Middle East Cruise News

Cruise Saudi says Dammam cruise infrastructure to be ready by December

Dammam will be ready to receive cruise passengers by the end of this month, Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director, Cruise Saudi told delegates at the World Travel Market in London this week.

Dammam will receive cruise passengers for the first time ever during the coming 2021/22 cruise season, during which MSC Virtuosa will call in the port on her roundtrip Arabian Gulf itineraries out of Dubai.

MSC Virtuosa will call in Dammam on her cruises out of Dubai

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“We are working along four verticals to develop a world-class cruise offering,” Farooqui said.

These cover port infrastructure with Dammam now under development and on target to be ready by the end of this month in advance of the winter season; partnerships and coordination; destination development and human capital development.

Farooqui didn’t elaborate on whether Dammam will get a brand new cruise terminal, such as that being developed in Jeddah, or whether an existing building is being retrofitted as a cruise terminal.

When MSC Bellissima became the first cruise ship ever to homeport in Saudi Arabia, sailing roundtrip out of Jeddah on the Red Sea earlier this year, the existing ferry terminal was converted into a cruise terminal.

A new purpose-built cruise terminal is currently under development and is expected to be completed in the next few years.

Cruise Saudi has worked on deployments with Silversea, MSC Cruises and Scenic this past summer, reaching around 20,000 guests at sea.

Dammam is the largest Saudi Arabian city on the Arabian Gulf and features a rich history and culture.

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MSC Bellissima’s cruise season in Saudi Arabia has been extended, she will homeport in Jeddah for a full cruise season in the Red Sea out of Jeddah between November and March, calling in Aqaba, Jordan and other Saudi ports.

“We are taking this as proof of the great potential of the cruise industry in Saudi,” said Farooqui. “Saudi has so much to offer that the world has simply not seen before and we are working with partners on the ground to develop seamless itineraries.”

Dammam will provide the Arabian Gulf cruise scene with even greater diversity in terms of ports on offer, joining Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Khassab, Sir Bani Yas Island, Doha and Bahrain, each of which offers a different kind of destination experience.

Tarout Castle in Dammam was built by the Portuguese in the 15th century.

Dammam is one of the largest cities in Saudi Arabia with a rich cultural heritage, stunning desert scenery, expansive seaside walkways and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dammam is the gateway to Al-Ahsa Oasis, considered the largest in the world with more than three million palm trees, fed by a huge underground aquifer, which allows agriculture all year round in a region that is otherwise sand desert.

Within the city itself, Tarout Castle is located in the Old Town, which was established in 1600 BC, while the castle was built by the Portuguese in the 15th century.

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