‘Queen Mary 2’, the world's largest ocean liner and luxury flagship of Cunard Line, made its maiden call to the Port Zayed cruise terminal in Abu Dhab on Tuesday, signalling the UAE capital's rising international status as a cruise liner destination.
On its first visit to Abu Dhabi, one of the key destinations on the Queen Mary 2's 2013 "World Voyage", the Cunard Fleet Commodore, Christopher Rynd, was welcomed to Abu Dhabi by the British Ambassador to the UAE Dominic Jermey, Capt. Mohamed Al Shamisi, Executive Vice President, Ports, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) and Nasser S. Al Reyami, Director of Tourism Standards, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
Arriving at 6:30am, Commodore Rynd and Capt. Shamisi later exchanged plaques to commemorate this historic visit, while disembarking passengers were treated to a distinctly Emirati welcome, with cultural displays, bus tours of the city and performances of traditional Emirati dances on the quayside, organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
Queen Mary 2, the world's most expensive luxury cruise liner, will spend 12 hours at Mina Zayed's cruise terminal before departing for its next port of call which is Kochi in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
Commenting on the ship's arrival, Capt. Mohamed Al Shamisi said: "We are delighted to welcome the Queen Mary 2, its crew and passengers to Abu Dhabi, as part of her 2013 world voyage. This historic event clearly underlines the UAE capital's growing status as an international tourist and cruise destination, and we will be working hard to continue to develop and transform Mina Zayed further, to facilitate and accommodate the growth of Abu Dhabi's cruise liner business."
With the recent shift of all container shipping into Abu Dhabi to the newly inaugurated Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi Ports Company has indicated that Mina Zayed will be developing its cruise terminal facilities and capacity. The port is close to the centre of the UAE's capital city.
Over 100 vessels and 250,000 cruise passengers are expected to pass through Abu Dhabi during the 2014/15 cruise season.
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