Middle East Cruise News

MSC Bellissima nears end of first ever Middle East summer cruise season

MSC Bellissima will soon wrap up her summer Middle East cruise season out of Dubai, becoming the first cruise ship ever to homeport in the Arabian Gulf into the summer.

MSC Cruises has announced that the ship will reposition from the Middle East to the Mediterranean in late June, joining the bulk of the MSC fleet in its home market.

MSC Bellissima spent the 2021/22 cruise season sailing roundtrip in the Red Sea out of Jeddah between November and March, when she repositioned to Dubai to take over the week-long roundtrip cruises out of Dubai that were operated by MSC Virtuosa from November last year.

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She remained in the Arabian Gulf, sailing from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Doha, Sir Bani Yas Island and Muscat, until June 18th, when she will reposition to the Mediterranean.

MSC Bellissima and MSC Virtuosa were among six cruise ships that homeported in the Middle East for the 2021/22 cruise season, which marked the region’s first full cruise season since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the global cruise industry in 2020 and through much of last year.

MSC Bellissima will be among 15 MSC cruise ships operating in the Mediterranean for the summer. The season is the cruise line’s largest ever deployment in the Med, but also represents the challenges facing the cruise industry as much of the Asian market remains closed to cruise ships.

MSC Bellissima had been scheduled to cruise in the Far East, but those plans have been shelved due to China’s ongoing struggle to bring coronavirus cases under control.

MSC Bellissima at the Dubai Cruise Terminal

MSC Bellissima will offer 7-night sailings from Valencia to Barcelona/Tarragona, Genoa, Livorno and Naples. Valencia will be the principle homeport, but embarkation will be available at all ports.

She’ll begin her Mediterranean cruise season on July 9th, but is scheduled to return to the Middle East, sailing roundtrip out of Jeddah once more, from November this year.

“MSC Cruises offers the most embarkation ports across the Mediterranean so that one or more is easily within reach by train, car as well as by flight from key capitals and other cities from across the globe,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises. T

“As holidaymakers are now planning their summer holidays, we are extremely pleased to see that our continued and present investments in the experience on board – including improved dining, additional entertainment options as well as extra staff to look after every need of our guests even during the busy summer season – is paying off with high ratings from recurring and new guests,” he added.

“This led us to position one additional ship in the Mediterranean – a popular destination – to give our guests even more choice of ships and itineraries,” he said.

The Mediterranean is the world’s second-largest cruise market after North America, and is the most popular cruise destination for Middle East cruise passengers booking fly-cruise holidays. The Arabian Gulf cruise circuit, meanwhile, is more popular with fly-cruise passengers from the UK, Europe, Asia, India and Australia.

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