Middle East Cruise News

MSC World Europe arrives in Dubai to begin debut Arabian Gulf cruise season

MSC Cruises‘ brand new mega cruise ship MSC World Europa arrived in Dubai this weekend for the first time, docking at the Dubai Cruise Terminal in Port Rashid, from which she will spend the next few months sailing roundtrip cruises in the Arabian Gulf.

MSC World Europa arrived from Doha, where she has spent the past few weeks operating as a floating hotel during the FIFA World Cup 2022. Her Captain Marco Massa, were welcomed by Esam Ahmad, Senior Manager – Business management, P&O Marinas, the operator of Port Rashid.

MSC Cruises’ decision to upgrade their tonnage in the Middle East, especially the deployment of their largest and newest cruise ship to the region, reinforces Port Rashid and the UAE’s position as the region’s most preferred destination for cruise tourism.

The captain was presented with a custom-made plaque celebrating the event in front of senior officials representing MSC and DP World.

MSC World Europa docked in Dubai carrying 4,500 passengers, but the ship’s maximum capacity at double occupancy is 5,400. She is the second-largest class of cruise ship in the world at 200,000 gross tons, just 30,000 gross tons short of the Oasis-class of Royal Caribbean International.

The ship features 33 restaurants, bars and lounges, 13 of which are specifically dining venues, while there are also 20 bars and cafes, serving a variety of cuisines and beverages.

Some of the restaurants are new to the cruise line, such as Chef’s Garden Kitchen which will feature dishes with ingredients from the first hydroponic garden at sea, as well as MSC Cruises’ new signature Mediterranean seafood restaurant La Pescaderia.

Staple dining venues for the cruise line that are available onboard include Butcher’s Cut, Hola! Tacos & Cantina, and Kaito Teppanyaki and Sushi Bar. Among the 20 bars and cafes there are also seven brand new concepts, such as the line’s first onboard microbrewery, a gin bar, and a special mixology cocktail bar.

At the stern of the ship passengers can ride the world’s longest dry slide at sea, which descends from the pool deck down several decks to the Promenade, a 104-meter-long indoor/outdoor space between the ship’s split superstructure.

World Promenade aboard MSC World Europa

The seven deck-high area features entertainment, retail and al-fresco dining with sea views.

MSC World Europa will cruise from Dubai 14 times during the current cruise season, with each week-long roundtrip Dubai cruise visiting Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, Doha the capital of Qatar, and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

An anticipated 189,000 cruise tourists will sail from Dubai throughout the season aboard MSC World Europa alone, representing a significant portion of the more than 600,000 passengers that are expected to sail from Dubai during the season, which ends in March next year.

MSC World Europa is the cruise line’s first LNG-powered ship and emits 99% less sulphur dioxide (SO2), 85% less nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and 20% less carbon dioxide (CO2), compared to non-LNG powered ships. She joins AIDAcosma of the German cruise line AIDA Cruises as the second LNG-powered ship homeporting in Dubai this cruise season.

MSC World Europa alongside at Sir Bani Yas Island

MSC World Europa is also the first in its class to accommodate an LNG-powered fuel cell, helping cut its carbon emissions further. The 50-kilowatt fuel cell runs on solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and uses LNG to produce electricity and heat. This technology helps the vessel reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% when compared with ships powered by conventional LNG engines alone.

“The arrival of the MSC World Europa at Mina Rashid is a significant milestone for the cruise terminal,” said Esam Ahmad, Senior Manager – Business management, P&O Marinas. “It reaffirms our capabilities in accommodating vessels that are not only massive in size, but also unique in their requirements.”

The World Promenade shopping and dining zone aboard MSC World Europa

“We are proud that Mina Rashid can cater to such distinctive and advanced needs, and we are ready to welcome more ships that require similar services,” he added.

According to Ahmad, the current cruise season will see a doubling of cruise tourist numbers compared to last year, which was the first cruise season to be operated since the 2020 pandemic.

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