Signed by Abu Dhabi Ports director of cruise business Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri and MSC Cruise CEO Gianna Onorata, it is hoped the deal will bring more than 1.3 million cruise tourists to the UAE capital.
Abu Dhabi’s Cruise Terminal had a strong 2019, it reported a 47% rise in passenger traffic, along with a 45% rise in vessel calls. In the final month of the year, the port celebrated one of its busiest days, processing more than 8,000 visitors.
Al Dhaheri said: "Our continued partnership with MSC Cruises is testament to our already strong relationship, and reflects the quality of services we provide to the world's leading cruise operators at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach. Our success in substantially boosting passenger volumes year on year demonstrates our commitment to developing a world-class cruise destination."
"With the investment in infrastructure and enhanced operations and services to serve the cruise liners arriving in Abu Dhabi, we have cemented our position as the leading destination in the Gulf region. Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal is emerging as the ultimate point of disembarkation for international cruise liners," he added.
Onorato continued: "This new agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports for preferential berthing rights is another demonstration of the long-term commitment from MSC Cruises to the Arabian Gulf, and it will further, consolidate our position as the largest passenger cruise operator in the region."The agreement came soon after Abu Dhabi Ports’ announcement for an AED100 million investment plan. A new cruise jetty at Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach, capable of transporting 5,000 people, is slated for a 2021 launch.