Cruise lines homeporting in Dubai for the 2021/22 Arabian Gulf cruise season are scheduled to spend more time in port so that passengers can visit the Expo 2020.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East and offers a unique shore excursion option for passengers on roundtrip Arabian Gulf cruises.
The Expo 2020 Dubai is being held from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, after being rescheduled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MSC Cruises, AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Costa Cruises are all homeporting ships in Dubai for the current season, sailing 7-night roundtrip itineraries that visit Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Muscat and Khassab.
While all of them traditionally spend a night in port in Dubai, giving passengers two full days to explore the city, all four cruise lines have doubled this up, offering two nights in port and three days in the city.
MSC Cruises is the only cruise line with two ships homeporting in Dubai for the season.
MSC Virtuosa, which is featuring Saudi Arabia’s Dammam as a port of call for the first time, will continue to spend just one night in port in Dubai, but MSC Opera, will stay overnight for two consecutive nights during each turnaround in Dubai.
Similarly, AIDAbella of AIDA Cruises, Mein Schiff 6 of TUI and Costa Firenze of Costa Cruises will all offer a two-night stay in port for passengers that want to spend a day or two visiting the Expo.
With 192 country pavilions showcasing the best of art, architecture, science, culture and cuisine, a single day isn’t nearly enough to explore the full Expo.
However, it is more than enough time to experience the highlights, such as the architectural magnificence of the Al Wasl Plaza, the Expo 2020 Water Feature (a fountain with water flowing in reverse, complete with a musical and lights show), the revolving Garden in the Sky and more.
All four cruise lines are offering curated Expo 2020 Dubai shore excursion packages, but independent exploring via the Dubai Metro is extremely easy as well. Passengers can take the Metro to Jebel Ali Station and switch over to the Expo line, which takes them directly to the site.
“[Expo 2020] will be a special highlight in this year’s winter season in the Arabian Gulf,” said AIDA Cruises, the latest line to confirm an three-day stay in Dubai. “The guests of AIDAbella will have an extra-long stay in this fascinating metropolis. The ship will spend three days in Dubai. So there is enough time to explore the 438-hectare exhibition grounds with around 190 country pavilions.”