The burgeoning reputation of Dubai as an international hub for cruise tourism is set to be bolstered by an eventful 2013-14 season, with more than 20 leading global cruise lines anticipated to bring in as many as 300,000 tourists to the Emirate, according to Dubai Cruise Tourism (DCT), an entity of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
From tours of the Arabian Gulf – taking in the region’s most majestic cities – to longer voyages to the Far East, India and the Mediterranean, cruises from Dubai will continue to offer a diverse selection of destinations for holidaymakers seeking adventure and relaxation alike over the coming season. By selecting the Emirate as a home port, tourists will be able to take advantage of its spectacular attractions – from world-renowned skyscrapers and shopping malls to beaches and leisure venues – at both the beginning and end of their expedition.
Among the upcoming cruises with Dubai as its home port are Cruise Ship Costa Fortuna and Cost Neo Riviera travelling to two of Oman’s major cities, Muscat and Khasab, as well as Abu Dhabi. Others include the Aida Diva – which visits Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain – and the MSC Lirica – stopping at Abu Dhabi, Khor Fakkan, Muscat and Khasab.
To celebrate the success of the 2012-2013 season, DCT held an appreciation ceremony on October 28th to thank its partners and stakeholders for their crucial role in Dubai’s emergence as one of the world’s most attractive cruise destinations.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: “The 2012-13 cruise season reached new heights. We are proud to announce 93 confirmed ship calls this season, which include 63 home porting ship calls: 27 from Costa, 17 from Aida, and 19 from MSC ships. We’re also delighted to welcome seven maiden ship calls, a reflection of Dubai’s burgeoning appeal as a cruise hub.”
More than twenty of the world’s leading cruise lines have Dubai as a port of call in their itineraries. This is testament to the initiatives and tireless efforts of DTCM and its partners, as well as continued investment in Dubai Cruise Terminal’s state-of-the-art facilities and services, including the largest cruise facility in the Middle East: 20,000 square meters, on a 1,900 meter pier stretch.
A planned expansion, which will endow Dubai Cruise Terminals with an additional facility spanning over 27,000 square meters to cater to cruise lines and visitors from 2014, is currently underway. Consequently, Dubai Cruise Terminals will be able to comfortably handle complete passenger turnaround of five cruise ships simultaneously.
Helal Saeed Almarri added: “The Middle East is increasingly being recognised as a key growth market, following major commitments to make substantial investments to promote the cruise tourism industry. This, in turn, is further establishing the promising outlook for the region’s cruise sector and helping to boost reciprocal tourism potential in key destinations across the GCC.”
Mohammed Al Mannaei, Director, Mina Rashid, DP World, UAE Region, said: “Dubai is fast becoming a leading cruise destination in the Middle East, a result of the long standing relationship between DP World and DTCM, that has enabled the awarded Mina Rashid to be the best cruise port in the region for the past five years consecutively. We hope and trust this relationship between us will reach broader horizons in the cruise industry, for the benefit of Dubai and the UAE”.
In a subsequent award ceremony, trophies were presented to DP World, Dubai Immigration, Dubai Customs, Dubai Police, Dubai Maritime City Authority, Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation – Security Department (PCFC-SD), the Roads & Transport Authority, the Department of Environment Health and Safety, Dubai Culture and various cruise ship agencies such as Gulf Agency Co., Inchcape Shipping, Kanoo Shipping, Khimji Ramdass, Rais Hassan Saadi, Seamaster Maritime, and Wilhelmsen as well as tour operators such as Arabian Adventures, Gulf Ventures, Orient Tours, Sharaf Tours, SNTTA, and Travco. Together, these partners have provided Dubai with one of its strongest cruise seasons ever. Dubai has, from humble beginnings, developed into a world-class destination within the cruise industry. With awards, roadshows and new cruise companies being attracted, the Emirate is now a fixture on many of the world’s premier cruise itineraries.
Dubai is currently the home port for five of the world’s leading cruise lines - Costa, Aida, Royal Caribbean, TUI and MSC. Three of these lines – Costa and MSC Cruises from Italy and Aida cruises from Germany – will be operating Gulf Cruise itineraries out of Dubai this season, representing a total deployment of four ships. TUI Cruises from Germany will resume their operations from the 2014/15 season and the Emirate is looking forward to welcoming USA based Royal Caribbean again in the 2015/16 season.