Category Archives: Cruises

Cruise Saudi, and Al Madinah Region Development Authority have signed an MoU to enhance Saudi’s western region

Cruise Saudi and Al Madinah Region Development Authority signed an MoU to foster economic development in historic Al Madinah Region. This will develop the region and expand facilities to accommodate an increased number of tourists, with a focus on social impact both locally and across Saudi, in line with Vision 2030. Both Al Madinah Region Development Authority and Cruise Saudi share the vision to advance and aid access to Al Madinah, developing the region and expanding facilities to accommodate an increased number of tourists. As part of the agreement, both parties will utilize their capabilities and experiences to achieve their shared vision. The MoU signing took place at this year’s Saudi Tourism Forum in Riyadh, the annual event which promotes Saudi as a tourist destination, and which provided the perfect backdrop for both parties to mark their intent to enhance the tourism offering in the region of Al Madinah. Madinah is the second holiest city in Islam, with beautiful architecture in abundance, such as the vast Al-Masjid an-Nabawi mosque with its striking green dome dominating the skyline, sites of historic interest such as the The Ghars Well (also known as Bir Ghars) and Mount Uhud which was the site of the second battle between the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the polytheists of his tribe of Quraysh, and impressive natural landmarks of farms and valleys. The Al Madinah region has a multitude of historic wonders to explore, as well as modern sights including the coastal city of Yanbu. Cruise Saudi will facilitate cruise passengers’ visits to the region via the Red Sea. Mashhoor Baeshen, Executive Director, Destinations Development & Management at Cruise Saudi said “Unique in history and culture, Al Madinah …

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AROYA Cruises unveils its first cruise ship

AROYA Cruises unveiled the first cruise ship in its fleet. With 19 decks and 1,682 elegant cabins, this grand ship will redefine Arabian holidays. The 335-metre-long ship is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment to tailor the ship to the highest standard in line with the taste of Arabian passengers. AROYA Cruises, the new Arabian cruise line operated by Cruise Saudi, a Public Investment Fund Owned company responsible for the development of Saudi’s cruise industry. With exceptional on-board service, an eclectic culinary offering, and a sensational activities program, guests aboard AROYA Cruises’ will enjoy a unique remarkably Arabian hospitality experience that reflects the warm and welcoming values of Saudi culture. Lars Clasen, CEO of Cruise Saudi, said: “We are delighted to sail into the new year with the unveiling of our first AROYA Cruises ship. This marks an exciting milestone for Cruise Saudi in creating a world-class cruise industry in Saudi, whilst offering a new way to holiday in the Kingdom for locals. We look forward to welcoming the first passengers on-board.” AROYA Cruises will set sail from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2024.

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Qatar welcomes Norwegian Dawn, marking cruise ship’s regional debut

The Norwegian Dawn cruise ship arrived at Doha Port with a ceremony by Qatar Tourism, as part of the 2023/24 cruise season that opened in late-October in Qatar. The welcome ceremony featured a traditional Ardah performance, henna, dhow souvenirs, Arabic calligraphy art, sadu weaving, and net making for disembarking passengers. The cruise ship can accommodate up to 2,340 passengers, and has an operating crew of 1, 032 members. It will be anchored for two nights, allowing passengers to explore nearby sites in Doha which include the Mina District, Souq Waqif, National Museum of Qatar, and more. Speaking on the arrival of the cruise ship, His Excellency, Mr. Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism, stated, “The pioneering arrival of the Norwegian Dawn and its regional debut is a significant milestone for Qatar’s growing cruise tourism sector and marks Qatar’s international appeal as a cruise destination. Qatar Tourism is keen to create new partnerships and agreements with leading cruise lines and extend the opportunity to international passengers to explore Qatar’s abundant events calendar as well as its world-class museums, attractions, and cultural hotspots.” Captain Abdulla Mohamed Al-Khanji, CEO of Mwani Qatar, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Norwegian Cruise Line maiden voyage to the shores of Qatar and the Gulf region. This important event reflects the growing interest of cruise operators to dock at Doha’s Old Port and depart from it to other cruise terminals in the region. Qatar has rapidly evolved within the cruise tourism industry, emerging as a prominent global destination in this expanding sector. Its captivating attractions and ideal geographical location have been strongly recognised and have made Qatar a highly sought-after destination by both …

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FITUR Cruises 2024 acts as the epicentre of the cruise sector during FITUR with conferences and activities

Once again, ‘blue tourism’ will be taking centre stage at the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR, organised by IFEMA MADRID from 24 to 28 January 2024. The FITUR Cruises section will convert Hall 4 into the epicentre of the cruise industry, with destinations and major companies showcasing a wide range of experiences through a full programme of activities, conferences and stands. Over the five days of the 44th edition of FITUR, this section will become the maritime enclave of reference where industry professionals and the general public can enjoy networking sessions, practical talks, dynamic events for all ages and meet-ups with the aim of promoting a deeper understanding of this holiday offer for travel agents and passengers alike. Noteworthy participants of FITUR Cruises With an impressive stand space, the iconic Disney Cruise Line will be bringing the magical experience of its cruises and dream-like destinations. Celebrity Cruises and Azamara will also be present at FITUR on their own stands, as will the renowned cruise line Costa Cruceros, with a double stand in front of the FITUR Cruises auditorium that will recreate the deck of a ship and showcase the new features of its itineraries for 2024 and 2025. As a new addition, the Turkish company specialising in cruises around the Greek islands and Eastern Mediterranean, Miray Cruises, will be participating for the first time at FITUR and will be presenting its programme for 2024. Among the tourist destinations, it is worth highlighting the presence of Ceuta, which will be revealing the wonders that cruise passengers can enjoy when disembarking at its Mediterranean port and which is presented as one of the undiscovered jewels of this coast. The non-profit organisation Mercy …

