Cruise passengers visiting Abu Dhabi will no longer need to show their COVID pass when entering tourist attractions and visiting landmarks around the city.
The COVID pass, which shows an individual’s latest COVID test results and vaccination status, was introduced by Abu Dhabi authorities during the pandemic and is known locally as Al Hosn.
Passengers coming ashore from cruise ships docked in Abu Dhabi will instead be given wristbands that will serve the same purpose. Cruise passengers in the UAE are no longer required to take a PCR test if they are fully vaccinated.
Non-cruise tourists visiting Abu Dhabi will still be required to take a PCR test in order to keep their Al Hosn status green, which requires a test to have been performed in the last 30 days.
In a memo circulated on Monday, authorities said “passengers and crew arriving in Abu Dhabi via cruise ships are now exempt from Green Pass protocols to enter tourism attractions and establishments”.
“Cruise cards or cruise wristbands issued by cruise ships will be used as identification for passengers and crew, to allow them to enter tourism establishments without having to show a Green Pass on the Al Hosn app,” the statement added.
Circular| Cruise ship passengers and crew are no longer required to follow the Green Pass procedures in order to enter tourist attractions and establishments. Instead, they can enter using cards or wristbands issued by cruise ships. pic.twitter.com/gCXewz9ELL
— Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (@dctabudhabi) October 10, 2022
The move by Abu Dhabi authorities further loosens COVID-19 restrictions that were implemented last year when the cruise industry began to reopen after shutting down globally throughout much of 2020.
Dubai is the primary turnaround port for cruise lines operating in the Arabian Gulf, but several cruise lines, such as AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, and MSC Cruises, interport between both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Interporting is the practice of offering more than one destination as a homeport, where guests can embark and disembark at the beginning and end of the cruise. It’s most common in the Mediterranean market, but has become more popular in the Arabian Gulf in recent years as well.
The UAE is making a strong recovery in the cruise sector this coming cruise season, which runs from October, 2022 to March, 2023. Some 900,000 cruise tourists are expected to board cruise ships in Dubai and Abu Dhabi during the season, compared to just 500,000 during the 2021/22 season, the first since the pandemic.