Five new cruise ships are expected dock at Bahrain’s Khalifa Bin Salman Port during the upcoming 2023/24 cruise season, with a total of 47 cruise calls scheduled overall.
The cruise season will commence in October, 2023 and run through April, 2024, with cruise lines homeporting in Dubai driving the growth, especially when it comes to maiden port calls.
A maiden port calls marks the first time a cruise ship has docked in a particular destination, and with cruise lines upgrading the vessels they’re homeporting in the Arabian Gulf out of Dubai, Bahrain looks set to cash in.
According to Dr Nasser Qaedi, CEO, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), Windstar Cruises, Ponant, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and AIDA Cruises are among the lines sending ships to Bahrain for the first time.
Qaedi made the comments during Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority’s (BTEA) participation in the Seatrade Cruise Europe Exhibition and Conference.
The annual event brings together professionals in the cruise industry to discuss current trends and challenges, showcase innovations, and network with peers.
The conference took place in Hamburg, Germany, with leading tourism companies, tour operators, decision-makers from various cruise and river tourism companies, as well as, European cruise authorities attending.
“Our involvement in Seatrade Cruise Europe has allowed us to strengthen Bahrain’s standing as a unique tourist destination,” said Qaedi. “We’ve showcased our array of marine tourism attractions and the wealth of diverse experiences it offers.”
“We invite interested parties to explore these opportunities through close collaboration with our partners in the Kingdom’s ports,” he added.
BTEA is expecting substantial growth in the number of cruise tourist arrivals in the kingdom on the back of the post-COVID industry recovery, resulting in a notable doubling of tourism sector revenues and a considerable uplift in its contribution to the national economy.
Bahrain is not as established a cruise destination as some of the other Arabian Gulf ports on the usual roundtrip Dubai circuit, such as Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Muscat, Khasab and Doha.
However, the island nation offers visitors an engaging blend of tradition, culture, and modernity. With its historic sites like Bahrain Fort, bustling souks, stunning architecture like the Bahrain World Trade Center, and the serene Qal’at al-Bahrain, it offers something for history enthusiasts, shoppers, and those seeking a unique Middle Eastern experience.
Bahrain is also known for its warm hospitality and culinary delights, including delicious local cuisine and international fare, as well as the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix and diverse festivals.