Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises CEO says UAE is one of its most dynamic destinations

The UAE is one of the most dynamic cruise destinations that MSC Cruises sails to, according to Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises.

Speaking ahead of the deployment to Dubai of its largest-ever cruise ship, MSC World Europa, Onorato said he had a “very positive” outlook for the UAE’s cruise sector.

“The UAE is a very important market for us and next winter we are going to deploy our newest addition to our fleet – the MSC World Europa – and further increase our capacity from this year with the introduction of a second ship, the MSC Opera, in recognition of the region’s ever-growing status in the cruise sector,” said Onorato.

MSC World Europa will homeport in Dubai for 2022/23 season

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MSC World Europa will be based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from next winter, alongside the smaller, more intimate MSC Opera.

MSC World Europa, at 200,000-gross tons, is the second-largest class of cruise ship in the world after Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class, and will be the largest ever to sail in the Middle East.

“The World Europa will redefine the cruise experience with a variety of never-before-seen features unlike anything at sea today and the vessel will be an additional benefit to the UAE’s tourism industry,” said Onorato.

“The ship will attract many international passengers from around the world, especially from Europe, and we hope to also see strong interest from guests from the Gulf Cooperation Council, especially the UAE,” he added.

MSC Cruises deployment of its new World Europa in the Arabian Gulf follows a pattern established by the cruise line. It’s current newest ship, MSC Virtuosa, is currently deployed out of Dubai for the 2021/22 winter season.

“Although there are challenges ashore associated with the global pandemic, we have worked closely with the relevant authorities throughout the region to ensure the health and safety of our passengers, crew and the communities that the ship visits,” said Onorato.

MSC World Europa is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France and will be delivered in October, 2022. She will then sail for the Arabian Gulf to operate as a hotel ship in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, before relocating to Dubai in December to sail roundtripcruises until March, 2023.

These 7-night cruises will call at Sir Bani Yas Island, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha in Qatar.

The 2,626-cabin vessel will be able to accommodate up to 6,762 passengers and will be the first vessel in MSC Cruises’ fleet to be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG).

MSC Opera will offer a different 7-night itinerary from Dubai and Abu Dhabi also calling at Sir Bani Yas Island, as well as Muscat and Khasab in Oman. The cruise finishes with an overnight in Dubai to give guests plenty of time to explore the city.

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