down from more than 800,000 prior to the pandemic.

One of the major challenges the local cruise sector faces is the ongoing restrictions on international travel, and the anti-COVID-19 regulations such as testing and mask mandates, which put many international travelers off fly-cruises, which are the main source of passengers for Dubai.

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