Dubai starts the year welcoming five giant international cruise lines

Posted: 07-Jan-19 10:04

Dubai’s booming tourism industry shows no sign of slowing down in 2019. A recent article published in Trade Arabia revealed that The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal had received over 2.3 million tourists since its opening in 2014 and up to the end of 2018. With this astounding figure, Dubai’s ports close off 2018 on a high and kick off the 2019 season with five giant new international cruise lines - MSC Splendida, MSC Lirica, Aida Prima, Horizon and Costa Mediterranea.

Dubai starts the year welcoming five giant international cruise lines

2018 was an amazing year for Dubai’s cruise industry and it looks like 2019 will be no different. Official tourism authorities recently revealed that the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, the biggest in the world in terms of handling capacity and sheer size closed off 2018 with a total of 2.3 million arrive since its launch in 2014. That whopping figure of cruise passengers arriving to Dubai in less than four years is certainly something to celebrate with a bang.

But that’s not all, the last month of 2018 also saw the arrival of five giant international cruise liners, bringing over 23,000 tourists to the emirate. Kicking off the 2018-2019 winter season, Dubai welcomed sailing beauties like MSC Splendida (carrying 7,981 visitors), Aida Prima (with 6,700 passengers), Costa Mediterranea (bringing 5,550 tourists), MSC Lirira (adding 3,860 visitors to the total) and Horizon (with 3,700 passengers). All in all, a grand total of 27,791 cruise holidaymakers in just a month! And that goes without mentioning the other, non-new vessels regularly calling at Dubai at this time of year.

According to the article published in Trade Arabia, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal also registered a 172 percent increase in cruise tourists arriving this year, with figures going from 232,000 cruise passengers in 2014 and 632,000 in 2018. The number of cruise calls has also significantly increased; from 94 calls in 2014 to 120 in 2018.

Going year by year, figures show a huge spike in arrivals between 2015 and 2016, with steady growth year on year after that. In 2015, Dubai’s cruise terminal welcomed some 270, 000 visitors, by 2016 the figure had escalated to 564,00 visitors and by the end of 2017, it reached 602,000.

Executive director at Mina Rashid and CEO of P&O Marinas, Mohamed Abdulaziz Al Mannaei said that DP World (a merger of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International) would continue to support the growth of incoming passengers at Dubai’s ports through the development of infrastructure. More specifically, he mentioned supporting terminals and 1,900-metre-long berthing, which “can accommodate up to seven mega ships at a time carrying more than 18,000 passengers”.

That whopping number of visitors arriving in one day, he went on to explain, would be smoothly handled thanks to the 70,000 square metres of car parking available, with space for up to 36 big coach buses, 150 taxis and enough private cars.

The mission and vision for the future of Dubai’s cruise terminals and ports is to welcome one million cruise tourists per year by 2020. This ambition has the support of 10 international cruise companies who confirmed they will keep Dubai as their main destination for the 2020-2021 winter season. According to the senior official, this confirmation will help arrange 10 new international cruises departing from Dubai.

Speaking about what will make Dubai even more attractive as a cruise holiday destination in the near future, Abdulaziz Al Mannaei added:

“A variety of sizes of cruise ships will meet the various budgets and geographical areas. The tourist visa which allows visitors to enter the country multiple times has also been an important factor in efforts to attract the cruise tourists from around the world.”

So, there you have it. If you haven’t tried a cruising holiday to Dubai, the time is ripe for embarking on one this year or the next as you’ll have more options than ever in terms of vessels and international cruise liners. As if Dubai itself wasn’t exciting enough, avid cruisers will have yet another reason to visit! 

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