AROYA Cruises, Saudi Arabia’s first domestic cruise line, and the first cruise brand for the Arab world, has announced a partnership with retail operator Gebr. Heinemann for its first ship.
Gebr. Heinemann will work alongside the cruise line to develop and operate a high-end retail experience for guests in the ship’s onboard mall area.
The announcement is a part of Cruise Saudi’s wider strategy to partner with sector-leading vendors to ensure AROYA Cruises offers the highest standard of services and comes just days after the announcement that Columbia Blue would handle ship management operations.
“AROYA Cruises will provide our passengers with joyful and memorable premium experiences, and a crucial part of this is the retail offering onboard,” said Lars Clasen, CEO of Cruise Saudi. “We are thrilled to be collaborating exclusively with Gebr. Heineman to deliver such an exceptional high-end retail offering.”
Cruise Saudi is the parent company of AROYA Cruises, and is itself backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The agency has been charged with developing Saudi Arabia’s fast-growing cruise sector, and has already acquired the former World Dream for conversion as its first Saudi Arabian cruise ship.
The government agency is also spearheading the development of cruise infrastructure in the Kingdom, from the building of world-class cruise terminals and itineraries for cruise line, to the establishment of unique and interesting shore excursions and in-land destinations for passengers.
Saudi Arabia was until 2021 closed to cruise tourism, but now hosts an annual cruise season between November and March with MSC Cruises and other cruise lines homeporting in Jeddah. In its first year, more than 50,000 passengers, almost half of them Saudi Arabia, sailed on cruises from Jeddah.
The launch of a domestic cruise line will put Saudi Arabia on the map as a major cruise destination and source market by penetrating the local market with a cruise offering aligned with local tastes and culture.
Gebr. Heinemann is currently supplying over 50 airlines, operating as wholesalers and retailers in over 90 countries, and supplies or operates shops onboard 240 cruise ships. Its range of products include everything from perfumes and cosmetics to confectionery, accessories, watches and jewellery.
“We are very excited to be onboard AROYA Cruises,” said Kerstin Schepers, Managing Director for the Cruise Business at Gebr. Heinemann. “On its first ship, we want to inspire travellers with our impressive employees and our spectacular assortment. We promise unforgettable shopping experiences to guests.”