Following a successful 2015/2016 run, which saw passenger numbers grow by 19 per cent and ship calls increase by 24 per cent compared to the previous year, two new lines — Norwegian Cruise Line and Thomson Cruises — are making their debut in the region with their maiden call to Dubai Cruise Terminal this season. Thomson Cruises will be the first ever UK-based cruise line to home port in Dubai contributing over 12 calls and over 25,000 cruise tourists to Dubai this season. The new season is projected to record an 18 per cent increase in ship calls, leading to 157 ship calls and an estimated 600,000 cruise tourists arriving in the city.
Dubai Cruise has experienced significant growth since 2014, after the implementation of the multiple-entry UAE visa, which opened up potential emerging source markets such as India, China, South America and Russia. With over 23 of the world’s leading cruise operators — including six home-porting lines — anchoring in Dubai for an overnight stay or passenger turn-around, and an estimated 10 maiden ship calls, the 2016/2017 season is expected to continue the upward trajectory, contributing to Dubai’s strategic goal of achieving 20 million visitors per year by 2020.