Middle East Cruise News

Dubai loosens COVID-19 restrictions, what it means for cruise tourists

Cruise tourists arriving in Dubai to board cruise ships sailing from the city will no longer be required to take a PCR test, provided they are fully vaccinated.

The move comes as part of a wider range of rule changes across the emirate that remove many of the COVID-19 restrictions applied to tourists and residents.

Cruise tourists flying into Dubai to board ships at the Dubai Cruise Terminal and Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal will instead be required to present an approved vaccination certificate, complete with QR code.

dubai burj khalifa

dubai cruise tourists will no longer need a pcr test

RELATED: Cruise ships sailing out of Dubai can now dock at Sir Bani Yas

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Tourists without a vaccination certificate will still need to take a PCR test conducted within 48 hours of departure from their home country to Dubai.

While on shore excursions in Dubai, cruise passengers will also no longer need to wear a mask when outdoors, including in Abu Dhabi and other cities in the UAE, but it remains mandatory across indoor public spaces.

Restaurants and Shisha cafés have also returned to 100 per cent capacity for the first time since the start of 2020.

In Abu Dhabi, the National Emergency Crisis & Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) has removed the green list for travel.

Cruise passengers will no longer need to present a green Al Hosn pass when disembarking in the city, or flying in to board ships at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.

However, they will still need to download it, as the pass remains a requirement for those wishing to enter public spaces, such as malls and restaurants.

The move comes as the United Arab Emirates sees a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases combined with high vaccination and booster rates, which has supported the resurgence of its cruise sector.

Dubai reopened for cruises in late 2020, and the current 2021/22 cruise season has four ships homeporting in Dubai.

TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6, MSC Cruises brand new cruise ship MSC Virtuosa, Costa Cruises’ brand new Costa Firenze, and AIDA Cruises older ship AIDAbella all spent the winter in Dubai, sailing roundtrip in the Arabian Gulf between November, 2021 and March, 2022.

MSC Cruises has also, for the first time, extended its Middle East cruise season, replacing MSC Virtuosa with MSC Bellissima, which will cruise from Dubai throughout the summer.

For the coming 2022/23 season, AIDA, TUI, MSC and Costa are all returning, but with bigger and newer ships.

AIDA Cruises will homeport its new LNG mega ship AIDAcosma in the city, while 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).

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