Dubai’s cruise sector is booming, growing at more than 51% in terms of cruise tourism numbers last year, largely as a result of the ever-larger cruise ships sailing from the city, which is itself a result of the logistics of repositioning ships between the Mediterranean and Asia, according to Cruise Arabia & Africa.
The upcoming 2019/2020 season is expected to see more than 200 port calls in Dubai by the eight cruise ships homeporting in the city and an estimated one million cruise visitors.
A further 60+ port calls will be made by cruise ships repositioning between East and West or on Grand Voyages through the region.
The rapid growth in numbers is largely a result of cruise lines increasing the size of the ship’s they’re homeporting in Dubai – while passenger numbers have increased 51% year-on-year, the number of cruise ship calls has increased 38%.
MSC Cruises will base its largest cruise ship MSC Bellissima in the region, Costa Cruises is sending its second-largest ship to Dubai, Costa Diadema, and AIDA Cruises has made its second-largest cruise ship AIDAprima, an annual Arabian Gulf fixture for the past two years.
The cruise liners will homeport at Dubai’s award-winning Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal, home to world-class facilities capable of handling seven mega-cruise vessels at one time.
In fact, the terminal will receive five cruise vessels in a single day on 11 occasions throughout this season and six cruise vessels in a single day twice throughout the season.
“Dubai has continued to strengthen its position as the leading cruise hub in the region, and is now the preferred destination for cruise travellers looking to experience the diversity of Dubai’s tourism offerings including the Arabian hospitality, culture and heritage,” says Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Tourism.
“Last season, we witnessed remarkable growth in visitor footfall and international cruise liners opting to dock at the award-winning Mina Rashid cruise terminal, reflecting Dubai’s ongoing efforts to provide international visitors with holistic and world-class services throughout their journeys,” he added.