Middle East Cruise News

Cruise Saudi hires former AIDA Cruises president Lars Clasen as CEO

Cruise Saudi has appointed Lars Clasen as CEO as it continues to expand its executive team amid the ongoing development of the country’s nascent cruise industry.

Clasen is the former Managing Director at The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Co-founder and Managing Director of Dolce Cruise Management, CEO of A-ROSA River Cruises, and President of AIDA Cruises.

He is a global industry expert with 30+ years of experience in the shipping and cruise industries across Asia, Europe and North America, according to a press release.

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Cruise Saudi said his experience in the industry is suited for the organisation as it pursues its development of the cruise sector in the Kingdom, the Red Sea and elsewhere.

“We are excited to announce that Lars Clasen has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of Cruise Saudi,” said Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director of Cruise Saudi. “Clasen brings three decades of experience in the global cruising industry, and we look forward to having him as a key member of the team.”

Clasen said the progress Cruise Saudi has made in pioneering the growth of a new cruise industry in the country is truly impressive, and expressed his excitement at the prospect of taking it further.

“As a cruise professional and enthusiast, I’ve been following the tremendous progress Cruise Saudi has made in such a short span of time; from setting up an entirely new industry and welcoming guests on cruise ships for the first time in Saudi Arabia, to garnering a great deal of attention globally as the newest player in the cruise industry,” he said.

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lars clasen

“I am honored to be joining a diligent team of professionals and look forward to achieving more milestones together as Cruise Saudi embarks upon a new phase of development in opening not just one gateway, but several new gateways connecting the world to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia announced in September last year that it would be allowing cruise ships to visit the country and homeport in Jeddah. MSC Cruises was the first to do so with MSC Bellissima, which has been confirmed for a regular annual winter season for at least the next five years.

Saudi Arabia’s opening up to cruise lines offers international and local guests opportunities to discover the country and its many World Heritage sites, as well as Egypt and Jordan by cruise ship – exploring their culture, history, tradition and enjoying their beaches.

MSC Bellissima will sail 7-night cruises from Jeddah, calling at the ports of Ras Al Abyad, Aqaba for Petra in Jordan, Safaga for Luxor in Egypt and Al Wajh and Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia.

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