Saudi Arabia has been shortlisted for “Middle East’s Best Cruise Destination,” “Destination of the Year,” and “Best for Excursions” by three different leading cruise industry awards programs.
The entry of Saudi Arabia into the list comes just a few years after the country opened its borders to cruise tourism, with MSC Cruises thus far the only cruise line to have homeported in the country for a full winter cruise season.
Several other cruise lines, such as Phoenix Reisen, Viking, Silversea, Seabourn and other have either used Saudi Arabia for turnaround port calls, or as a key cruise destination on the Red Sea, which has long suffered from a lack of cruise ports on repositioning voyages between east and west.
Saudi Arabia has been recognized by the World Cruise Awards, Seatrade Cruise Awards, and Wave Awards for 2023.
The World Cruise Awards, held in Dubai, recognize and celebrate excellence in the global cruise sector.
Saudi Arabia’s nomination for “Middle East’s Best Cruise Destination” is a reflection of Cruise Saudi’ssuccess in launching and developing the Saudi cruise sector, enhancing ports along the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, and creating Shorex experiences that showcase Saudi’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, authentic culture, and welcoming hospitality.
Cruise Saudi is the local government-owned agency charged with developing Saudi Arabia as a cruise destination. The company is backed by the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, and is currently investing several hundred million dollars in the launch of a domestic Saudi Arabian cruise line.
The Seatrade Cruise Awards are an industry-focused program judged by leaders in the sector with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Saudi Arabia’s “Destination of the Year” nomination is a reflection of its significant strides in promoting cruise tourism. The nomination recognizes how Cruise Saudi has successfully positioned itself as a crucial pillar in the kingdom’s growing tourism industry, in line with Vision 2030, and has had a significant positive impact on the perception of cruise tourism not only in Saudi Arabia, but internationally as well.
The Wave Awards in London are also decided by an expert panel of industry judges who are looking for excellence in the cruise industry.
Saudi Arabia’s “Best for Excursions” nomination is a result of the cruise shore excursion “The Lives of Saudi Women”, which is exclusive to female cruise passengers and designed to give guests a deeper understanding of the role of women in Saudi Arabia.
The excursion takes guests through Jeddah Historic District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and into one of the 18 historical women’s shelters in the area, which was recently transformed by Saudi entrepreneur Mrs. Haleel Alabassi into an Arabic language school.
Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and services both offshore and onshore, and a unique and compelling Shorex program, these award nominations showcase Cruise Saudi as a major player on the world cruising stage, with the ability to create unforgettable experiences for passengers to rival even long-established cruise tourism destinations.
“We’re delighted to be nominated for awards at the World Cruise Awards, Seatrade Cruise Awards, and Wave Awards,” Cruise Saudi CEO Lars Clasen said. “The categories we have been nominated for are especially important to us, as they recognize the hard work our team and our partners have put in to create exceptional experiences for our passengers and to make a positive contribution to the wider global cruising industry.”