Category Archives: Cruises

Global cruise operator MSC Cruises launches naming ceremony for luxury liner

His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Council for Border Crossing Points Security, today attended one of the biggest cruise ship naming ceremonies in the region, in an event that reflects the rising global profile of Dubai’s cruise industry. Hollywood superstar Sophia Loren officially named MSC Virtuosa, the new luxury liner launched by MSC Cruises at a glittering ceremony held at Port Rashid. In partnership with DP World and Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, MSC Cruises, the world’s third largest cruise operator and part of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, chose Dubai for the naming ceremony in recognition of the Group’s commitment to Dubai and the UAE, as well as the wider Middle East market where MSC Cruises is the brand leader. The milestone event reflects Dubai’s emergence as a must-visit destination for global cruise holidaymakers and reinforces the importance of the cruise industry’s contribution to the growth of Dubai’s tourism industry. His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “Dubai’s glorious seafaring legacy, which is an integral part of its cultural heritage, has inspired its development as a major global maritime destination. The emirate’s status as a leading international maritime hub has significantly strengthened its position as a pivotal global trade and tourism centre.” Furthermore, His Highness noted that “Dubai’s renewed growth as an international cruise tourism hub, overcoming the repercussions of global challenges in the industry, is testament to the vision of the leadership to create an infrastructure that surpasses the world’s best. The accelerated rebound of its cruise industry also reflects Dubai’s ability to adapt rapidly and flexibly to the evolving global situation and take advantage …

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Dubai Harbour welcomes its first cruise passengers from cruise ship AIDAbella

Dubai Harbour, an extraordinary seafront district, welcomed the arrival of its first cruise passengers comprising approximately 1,200 passengers and 600 crew members aboard the 252-metre-long Cruise Ship AIDAbella. Operated by AIDA Cruises, the maiden call of the AIDAbella at the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal marks the start of the cruise season at Dubai Harbour and the official debut of the region’s most modern and largest, standalone dedicated twin cruise terminal centre in the Eastern hemisphere, capable of the simultaneous handling of two of the largest cruise ships currently operating globally. As the owning-company and curator of Dubai Harbour, the diversified investment firm Shamal Holding is the driving force behind making Dubai Harbour an exceptional seafront district. Dubai’s 2021-2022 season, which commenced in October, is expected to welcome 126 ship calls and over 500,000 cruise visitors, contributing further to the momentum of Dubai’s tourism recovery. More than 150,000 passengers are forecast to visit Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal in its first season. Located at the centre of modern Dubai, Dubai Harbour is within easy reach from the city’s key landmarks – including the Burj Al Arab, Ain Dubai, Bluewaters Island, and Palm Jumeirah, giving cruise passengers easy access to some of the world’s most iconic experiences. The cruise terminals, which are part of the incredible Dubai Harbour development, showcase the spectacular and beautiful Dubai harbour skyline to our guests and offer a wide array of amenities and services for passengers and crew – from ample seating areas to washrooms, currency exchange outlets, ATMs, cafes, retail outlets, Duty-Free, dedicated parking, taxi stands and much more. All facilities are wheelchair accessible and complimentary WIFI is enabled for passengers and crew to stay connected. Abdulla …

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TUI cruises to dock at Sir Bani Yas Island this winter

TUI Cruise’s liners will dock on Sir Bani Yas Island, bring over 2000 German-speaking tourists to the country each day. One of its main flagships, Mein Schiff 6, docked for the first time at the port recently. Roula Jouny, Executive Director of Tourism 365, commented: “We are ecstatic to have been appointed by TUI Cruises to lead and manage the upcoming cruise season at Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.” Capital Experience, part of Tourism 365, owned by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), has been appointed ground handler by TUI Cruises. The strategic partnership sees Capital Experience manage the ground handling, sightseeing, excursions, tours and attractions experiences for cruise ships’ passengers during the winter cruise season until March 2022. Launched under Tourism 365, under the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, earlier this year, the company offers unique travel opportunities for tourists coming to Abu Dhabi, enhancing the emirate’s regional and global positioning in the wider tourism industry. Capital Experience works with key stakeholders across each emirate, partnering with key entities including hotels across the nation.

