Middle East Cruise News

Cruise ships in UAE in for rough weather as strong winds whip Arabian Gulf

The five cruise ships homeporting in Dubai for the winter cruise season in the Arabian Gulf are in for a rough weekend with swells exceeding 11 feet offshore due to a strong sandstorm.

While MSC Virtuosa and Mein Schiff 6 will spend Friday night alongside at the Dubai Cruise Terminal, AIDAbella is cruising at sea and Costa Firenze is due to depart the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal on Saturday, amid a sandstorm with winds reaching 35 knots.

“Fresh to strong Northwesterly will cause blowing dust and sand reducing the horizontal visibility, with speed 30 – 40 reaching 65 kph,” the National Meteorology Center said of the weather for the coming weekend.

NMC forecast for sea state off Dubai on Friday and early Saturday

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“The sea will be very rough in the Arabian gulf and very rough to rough in Oman sea,” the report added.

Passengers boarding cruise ships in Dubai this weekend can therefore expect mildly uncomfortable departures on Saturday and Sunday.

While the forecast for 11-to-16-foot swells in the Arabian Gulf isn’t enough to pose any danger to cruise ships, it could make the motion unpleasant for those prone to seasickness.

There are five cruise ships currently homeporting in Dubai for the 2021/22 winter cruise season, which runs from November to March.

Friday was mildly rough sea-day for passengers aboard AIDAbella

In order of size, MSC Virtuosa, Costa Firenze, Mein Schiff 6, AIDAbella and Europa are all cruising roundtrip from Dubai.

Costa Firenze will depart Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal on Saturday, while MSC Virtuosa and AIDAbella are both due to depart Dubai Cruise Terminal on Sunday.

Mein Schiff 6 spends two days in port at the end of each of her roundtrip Dubai itineraries, so she is not due to depart Dubai Cruise Terminal until Monday, while Europa was cruising in the Oman Sea at the time of writing.

She is due to dock in Bahrain on Saturday morning and is the only Dubai-based cruise ship spending the night at sea, during what is expected to be the roughest period of the weekend.

The NMC expects the weather to have largely cleared by Sunday

By late Sunday, the NMC is forecasting calm seas and only partly cloudly skies.

The UAE has one of the most stable weather systems in the world, with generally clear skies and sunshine through much of the year.

However, the winter months, which are also the most popular for cruising due to the moderate temperatures, sometimes experience bad weather.

The UAE has seen unusually heavy rainfall and low temperatures this winter, with more than a year’s worth of rain dropped over the country during the New Year weekend (but luckily not on New Year’s Eve itself).

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