In a first for the regional cruise sector, Saudi Arabia has announced plans to launch its own homegrown cruise line called AROYA Cruises.
The AROYA Cruises brand will be owned by Cruise Saudi, a 100 per cent Public Investment Fund owned business, tasked with growing Saudi Arabia’s cruise tourism industry, but will operate as an independent entity.
The brand name for the new cruise line is an amalgamation of the words Arabian and Roya, meaning vision or dream. The new business unit will be led by Ghassan Khan, who said the establishment of the new Saudi cruise line would support the Kingdom’s efforts to become an international cruise destination.
“This is an extremely exciting time,” said Khan. “It is a privilege to bring this cruise line to launch as a core element of Saudi’s development as an international cruising destination.”
AROYA Cruises will offer Saudi nationals, expatriates, and regional guests a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of Saudi from the sea.
In a statement, Cruise Saudi said the new cruise line would be committed to showcasing Arabian experiences, reflecting the country’s rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and warm hospitality.
AROYA Cruises will provide an immersive journey, designed and tailored to reflect its brand values of inspiration, enrichment, generosity and respect, according to a press release.
No details have been released about the onboard cruise experience, or the ship that will launch the cruise line, but it’s to be expected that it will operate the former World Dream, which was purchased by Cruise Saudi earlier this year and renamed Manara.
In a statement, Cruise Saudi said AROYA Cruises would be committed to an exceptional passenger experience and will offer the highest standard of service, facilities and shore excursion programme culminating in a unique offering in the region.
“This momentous step marks a historical milestone in Cruise Saudi’s ambitious strategy to create a premium cruise ecosystem in Saudi, in line with Vision 2030,” said Lars Clasen, CEO of Cruise Saudi.
“AROYA Cruises will be operating as an autonomous brand within the Cruise Saudi portfolio, aiming to provide experiences and services specifically designed to embrace Arabian preferences,” he added.
This is the most significant development thus far in Cruise Saudi’s strategic goals of welcoming 1.3 million cruise visitors by 2035 and providing 50,000 direct and indirect jobs through the cruise tourism sector.
Saudi Arabia has rapidly grown into a major cruise destination and homeport in the regional cruise sector, with MSC Cruises home-porting annually in Jeddah and carrying more than 50,000 passengers per cruise season, but until now the Arabian Gulf has never had its own cruise line.
AROYA Cruises itineraries and packages are currently under development and will be announced at its commercial launch to be held in the coming months.