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Cruise Saudi Announces Membership of World Travel & Tourism Council

Cruise Saudi, the company facilitating the development of the cruise industry in Saudi Arabia, has confirmed that it has become a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Launched in January 2021 at the Future Investment Initiative (FII), Cruise Saudi has made rapid progress in its mission to bring a global cruise industry to Saudi Arabia a new component of the country’s tourism plan outlined in the landmark Vision 2030 program. The company has already worked together with stakeholders such as the Saudi Port Authority MAWANI to guide the construction of a new cruise terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia’s largest port. It has signed agreements with several leading global cruise operators to bring their ships to Saudi waters. MSC Bellissima, owned by MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately owned cruise line, and luxury liner Scenic Eclipse, have both been sailing the Saudi coastline during the summer season. The membership of WTTC, which advocates for the development of the travel and tourism sector as a driver of sustainable economic growth, will further establish the Saudi cruise industry just as international leisure travel begins to resume following the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining the Council will allow Cruise Saudi to better shine a spotlight on the year-round potential of the Saudi market to tour operators, travel agents and cruise lines, in addition to sourcing key data on international travel trends and learning from the best practitioners in the global cruise sector. Saudi Arabia certainly has an enviable and as yet largely undiscovered tourist proposition for international cruise passengers to explore – whether as a stop on a wider regional itinerary or a destination in its own right. The crystalline waters …

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Have a Florida break with Disney Cruise Line

In summer 2022, the Disney Wish will sail its inaugural season of three- and four-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, from its new home port of Port Canaveral, Florida. Bookings now open. The highly anticipated fifth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet will greet its first guests on June 9, 2022, for a special five-night maiden voyage that includes two days at sea and stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, a private tropical paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. On June 14, 2022, Disney Vacation Club will host a three-night, members-only cruise to Castaway Cay. These sailings will be followed by alternating three- and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral — about an hour’s drive from Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida — that will offer families an all-new way to experience the magic of Disney at sea combined with a tropical beach vacation. The Disney Wish will whisk families to the blue skies and sunshine of the Bahamas. In Nassau, cruisers will enjoy breathtaking beaches and activities for everyone in the family as they swim, snorkel, shop and more in this popular vacation destination. At Castaway Cay, guests will explore a pristine island completely outfitted for family fun and relaxation and brimming with special Disney touches. On these truly enchanting vacations, families will find everything they love about a Disney cruise — like dazzling entertainment, world-class dining, unique character encounters and signature Disney service — plus brand-new experiences aboard the Disney Wish, such as: AquaMouse, the first-ever Disney attraction at sea that will immerse families in “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” animated shorts on a wild water ride with Mickey and Minnie. Arendelle: A Frozen …

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Disney Cruise Line: what’s new for summer 2022?

Disney Cruise Line will offer families exciting adventures around the world in summer 2022, including voyages to new destinations and favorite ports of call in the Greek Isles, Mediterranean, northern Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean. Plus, first-ever summer departures from Miami will take guests to Disney’s enchanting private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. In summer 2022, a new collection of destinations will be part of the Disney Magic’s grand tour of Europe, which begins with sailings through the Greek Isles and Mediterranean before heading to northern Europe for cruises to the Baltic, the British Isles, Iceland and the Norwegian fjords. Five new ports of call in Europe include Chania, Greece; Porto, Portugal; Riga, Latvia; Maloy, Norway; and Nynashamn, Sweden, near Stockholm. From Rome, eight-, nine- and 12-night cruises to Greece will whisk families to the beautiful landscapes and archeological wonders of destinations like Piraeus, the gateway to Athens, and to the spectacular Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos. One nine-night sailing will mark Disney Cruise Line’s first call to Chania, Greece, on the island of Crete, known for its charming harbor and Venetian and Florentine influences. Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona, Spain, will visit a mix of must-see locales including Rome and Naples, plus French Riviera coastal towns like Villefranche and Cannes. During a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Dover, England, Disney Cruise Line will make its first-ever visit to Porto, Portugal, a coastal city with old-world charm nestled in one of the world’s leading wine regions and made famous for giving Port Wine its name. Additional new ports of call in northern Europe include Riga, the capital of Latvia and the largest metropolis in the Baltics; Nynashamn, Sweden, a beautiful seaside town …

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Swan Hellenic partners with Al Tayer Travel across UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain

Swan Hellenic announced that it has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Al Tayer Travel to provide direct representation through its Al Tayer Holidays brand, a division of Al Tayer Travel. Al Tayer Holidays will represent Swan Hellenic in UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Al Tayer Holidays offers the highest standard of service and efficiency with over 40 years’ experience across the travel sector, representing many of the world’s leading brands in the Middle East through its office in the United Arab Emirates. The partnership is a strategic agreement in line with Swan Hellenic’s long-term approach of establishing a direct presence in every market worldwide to offer the close personal service to which it is committed. Manu Mehrotra, General Manager of Al Tayer Travel, remarked: “We are truly honored to represent Swan Hellenic Cruises, a pioneering cultural expedition cruise leader that provides extraordinary experiences in relaxed and elegant comfort. The growing aspirations of adventurous Middle East travelers to visit amazing and relatively unexplored territories can now become a reality.” Swan Hellenic Senior Vice president of Global Sales and Marketing Alfredo Spadon commented: “Al Tayer’s length and depth of experience, dedicated to the highest service standards, make them a perfect match for Swan Hellenic in the exacting Middle East markets they know so well. We look forward to an exciting new chapter in the history of cultural expedition cruising as we offer enriching exploration experiences directly to the curious and adventure-minded in this part of the world.”

