Abu Dhabi Ports has announced a long-term agreement with MSC Cruises, giving them berthing rights at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach. The deal, signed by Director of Cruise Business at Abu Dhabi Ports, Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri and MSC Cruise CEO, Gianni Onorato, at MSC’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, reinforces Abu Dhabi’s position as a premier destination on the international cruise map. Most importantly, the deal will bring 1.3 million visitors to the capital over the tenure of the agreement. Abu Dhabi’s Cruise Terminal has reported significant growth over the last 12 months, posting a 47 per cent rise in passenger numbers and a 45 per cent rise in vessel calls. The terminal’s bumper year was due in part to MSC Cruises’ commitment earlier this season to include 17 new calls at Zayed Port.
Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, Director – Cruise Business, Abu Dhabi Ports, said, “Our success in substantially boosting passenger volumes year-on-year demonstrates our commitment to develop a world-class cruise destination. With 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.”
Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, added, “Abu Dhabi is a very important embarkation port and popular destination for ashore visits during winter cruises and we are currently serving the city and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach with both MSC Bellissima, the most modern and one of the most environmentally-advanced cruise ships to sail in the Arabian Gulf, and MSC Lirica.”
Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Acting Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said, “MSC Cruises was one of the key players in helping us attract over 500,000 cruise visitors to the capital last year, and we have no doubt in the successes it will bring over the coming years. On our end, we remain committed to providing MSC Cruises and all travellers with exceptional services and extraordinary experiences during their visit to the UAE capital.”