CRUISE ALONG

Dubai’s successful cruise season weighs anchor. Over 157 ships and over 625,000 tourists were in Dubai this cruise season. At a road show hosted by the Dubai Cruise Tourism in Bengaluru at Vivanta by Taj, Dubai Cruise Tourism revealed a 15 per cent increase in visitors compared to the previous season and feels this will only increase in the months to come. The 2016/2017 Dubai Cruise season officially concluded with the departure of the season’s final ship, the C.S. Sea Princess, from Port Rashid recently. After a stopover in Dubai, the luxury ship’s only port of call in the GCC, the C.S. Sea Princess continued her voyage to Aqaba as part of 104-nights round trip around the world. This marked the end of a successful season for Dubai Cruise Tourism, which saw over 625,000 cruise tourists visit the city via a total of 157 ship calls, reflecting an increase of 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively when compared to the 2015/2016 season. The season also saw Thomson Cruises, the first UK-based cruise line home porting in the region, in addition to inaugural visits from TUI’s Mein Schiff 1 Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star and MSC’s MSC Fantasia among the eight other maiden ship calls.

Commenting on the success of the 2016/2017 season, Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism said: “We are very pleased with the success of our 2016/2017 cruising season, and with the city’s sustained popularity as a winter cruise destination. We are grateful to DP World, Dubai Airports, Dubai Immigration, Dubai Customs, Emirates Airlines and our other key public and private sector stakeholders for their continued cooperation which has led to an ever-increasing number of cruise operators looking to anchor in the emirate. Bolstered by our recent success and our upcoming partnerships over the coming seasons, we are confident we will achieve our strategic goal of welcoming 1 million cruise tourists to Dubai by 2020/ 21 cruise season.” He also added that Dubai is a perfect getaway for a cruise owing to its geographic location, air connectivity, airports, accomodation, shopping, family destination, simplified immigration procedures, ranked number 4 in top global cities, besides other reasons. The C.S. Sea Princess, an 857 feet-long ship from Princess Cruises, made her way to Dubai from Colombo, bringing almost 3,000 cruise tourists to the city. Her stop in Dubai was in close succession to one made earlier by her sister ship from Princess Cruises; the C.S. Majestic Princess a brand-new vessel, built in Italy earlier this year, making its maiden call to Dubai carrying over 3,500 passengers and over 1,300 crew. The Dubai Cruise 2017/2018 season is set to commence on October 25, with the arrival of cruise ship Seabourn Encore. More recently, Dubai Cruise also announced that P&O Cruises would be home porting in Dubai for the first time during the 2018/2019 season. Over 25.3 million passengers are expected to sail in 2017.