Middle East Cruise News

MSC World Europa makes maiden call in Dammam Saudi Arabia after visa delay

MSC World Europa has finally made her maiden call in Dammam, Saudi Arabia on her 2022/23 Middle East cruise season out of Dubai, after having to cancel the port call on the first two cruises of the season.

MSC World Europa has Dammam in Saudi Arabia scheduled as a regular port call on her 7-night roundtrip itineraries from Dubai, visiting various ports in the Arabian Gulf, but was only able to call in the city for the first time on January 11th.

According to passengers onboard the ship, the port call in Dammam was cancelled last week and the week before due to visa issues, with the majority of the ship’s passengers unable to obtain Saudi Arabia’s e-Maritime Visa for cruise tourists.

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msc world europa alongside in dammam, saudi arabia (picture by petteri mikkonen)

Those issues have now reportedly been rectified, and MSC World Europa was able to call in Dammam as planned. During the previous two cruises, Manama in Bahrain was the substitute port.

MSC World Europa is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in the Arabian Gulf. The ship carries 5,400 passengers and offers a range of entertainment features and amenities for the first time for MSC Cruises.

One example is the longest dry slide on a cruise ship and a split superstructure that creates an indoor-outdoor space in the middle of the vessel.

This 104-meter-long space is called the Promenade. The seven deck-high area opens onto the aft of the ship where the Venon slide is located. In addition to sea views, the space features entertainment, retail and al-fresco dining.

Many of the ship’s 13 restaurants are in this area, although with several dozen bars, cafes and lounges dotted around the vessel passengers will never be far from a dining or refreshment option.

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dammam from the deck of msc world europa (picture by petteri mikkonen)

MSC World Europa is essentially a hotel, resort, and mall in one, with six pools, a water park, multiple children’s play areas for babies, toddlers, children, and teens, video game arcades, a theatre, spas, a salon, boutiques, and shops. There are even bumper cars.

On each of her 7-night cruise itineraries, MSC World Europa will call at four ports in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These include Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Doha, and Damman.

When MSC World Europa wraps up her current 2022/23 winter cruise season in Dubai, she’ll reposition back to the Mediterranean, but will also offer a unique 10-night cruise to Barcelona from Jeddah on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.

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