AIDA Cruises has confirmed that it will re-deploy AIDAcosma to the Middle East for the 2023/24 Arabian Gulf cruise season, homeporting once more at the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal.
AIDAcosma, the cruise line’s largest and newest ship, is currently homeporting in Dubai, sailing roundtrip week-long itineraries in the Arabian Gulf.
The ship’s 2023/24 season in Dubai will be largely similar, with AIDAcosma arriving in Dubai after a 21-night repositioning voyage from Palma De Mallorca, and sailing the first cruise of the season on October 28th, 2023.
The ship will sail 21 of these itineraries between October and April, departing Dubai on April 13th, 2024 for Palma De Mallorca, a 19-night voyage with 9 port calls and a transit of the Suez Canal.
For each of the 21 roundtrip cruises in the Arabian Gulf during the winter season, guests can also choose between either Dubai or Abu Dhabi as their homeport, a practise known as inter-porting, which both Costa and MSC also offer during their Middle East seasons.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and Doha, the capital of Qatar, are the two primary port calls on each of these cruises.
Abu Dhabi is home to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an architectural wonder of 82 domes, 24-carat gold-gilded chandeliers, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, as well as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, with its spectacular sun-dappled dome that weighs more than the Eiffel Tower.
From Abu Dhabi, because the ship stays overnight in port, guests can also undertake desert safaris to the edge of the imposing Empty Quarter, a 650,000sqkm desert shared between the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
In Doha, guests can explore priceless Islamic art spanning 1,400 years and three continents at the Museum of Islamic Art, or discover inventive cuisine at Alain Ducasse’s IDAM restaurant, before making their way to Souq Waqif, the Arabic market quarter.
The maze-like corridors of this quarter were recently renovated, but the timeless aroma of spices, and the sights of colorful textiles and gold jewelry remain.
On itineraries that feature Sir Bani Yas, guests can choose between a relaxing beach day in the sun, or stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and a game safari Jeep drive or mountain bike excursion.
On itineraries that feature Muscat instead, the ancient capital of Oman offers shopping at Muttrah Souq, the city’s oldest market, or a taste of culture and history at the colorful Sultan’s palace and the Jelali and Merani forts, or adventure in the desert and mountains with their oases and wadis, and the medieval Nakhl Fort.
At more than 180,000-gross tons, AIDAcosma is one of the largest cruise ships ever to homeport in the Middle East, eclipsed only by MSC Cruises’ new ship World Europa, which also homeported in Dubai during the 2022/23 winter season.
AIDAcosma offers a variety of amenities and features for passengers, including the Ocean Deck, a four-level sunbathing area that is complete with an infinity pool and all-round panoramic views of the sea.
There’s a new Fun Park with a large indoor playground, a ropes course, a bouldering wall and more, such as the Beach Club, the Theatrium with its 360° stage, the TV studio and the spacious Body & Soul Organic Spa.
There are also 17 restaurants and 23 bars and cafés, including new specialty restaurants, such as Mamma Mia, which serves homemade pasta and fresh Italian cuisine.