Cruise Destinations

Cruise Saudi looks to attract more cruise lines to Kingdom in key meeting with CLIA

Cruise Saudi is stepping up its efforts to attract more cruise lines to the Kingdom, as it seeks to develop Saudi Arabia as a leading cruise destination in the Middle East.

Cruise Saudi and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) held discussion at the recent Seatrade Cruise Global 2023 aiming to “expand Saudi Arabia’s presence on the cruise industry map” according to a release.

Cruise Saudi has previously stated that it wants to encourage a greater number of cruise lines to not only call at its ports on the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, but also homeport in the country, offering ports such as Jeddah as homeports for roundtrip and grand voyage itineraries.

Cruise Saudi is looking to get more cruise lines to homeport in Jeddah

Currently, MSC Cruises has committed to a five-year homeport annual season out of Jeddah, and has reported strong demand from the Saudi Arabian home market, as well as international fly-cruise guests.

Cruise Saudi is also endeavouring to grow the local cruise industry with plans to introduce a luxury cruise yacht concept, and recently acquired the former World Dream cruise ship from Genting Hong Kong, although its ultimate plans for the vessel have not been revealed.

The acquisition may indicate plans for Saudi Arabia to introduce the Middle East’s first homegrown cruise concept, which would mark one of the most significant developments in the region’s cruise sector to date.

As the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, the CLIA is a leading authority of the global cruise community and is an instrumental partner for Cruise Saudi during its critical expansion phase, according to the agency.

CLIA’s president and CEO Kelly Craighead and vice president, government affairs, Brian Beall and strategic marketing and commercial consultant, Karyn Gruenberg met with Cruise Saudi executives Barbara Buczek, Chief Asset Management and Operations Officer; Mashhoor Baeshen, Executive Director of Shore Excursion and Destination, Serafin Blazquez, Executive Director of Port Operations and Mohammed Abuzaid, Media and PR Manager.

“We met with our executive partner CLIA to discuss how to further enhance our partnership to strengthen Saudi’s presence on the cruise industry map,” said Mashhoor Baeshen. “We know the CLIA community is built on prestigious cruise lines, ports and destinations, so we look forward to strengthening our relationship and continuing to explore potential collaborations.”

Cruise Saudi is a Diamond Executive Member of the CLIA, which has a three-tiered executive partner programme, that provides an exclusive, global platform with access to key cruise line decision makers and industry peers.

Mashhoor Baeshen further described the talks as “productive” and revealed the discussions form part of Cruise Saudi’s strategic plan to place Saudi as one of the world’s top cruising destinations.

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