The cruise line is homeporting both ships in Dubai, and Angelo Capurro, Executive Director, MSC Cruises, recently told Gulf News that the cruise line is seeing more demand from UAE residents as well as fly-cruise tourists.
MSC is therefore expecting an even stronger cruise season this coming November to March, compared to the previous season, but that was no wash-out, with the cruise line even extending the season due to higher than expected interest from the fly-cruise market in Europe.
“We enjoyed a great cruise season in the UAE – which we extended to meet customer demand – and been extremely pleased to see more citizens and residents of the country, as well as other GCC nations, board our ships in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for sailings in the Arabian Sea,” said Capurro.
Now, with the giant cruise ship MSC World Europa and the much smaller MSC Opera preparing for deployment to the Arabian Gulf, Capurro is expecting this November to be a bridge to a full recovery next year.
Capurro said demand for both ships was already ‘very strong’ for the winter.
“The last two years have been challenging as we were not able to operate as we normally do,” he said. “But in the last couple of months, we have seen demand picking up as people have a strong desire to go on cruises again.”
“People want to go on holidays, and we are seeing good booking trends for the whole summer,” he added.
MSC World Europa is due for delivery in December and will spend her inaugural cruise season sailing roundtrip from Dubai in the Arabian Gulf. She will be the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in Dubai, and the largest ever to spend a full cruise season in the Middle East.
The ship features the largest kids club in the entire MSC fleet, along with dozens of bars, cafes and restaurants and new onboard novelties, such as a totally revamped retail experience. She will also boast the world’s longest dry slide at sea, a spiral descending several deck from the stern of the top deck to the outdoor promenade.