Bahrain has commenced the 2022/23 cruise season with a bang, welcoming a trio of cruise ships in just a few days this week carrying 11,000 cruise tourists.
The current cruise season represents Bahrain’s first since the COVID-19 pandemic and will benefit from the increasing size of cruise ships homeporting in Dubai, the region’s primary cruise homeport.
The 180,000 gross ton AIDAcosma of AIDA Cruises, the second-largest cruise ship homeporting in Dubai this cruise season, will call in Bahrain several times during her winter season in the Arabian Gulf, while Artania of Phoenix Reisen, Silver Spirit of Silversea Cruises and Star Legend of Windstar are also scheduled to call in Doha.
These ships will all dock at Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), which is operated by APM Terminals Bahrain and has served as the island nation’s primary cruise port for the past 11 years.
“We are delighted to welcome a new batch of cruise ships and greet thousands of tourists who have chosen Bahrain to be part of their regional cruise itinerary,” said Nasser Qaedi, CEO, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority.
“The cruise industry adds significant value to the tourism sector as one of the tourism strategy’s main pillars, benefiting entertainment, shopping centers, hospitality, hotels, and many other industries,” he added.
The three ships that called in quick succession this week included MSC World Europa, the largest cruise ship ever to cruise in the Middle East and the second-largest class of cruise ship in the world, capable of carrying more than 6,000 passengers at full capacity.
MSC World Europa was followed by AIDAcosma carrying more than 5,000 passengers, while the smaller residential cruise ship The World also called at KBSP with 148 passengers onboard.
Tourism officials in Bahrain are confident in the future growth of the industry, with new shore excursions offered and plans to expand the country’s cruise infrastructure.
“We are confident that the cruise industry will foster tourism revenues, furthering the Kingdom’s position as a popular tourism destination in the region for more European tourists and other nationalities looking to explore Bahrain’s culture and the Arab Gulf’s rich heritage of old history and civilization,” said Al Qaedi.
“BTEA has jointly with the Tourism Ministry spearheaded the launch of multiple tourism packages, targeting various types of tourists, and signed partnerships with several organisations. We wish all cruise passengers a pleasant stay in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” he added.