Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises expands embarkation options for Red Sea cruise season out of Saudi

MSC Cruises has expanded its Red Sea cruise season out of Saudi Arabia, adding more embarkation ports in Egypt, as well as shore excursions and pre-cruise stay options.

MSC Splendida is scheduled to homeport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia between November, 2022 and April, 2023, sailing 7-night roundtrip itineraries that visit Egypt and Jordan, in addition to ports in Saudi Arabia.

During each cruise of the season, MSC Splendida will call at Sokhna Port, Safaga for Hurghada and Luxorin Egypt; Aqaba for Petra in Jordan; and Jeddah for AlUla, and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.

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In a sign of the growing interest in Red Sea cruises, the cruise line will also be offering Cairo, Sokhna Port and Safaga in Egypt as embarkation ports, in addition to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

MSC Cruises has also unveiled 33 shore excursions available on each 7-night itinerary, as well as a 9-night holiday experience under its ‘Fly&Cruise’ program with a two-night pre-stay in Cairo before the cruise.

For the first time, an extended 13 hour stay in Sokhna Port, Egypt will allow for trips to the Great Pyramid of Giza, the only remaining ‘Seven Wonders of the World’.

This will be MSC Cruises second time sailing a full winter cruise season from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

The country opened up to the cruise industry just before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but since the cruise industry returned to service in 2021, there has been a boom in cruise calls to Jeddah.

MCS homeported its ship MSC Bellissima in the country for the winter season between November, 2021 and March, 2022, while several cruise lines made maiden port calls to Jeddah during the season.

MSC Cruises said the season was extremely popular with the domestic and international cruise market, with local Saudi passengers making up around 50% of demand for the full season.

In an effort to capitalise on international and domestic interest in cruises from and to Saudi Arabia, Cruise Saudi, the government agency charged with growing the cruise industry locally, has been investing heavily in cruise infrastructure.

Cruise Saudi is planning to develop cruise infrastructure at two ports in the south of the country in the coming years, Duba and Jizan, as well as Dammam and Jeddah. In Jeddah, a new cruise terminal is being built to host ships even larger than MSC Bellissima.

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