Middle East Cruise News

Luxury cruise yacht operator Emerald to return to Middle East for 2024/25 season

Emerald Cruises is returning to the Middle East for the 2024/25 winter cruise season with nine itineraries featuring departures from Aqaba in Jordan or Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, with port calls in Egypt, Petra and the untapped expanses of the Saudi Red Sea coast.

The luxury boutique cruising superyacht Emerald Azzurra will homeport in Aqaba for a range of roundtrip 9-night cruises in the Red Sea in March, 2025, as well as November, 2025 and April, 2026, with cruises between Aqaba and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, as well as the Mediterranean also on offer.

Aqaba in Jordan is the gateway to the iconic lost city of Petra in the Wadi Rum desert, while Jeddah is Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning cruise port, and the gateway to the many archeological wonders of the interior, including several World Heritage Sites.

Emerald Azzurra

Emerald Azzurra previously homeported in Doha, Qatar, sailing roundtrip itineraries in the Arabian Gulf, but now with the expansion of the Emerald fleet, the cruise line has been able to expand the range of itineraries on offer.

“The highly anticipated debut of Emerald Sakara last month represented a thrilling milestone for Emerald Cruises, effectively doubling our oceanic capacity,” said Ken Muskat, Managing Director for the US, of Emerald’s parent company Scenic Group.

“Our guests can now indulge in our exceptional luxury yacht experience encompassing an even broader selection of secluded ports and off-the-beaten-path harbors worldwide,” he added.

Emerald in its promotional material for the new itineraries promises a captivating journey through Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, with visits to the glamorous resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, and the unique black sand dunes in Safaga.

Guests will also be able to explore the diving capital of Saudi Arabia, Yanbu, and then travel from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to the holiest cities in all of Islam.

Other departures from Aqaba and Jeddah feature itineraries that transit the Suez Canal to visit Israel and the Holy Land, offering a unique and poignant understanding of one of the most significant regions in the world.

The entry of Emerald Cruises into the Red Sea cruise sector is a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s growing popularity as a cruise destination. Although the Kingdom only opened to cruise lines in 2021, it has quickly established itself as a popular destination.

MSC Cruises homeports annually, while dozens of major cruise lines have either sailed itineraries from Jeddah, or featured Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast as a port call on East-West and Med to Middle East itineraries.

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