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AROYA Cruises partners with Saudi’s Culinary Arts Commission to launch first at-sea Saudi restaurant to showcase the Kingdom’s culinary heritage

Cruise Saudi announced its partnership with the Culinary Arts Commission to showcase authentic Saudi cuisine onboard AROYA Cruises through the Irth Culinary Boutique & Café. This collaboration forms part of AROYA Cruises’ vision to offer exceptional and creative experiences to its passengers. AROYA Cruises is the first cruise ship of its kind to be tailored exclusively to Arabian tastes, and resembling it is Irth, the first Saudi restaurant at sea, which will offer a variety of locally sourced Saudi foods and drinks and high-quality products. In addition to its rich heritage and glorious history, Saudi is also renowned for its authentic hospitality, which will be embodied in the services provided at Irth, with all restaurant staff being trained by the Culinary Arts Commission to ensure a deluxe and genuine experience for passengers. Founded in 2020, the Culinary Arts Commission seeks to promote the unique Saudi culinary traditions on both a local and global scale and position the Kingdom as a leading destination for culinary arts. The goals and ambitions of the Culinary Arts Commission align perfectly with those of AROYA Cruise, which aims to provide exceptional experiences that cater to the tastes and preferences of Arabian people while seeking inspiration from the authentic Saudi culture. Lars Clasen, CEO at Cruise Saudi, commented on the partnership, “We’re proud to be partnering with the Culinary Arts Commission. Launching Irth Culinary Boutique & Café onboard AROYA Cruises represents a key step in exhibiting the Kingdom’s authenticity and offering the best of services to our guests”. Mayada Badr, CEO of the Culinary Arts Commission, said, “Irth Culinary Boutique & Café will showcase the authenticity of Saudi cuisine and its rich culture, and this partnership …

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Qatar Tourism signs MoU with Mowasalat Karwa to enhance tourism experiences of cruise visitors

Qatar Tourism has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mowasalat Karwa to innovate and enhance the tourism experience for visitors coming to Qatar via cruises. The MoU aims to enhance coordination and cooperation between the two parties in the field of cruise tourism, which in turn is an integral part of the National Tourism Strategy that seeks to make Qatar one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. The MoU outlines the joint cooperation between the two organizations to maintain the continuity of communication with transparency, optimize cost, and provide the necessary support for the success of the upcoming cruise season. Qatar Tourism will provide Mowasalat Karwa with data and statistics related to the tourism sector to facilitate their cooperation, and will send advance notice of the arrival times of ships and cruise ships, enabling effective planning of transport services. The MoU was signed by H.E. Mr. Saad bin Ali Al Kharji, President of Qatar Tourism, and Mr. Fahad Saad Al Qahtani, CEO of Mowasalat Karwa. H.E. Saad bin Ali Al Kharji, President of Qatar Tourism, said: “Cruise tourism is a key pillar in supporting Qatar’s national tourism strategy and contributing to Qatar’s position on the global tourism map. Qatar Tourism is working continuously with its key partners to ensure an exceptional tourism experience for visitors to Qatar. Transportation plays an important role in enhancing this experience, and we are confident that our partnership with Mowasalat will contribute to the success of the current cruise season.” Mr. Fahad Saad Al Qahtani, CEO of Karwa, said: “We believe in the importance of transportation for visitors and its impact on the competitiveness of tourist destinations. Tour operators in Qatar market …

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Dubai Harbour welcomes ‘Resilient Lady’ Virgin Voyages to the Arabian Gulf for the very first time

Dubai Harbour welcomed the iconic ‘Resilient Lady’ from Virgin Voyages on its maiden call to the Arabian Gulf. The call is one of a number of international cruise liners set to arrive at Dubai Harbour during this year’s cruise season, with 300,000 passengers and 49 ship calls. Resilient Lady is the newest “Lady Ship” to join the Virgin Voyages fleet that previously included Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. Celebrating Virgin’s longstanding British heritage, Resilient Lady launched on 14th May 2023 from her summer homeport in Athens, Greece. Inspired by superyacht design and bringing modern glamour to the seas, the latest ship from Richard Branson’s cruise travel brand arrived in style at Dubai Harbour, rekindling people’s connection to the sea and charting a course for newer ways to explore maritime lifestyles. This past summer, the award-winning brand offered two, seven-night itineraries around the Greek Isles and Adriatic Sea departing out of Athens. These included “Adriatic Sea and Greek Gems” and “Greek Island Glow.” Resilient Lady, along with its sister ships, was designed by world-renowned architects and designers including Tom Dixon and Concrete Amsterdam, with menus curated by Michelin-starred chefs. On-board, Sailors are spoiled with a daily line-up of immersive entertainment and live music performances, paired with incredible food from 20+ eateries and stunning spaces to recharge and relax. From unlimited group fitness classes to a mermaid-inspired spa and thermal suite, Virgin Voyages emphasizes relaxation while on a mission to curate the best week at sea for its Sailors. Michelle Bentubo, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Voyages said, “As Resilient Lady embarks on her journey from Greece to Australia, we wanted to offer our Sailors the opportunity of a lifetime to explore …

