Middle East Cruise News

Dubai cruise sector set to welcome almost a million passengers this season

Some 900,000 cruise tourists are expected to cruise to or from Dubai during the upcoming cruise season between October, 2022 and March, 2023.

There are five cruise ships homeporting in Dubai during the upcoming season, with a total of 166 port calls scheduled on their roundtrip itineraries in the Arabian Gulf.

The ships from AIDA, TUI, Costa, and MSC Cruises will homeport in Port Rashid near Dubai Creek, and at the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal near Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah.

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The strong recovery compared to last year is a result of an increase in homeporting cruise lines, as well as the size of ships being deployed to the Middle East.

Costa Cruises has upgraded its itineraries to the largest and newer Costa Toscana, while MSC Cruises and AIDA Cruises will be deploying the largest ships in their fleets to the region.

MSC Cruises will have the world’s second-largest class of cruise ship, MSC World Europa, homeporting in Dubai, along with its smaller ship MSC Opera, while AIDA Cruises will be sending AIDAcosma, a sister ship to Carnival’s Mardi Gras.

AIDA Cruises is owned by Carnival, the largest cruise company in the world, which has made the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is new regional hub for all its cruise ships operating in the Arabian Gulf.

AIDA and Costa ships at the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal

The new cruise season will kick off on October 29th with the arrival of Mein Schiff 6 of TUI Cruises.

She will cruise roundtrip from Dubai on 7-night itineraries visiting various ports in the UAE and Oman, and will be joined in the coming weeks by MSC Opera and World Europa, Costa Toscana, and AIDAcosma.

“The cruise industry is an integral part of Dubai’s tourism sector and plays an important role in reinforcing the emirate’s status as a global tourism hub,” said Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Border Security Council.

“Dubai’s robust port infrastructure and state-of-the-art terminal facilities can handle some of the world’s largest cruise ships, underpinning the city’s reputation as one of the world’s most advanced cruise destinations and a key gateway for regional and international cruise itineraries,” he added.

Dubai has invested significantly in the last few years in the development of ports and cruise terminal infrastructure, providing hassle-free entry procedures and visa facilities, and strengthening collaboration with leading industry players and stakeholders to further drive cruise numbers.

The city’s popularity as a cruise destination has expanded significantly over the past decade, resulting in the world’s biggest cruise liners consistently including Dubai as a port of call in their annual cruise itineraries.

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