Dubai's reputation as a premier global cruise destination is set to reach new heights as it ushers in the Second Annual Cruise Season, commencing with the arrival of the luxurious cruise liner Mein Schiff 2 on October 28, 2023. The vessel docked at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal at Mina Rashid, signaling the start of another exciting season for cruise enthusiasts.
The bustling city of Dubai, renowned for its unparalleled hospitality and an array of world-class attractions, is gearing up for an influx of up to 150 cruise ships throughout the upcoming season. This reinforces Dubai's status as a leading global hub for cruise tourism, attracting travelers from around the world who are eager to explore its vibrant cultural offerings and modern amenities.
The arrival of Mein Schiff 2 on October 28 marked the first port call in Dubai for the new cruise season, setting the stage for what promises to be a remarkable period of maritime adventures. Additionally, Dubai will play host to the Resilient Lady Ship operated by Virgin Voyages for the first time, with the vessel embarking on two exciting routes from the city this season.
Dubai has played a pivotal role in the Cruise Arabia alliance, a strategic partnership that aims to provide more integrated regional cruise services. This alliance, which includes key ports in the region such as Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Oman, seeks to promote the Arabian Gulf as a premier cruise ship destination on a global scale.
Dubai's allure continues to attract major cruise operators, with renowned companies like MSC Cruises, TUI Cruises, Aida Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Ponant Cruises considering it as a home port. The city will also host away port calls by distinguished cruise lines such as Cunard, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and Cordelia Cruises, to name a few.
The cruise industry in Dubai has enjoyed significant success in recent years, solidifying its position as a global leader. Mina Rashid was honored as the Middle East's Leading Cruise Port during the World Travel Awards for 2023. Dubai Harbour had previously been recognized as the World’s Best New Cruise Development during the 1st Annual World Cruise Awards in 2021. These accolades underscore Dubai's growing popularity as a preferred cruise destination.
Furthermore, sustainability is a central focus for Dubai as a cruise destination. The city welcomes environmentally conscious cruise liners, such as the MSC World Europa, powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), and the Costa Toscana, equipped with new LNG propulsion engines, underlining Dubai's commitment to environmental responsibility.
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, expressed his excitement about the new cruise season, emphasizing that it aligns with Dubai's ambition to consolidate its status as one of the world's top three cities for business and leisure, as per the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer of Shamal Holding, the owner and curator of Dubai Harbour, noted the impressive growth in the cruise sector and the positive momentum it has achieved. He highlighted the substantial increase in the number of passengers and ship calls at Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal.
Hamza Mustafa, Chief Operating Officer of DP World, expressed their commitment to providing an exceptional experience for cruise ship passengers visiting Dubai. He noted the significant increase in visitors forecasted for the 2023-2024 season, reinforcing Dubai's position as a major port of embarkation and a popular call for cruise lines in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf.
Dubai's appeal as a cruise destination extends beyond its picturesque ports. The city boasts world-class terminal facilities capable of accommodating the largest international cruise vessels. Dubai's strategic location as a gateway to the region, along with its seamless visa facilities and outstanding infrastructure, has made it an attractive destination for cruise lines and passengers from around the world.
With two major terminals for cruise ships, Mina Rashid and Dubai Harbour, the city is well-equipped to handle the influx of cruise enthusiasts. Mina Rashid, a globally acclaimed cruise destination, has earned numerous accolades, including being recognized as the Middle East's Leading Cruise Port. It offers a range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, setting the benchmark for international peers.
Dubai Harbour, inaugurated in 2021, is a state-of-the-art cruise terminal that was the first to host an LNG-powered ship. Located at the intersection of the iconic Palm Jumeirah and Bluewaters Island, it provides comprehensive berthing facilities alongside a wide range of shopping, dining, and leisure options.
Dubai's thriving maritime industry and its commitment to sustainable growth are evident in the city's continuous investments in cruise terminal infrastructure. With its commitment to ensuring a hassle-free entry process, world-class facilities, and a vibrant social calendar, Dubai is poised to offer an extraordinary experience to cruise tourists from around the world during the 2023-2024 season.