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The 2023/2024 cruise season kicks off in Qatar with the arrival of the luxury cruise ship “Crystal Symphony”

The luxury cruise ship Crystal Symphony arrived in Doha over the weekend, marking the opening of the Qatar Tourism Cruise Season 2023/2024. The new cruise season runs until April 2024 when 81 cruise ship visits and around 350,000 passengers, making it Qatar’s largest cruise season ever. Doha is set to be a departure and return point for many international cruise ships such as the Norwegian ship Dawn, which has a capacity of 2,340 passengers, and the Luganville, which has a capacity of 264 passengers during this season. In addition, several other vessels will continue to offer partial transformation voyages from Doha, including the Min Schiff 2, MSC Vertiosa and the Italian cruise ship Costa Tuscany. H.E. Saad bin Ali Al Kharji, President of Qatar Tourism, said: “Cruise tourism is a vital pillar through which Qatar seeks to achieve its national tourism strategy to become one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. Qatar’s cruise sector has witnessed remarkable growth in less than a decade, thanks to Qatar Tourism’s participation in international travel and tourism exhibitions, partnerships and agreements, the weight of staff skills, and close collaboration with key partners in Qatar’s public and private sectors. We look forward to the return of the cruise season and welcoming visitors from all over the world who will have the opportunity to experience the authentic hospitality and diverse tourism offerings that Qatar has to offer.” H.E. Captain Abdulla Mohammed Al Khanji, Chief Executive Officer of Mwani Qatar, said: “With the start of the new season, our focus continues to be on providing the best possible passenger experience by improving cruise ship reception facilities and enhancing world-class services in the State of Qatar in line …

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Cruise Saudi renews partnership with Discover Saudi to deliver exceptional Saudi shore excursions

Cruise Saudi has renewed its ongoing collaboration with Discover Saudi. Following a highly successful third season for Cruise Saudi, which included Discover Saudi providing unique and memorable shore excursions to over 5,200 cruise passengers in the Two Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah, this collaboration will continue to provide a seamless and unforgettable journey with the highest standards for regional and international visitors. With the shared vision to promote domestic tourism in Saudi and enrich the nation’s growth as an international cruising destination, Discover Saudi’s shore excursion packages will offer Cruise Saudi’s passengers an authentic Saudi experience, enabling visitors to explore The Two Holy Cities’ rich history, culture, heritage and nature. Lars Clasen, Chief Executive Officer at Cruise Saudi said: “As we approach season four, we are delighted to renew our partnership with Discover Saudi, so that we can continue to ensure our guests experience the very best of what Saudi has to offer. These extraordinary experiences, created in collaboration with partners such as Discover Saudi, are a crucial part of Cruise Saudi’s attractive offering to both cruise lines and travellers alike, it is also in line with our mandate to develop a comprehensive cruising ecosystem in Saudi and promote Saudi as a distinct global cruise destination.” Fahad Alobailan, Chief Tourism Officer at Almosafer, said: “We are excited to continue to build on our relationship with Cruise Saudi. Saudi has a plethora of incredible cultural, natural, historical and religious attractions that are drawing an increasing number of international tourists. As a leading integrated Destination Management Company, our local knowledge and passion for travel and tourism will provide an immersive and authentic experience for visitors and further fuel this upward growth …

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Cruise Saudi welcomed SH Diana to Saudi Arabia

Cruise Saudi welcomed SH Diana to Saudi Arabia as part of her Maiden Voyage with inaugural calls to Yanbu, Baridi Island and Jeddah. SH Diana anchored at sea, just off Baridi Island, offering a new expedition experience with pristine beaches and coral reefs. Continuing her journey along the Red Sea coast, the ship made a second maiden call in Saudi to Jeddah, where passengers explored the streets of Al Balad – a UNESCO World Heritage recognized Hijazi style historic district, with its traditional buildings and authentic shops and cafes. Lars Clasen, CEO at Cruise Saudi said, “We were honoured to welcome Swan Hellenic’s cruise ship, SH Diana to Saudi for the first time, in what was a milestone visit for Cruise Saudi. We are proud to be constantly expanding our programme of onshore experiences to provide such an authentic insight into Saudi culture for our guests.” Kai Ukkonen, Captain of SH Diana said, “It’s incredibly exciting to have incorporated this Maiden Voyage to Saudi and to offer this new destination to our passengers. Our goal is to always create unforgettable moments for our guests, so it was a top priority to work with Cruise Saudi on creating a collection of unique and curated adventures for a truly immersive experience.”

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