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Disney Wish to debut in summer 2022

Disney Wish – the newest ship to join the Disney Cruise Line family – sets sail in summer 2022. Be among the first to experience the all-new enchantment on board, where fantastical worlds and beloved stories from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar are bought to life like never before. Here’s 20 reasons to stand up and take note! Imaginative dining Dining meets storytelling aboard the Disney Wish. Step into the magical worlds of some of your favourite Disney stories and feast upon delectable, gourmet specialties at 3 all-new upscale family restaurants. Arendelle: A “Frozen” Dining Adventure  – For the First Time in Forever. Be a part of the world’s first Frozen-themed, theatrical dining experience as you’re magically transported to the enchanting Kingdom of Arendelle aboard the Disney Wish. Queen Anna and Kristoff are celebrating their engagement and have invited you, their honoured Guest, to join them. Behold festive musical performances from Elsa and Olaf as you devour hearty Norwegian-inspired cuisine made by Oaken himself. It’s a dinner worth melting for! Worlds of MARVEL Assemble for a heroic dining adventure of epic proportions! Explore state-of-the-art tech at the Avengers Technology Showcase while indulging in flavourful global cuisines—from classic all-American fare to rich African flavours—inspired by some of your favourite heroes. During dinner, leap into your own action-packed Super Hero story, where an Avenger or two might turn to you to help them save the day! Innovative experiences Combining inventive design, cutting-edge technology and classic storytelling, the Disney Wish seamlessly brings Disney magic to life in new and unexpected ways, while creating the next generation in family entertainment. First–ever Disney attraction at sea Join Mickey and Minnie on an exhilarating water …

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Saudi Arabia first netball tournament on cruise sailing in the Red Sea

Saudi Netball, in collaboration with Sports for All and the Saudi Tourism Authority, have announced the first netball tournament in Saudi Arabia’s history. The tournament was held onboard the MSC Bellissima, a 4,500 passenger cruise ship that is currently touring the Red Sea for the first time. Netball is a fast-growing global game played by more than 20 million people in more than 80 countries. The promotion of netball, which is a women-dominated sport, is part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing initiative as part of Vision 2030 to increase women’s involvement in sport as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. “Netball is an ideal sport to introduce across schools in the Kingdom,” said HH Princess Ghada bint Abdullah Al-Saud, Chairwoman of Netball Saudi. “As a game, netball is inviting, accessible, encouraging, fun, and inclusive. Its game rules ensure the equal participation of all players on the court. In netball, everyone contributes equally to the success of the team, regardless of the individual role they play. It is the perfect expression of an inclusive society.” Netball Saudi is one of sixteen sports federations and committees announced by the Saudi Olympic Committee in May 2021, as part of the Committee’s effort to widen the range of sports offered and the number of sporting communities in Saudi. The three-round tournament was played by two teams with a total number of sixteen players ranging from thirteen to twenty-three years old, and been practicing Netball in the Riyadh-based Golden Sports Academy. The tournament is a joint sports-tourism initiative showcasing Saudi’s continued progress toward building a vibrant society, a core pillar of the Vision 2030 plan led by the Crown Prince. Sports tourism, which includes traveling …

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Norwegian Cruise line partners with Al Tayer Travel

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and AL Tayer Holidays announced a partnership that will allow Al Tayer to market NCL’s cruises across the Group’s multiple businesses and distribution channels. The agreement marks the beginning of a long-term partnership to grow NCL’s market share in the Middle East while enriching Al Tayer’s travel portfolio with the line’s renowned cruises that sail to more than 300 destinations worldwide, including Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in the Bahamas and its resort destination Harvest Caye in Belize. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel with a 54-year history of breaking boundaries, and AL Tayer Holidays, a subsidiary of AL Tayer Group, a leader in luxury retail in the Middle East, today announced a partnership that will allow Al Tayer to market NCL’s cruises across the Group’s multiple businesses and distribution channels. Commenting on the agreement, NCL’s Regional Vice President Business Development Middle East & Africa, Nick Wilkinson, said: “We are delighted to partner with a dynamic and distinguished group such as Al Tayer, who share our vision of innovation and putting customer experience first. We are seeing great demand for our cruises from the U.A.E and GCC markets and are striving to further strengthen our position in this high-potential region through strategic partnerships.” Manu Mehrotra, General Manager, Al Tayer Travel commented: “It is an exciting opportunity for us to be partnering with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), an innovator in the cruise industry. NCL has in a short span of time become popular in this part of the world and as is ideally poised to showcase its unique product as the cruise market keeps expanding in our region. The Company’s growth plans …

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