There are eight cruise ships sailing roundtrip from Dubai during 2022, most of them on multiple itineraries for the winter season, while a further eight cruise ships will sail longer grand voyages and repositioning cruises during the year.
There were 118 cruise itineraries scheduled from Dubai for 2022 at the time of writing, 87 of which are roundtrip itineraries sailing in the Arabian Gulf. These 7- and 8-night cruises visit Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, Muscat, the capital of Oman, and other smaller cruise ports such as Khasab in Musandam and the cruise beach at Sir Bani Yas Island.
The remaining cruises departing from Dubai in 2022 either sail east for Asia, or west for Europe, with one or two going further afield to North America or south to Africa or destinations in the Indian Ocean. Dubai sits astride the busy east-west sailing route between Europe and Asia, making it a popular turnaround option for cruise lines repositioning ships between the two regions. For the same reason, it is also regularly featured on the itineraries of cruise lines operating grand voyages within the Indian Ocean, or between Europe and Asia, or as a staging post on World Cruises that are sold in sections.
Roundtrip Dubai cruises
Roundtrip Dubai cruises in 2022 cover two cruise seasons (the 2021/22 season and the 2022/23 season), each of which runs from around November to March annually. During the current 2021/22 season, there are only four cruise lines homeporting in Dubai for the winter, a direct result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The German cruise lines AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises, and the Italian cruise lines MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises, are all long-term annual homeporting cruise companies in Dubai. In 2020, four additional lines were scheduled to cruise roundtrip from the city (Royal Caribbean, Pullmantur, P&O, and Celebrity Cruises), but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them and the rest of the industry to shut down operations through much of the year.
This impact on Dubai is expected to continue into the 2022/23 season, when only AIDA, TUI, MSC and Costa are scheduled to once more homeport in the city, but with bigger and newer ships, so it’s not all that bad. AIDA Cruises deployed its ship AIDAbella in Dubai for 2021/22, but for the 2022/23 cruise season, its new LNG mega ship AIDAcosma will homeport in the city. Similarly, MSC Cruises has upgraded from its already huge MSC Virtuosa, to the even larger MSC World Europa (the second-largest class of cruise ship in the world after Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships).
Roundtrip cruises from Dubai in 2022:
AIDAbella (7-night cruises, departing every Saturday until April 2nd, 2022)
MSC Virtuosa (7-night cruises, departing every Saturday until March 19th, 2022)
Mein Schiff 6 (7-night cruises, departing every Monday until February 28th, 2022 – returning in November, 2022 to sail the same itineraries for the 2022/23 season)
Costa Firenze (7-night cruises, departing every Friday until March 19th, 2022 – returning in November, 2022 to sail the same itineraries for the 2022/23 season)
Europa (8-night roundtrip cruise on January 8th, followed by a 14-night cruise to Mauritius on January 26th)
Azamara Quest (11-night cruise on November 15th, 2022, followed by a 14-night cruise to Singapore on November 26th, 2022)
AIDAcosma (replaces AIDAbella for the 2022/23 cruise season, will sail 7-night cruises departing every Saturday from November 18th, 2022, until April 8th, 2023)
MSC World Europa (replaces MSC Virtuosa for the 2022/23 cruise season, will sail 7-night cruises departing every Saturday from December 21st, 2022 until March 18th, 2023)
Grand voyages from Dubai
Dubai’s central location midway between Europe and Asia, with other popular cruise destinations such as Mumbai, the Maldives and the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean just a few days sailing away, makes it an ideal turnaround port for many cruise lines operating grand voyages.
Cruise lines to offer their grand voyages and world cruises either as an entire itinerary, or as a series of ‘legs’ that can be individually purchased. It’s these individual legs of longer grand voyages that feature Dubai as a turnaround port.
In 2022, there are six cruise ships scheduled to sail from Dubai on grand voyages. Europa of Hapag-Lloyd will cruise to Mauritius, Seven Seas Explorer will cruise to Singapore as part of its longer 73 night Istanbul to Auckland itinerary, Azamara Quest will cruise to Singapore, Nautica of Oceania will cruise to Cape Town, Seabourn Encore will sail a month long cruise to Hong Kong, and Silver Spirit will cross the Indian Ocean to Mumbai, India.
Grand voyages from Dubai in 2022
Europa (Dubai to Mauritius, 14-nights, departing January 26th, 2022)
Seven Seas Explorer (Dubai to Singapore, 21 nights, departing October 31st, 2022)
Azamara Quest (Dubai to Singapore, 14 nights, departing November 26th, 2022)
Nautica (Dubai to Cape Town, 30 nights, departing December 7th, 2022)
Seabourn Encore (Dubai to Hong Kong, 32 nights, departing December 7th, 2022)
Silver Spirit (Dubai to Mumbai, 12 nights, departing December 8th, 2022)
Repositioning cruises from Dubai
Having several cruise ships homeporting in Dubai annually, or sailing one or two roundtrip cruises from the city during the winter cruise season, means that Dubai is also a departure port for these cruise ships repositioning cruises to Asia or the Mediterranean for their summer itineraries.
Repositioning cruises from Dubai in 2022
AIDAbella (Dubai to Palma, 19 nights, departing April 9th, 2022, and again on November 7th, Dubai to Thailand, 21 nights, departing November 7th, 2022 for her Asia season)
Mein Schiff 6 (Dubai to Turkey, 15 nights, departing February 28th at the end of her 2021/22 Dubai season)
Costa Firenze (Dubai to Italy, 20 nights, departing March 19th at the end of her 2021/22 Dubai season)
MSC Virtuosa (Dubai to Italy, 19 nights, departing March 26th at the end of her 2021/22 Dubai season)
Mein Schiff 5 (Dubai to Singapore, 15 nights, departing November 22nd, 2022) (transitioning from her summer Med program to winter in Singapore)
Norwegian Jade (Dubai to Cape Town, 19 nights, departing December 2nd, 2022) (transitioning from her summer Med program to follow the sun down to South Africa for December and January)