Middle East Cruise News

Former World Dream arrives in drydock ahead of debut for Saudi cruise line

Saudi Arabia’s upcoming cruise ship Manara has arrived in drydock for her conversion from World Dream into the debut cruise liner for AROYA Cruises.

The ship has gone into drydock in Germany at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, where the 3,500-guest ship will be transformed into Manara, the first-ever Saudi Arabian cruise ship.

Further details about what will be offered on board the ship have not been released, but in a statement announcing the launch of the new cruise line, AROYA Cruises promised an authentic Arabian experience.

World Dream, now renamed Manara.

More details as well as an in-service date are expected to be announced soon.

The ship was originally built by Meyer Werft for Genting’s Dream Cruises brand, offering a premium cruise experience to Asian guests, but was sold at auction in December to Cruise Saudi following the bankruptcy of Genting.

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.

“This is an extremely exciting time,” said Ghassan Khan, CEO, AROYA Cruises. “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.

Pool deck aboard World Dream prior to sale

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.

Those brand values suggest the kind of cruise experience guests can expect with AROYA Cruises. The cruise line is likely to offer a premium cruise product tailored to the hospitable culture of the Middle East, while also being sensitive to regional sensibilities.

There are unlikely to be any casinos aboard the ship, for example, while the cruise line will also most likely be a dry experience, without any alcohol served on-board. It will therefore be primarily targeted at the domestic Saudi Arabian and wider Middle East cruise market.

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.

AROYA Cruises is not only the first ever Saudi Arabian cruise line, but also the first homegrown cruise line in the Middle East.

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