Qatar is expanding its cruise destination credentials with its first ever exclusive homeporting deal with a cruise line.
Emerald Yacht Cruises has announced that it will homeport its yacht-like cruise ship Emerald Azzura in Doha for the 2023 winter cruise season.
Emerald will be the first cruise line to spend a full season sailing roundtrip from Qatar.
Emerald Yacht Cruises will begin sailing roundtrip from Doha in January next year, offering 7-night itineraries calling at Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; Khasab, Oman; Fujairah, UAE; Zighy Bay, Oman; and Dubai.
Pre- and post-cruise tours are also available where guests can opt for a three-day package to explore the sites and culture of Qatar.
The announcement comes amid rampant investment by Qatar in its cruise infrastructure. Doha Port has already been cleared of much of its former merchant shipping traffic as part of a plan to turn it into a dedicated cruise port and retail and entertainment destination for the city.
A new cruise terminal is also under construction in the port. The Grand Cruise Terminal will be located in central Doha, near the Museum of Islamic Art and Souq Waqif, with capacity to accommodate two megaships.
In addition to the usual cruise terminal facilities, such as coffee shops, customs, mixed retail and currency exchange, it will also offer various attractions, such as an aquarium and art gallery.
“We are delighted to be taking our new superyacht, Emerald Azzurra to Qatar’s vibrant city of Doha next winter,” said Rob Voss, COO, Scenic Group, which includes Emerald Cruises.
“In partnership with Qatar Tourism our guests will experience first-hand and in luxury yachting style the immersive beauty and hospitality the Gulf region and specifically Qatar has to offer. It will be magical,” he added.
Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said cruises offered a uniquely convenient way for tourists to experience all that the Arabian Gulf and Qatar have to offer.
“Qatar has an incredible range of hotels, restaurants, activities and cultural landmarks which can be enjoyed pre and post the cruise, allowing guests the freedom to explore Qatar at their leisure,” he said. “We welcome travellers from around the world to experience our beautiful country and the best of the Middle East, all in one easily accessible place.”