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Latest News on Dubai cruises

May 2012

We are grateful to Dubai Tourism for the following Press Release.

Voyager of the Seas makes maiden call to Dubai

Voyager of the Seas
Image: Voyager of the Seas

Voyager of the Seas became the second largest cruise ship ever to come to the UAE when it arrived in Dubai on Tuesday, giving a big boost to Dubai’s solid standing as the cruise hub of the region.

The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), which develop, promote cruise tourism for Dubai and manages and operates the Dubai Cruise Terminals, organized a gala reception to commemorate the maiden call of the 137,276 tonne, 3840 guests-capacity mega cruise liner from the fleet of Royal Caribbean International.

A traditional Arabian hospitality was accorded to the passengers and crew members of the 1020-feet long, 15-deck tall cruise vessel docked at the GCC’s largest cruise facility in the Port Rashid after completing a 15-day journey from Barcelona.

The cruise ship will sail to Singapore on its next leg of journey today evening. A turnaround of around 3800 guests took place in Dubai.

A huge heritage village set-up was made in the Dubai Cruise Terminal with traditional Arabic band playing music, handicrafts, henna application stalls and display of falcons.

Emirati children distributed flowers and served of Arabic coffee and dates to the cruise tourists as they emerged out of the vessel to explore the emirate’s numerous tourist attractions.

On board the cruise ship, there was a plaque exchange ceremony between the ship captain and officials from DTCM, Dubai Customs, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai), DP World and World Security.

Addressing a Press conference aboard the cruise ship, DTCM Executive Director of Business Tourism, Mr. Hamad bin Mejren, expressed happiness over the milestones crossed by the cruise tourism industry in the emirate.

“The arrival of one of the world’s largest cruise ships confirms the capacity and capability of Dubai’s tourism industry. Ten years is a very short span of time in a destination development, but we have achieved remarkable results due to the government’s vision and investments programme, public and private sectors partnership and our aggressive promotional and marketing drive,” he remarked.

Mr. Hamad said the docking of Voyager of the Seas demonstrates Royal Caribbean’s tremendous belief in Dubai and the future of this region and we are extremely honoured with their confidence in us and commitment to Dubai. Since 2010, Royal Caribbean has been using Dubai as their regional cruise hub contributing a commendable cruise tourist throughput for the region.

The mega cruise ship Voyager of the Seas built in 1999, features an inline skating track, a 9-hole miniature golf course, a three-deck restaurant, two-level nightclub, a full-sized sports court and a 1350-seat theatre. One of the largest cruise ships in the world, it also features a rock-climbing wall, basketball court, ice-skating rink, day spa and a spectacular three-storey dining room.

Thanks to her size — longer than a football field, spread across fourteen decks, filled with 1,557 cabins — Voyager of the Seas can accommodate more people and more activities than smaller ships. Its eleven-story atrium overlooks the ship’s Grand Promenade, which is filled with shops and cafes.

Voyager of the Seas is the second largest ship to dock in Dubai after the Queen Mary 2 which had an overall length of 345 metres. Last month, Dubai, for the first time in its history, received 5 cruise ships on a single day (April 12). These cruise ships had on board 15,000 passengers and 4000 crew members.
About 71 cruise ships with 275,000 cruise tourists are expected to dock in Dubai during the first half (January-June) of 2012.

Cruise tourism has been growing steadily in Dubai due to DTCM efforts and growing interest of cruise liners to tap Dubai’s strong tourism infrastructure, air connectivity and strategic location at the crossroads of the East and West.
Dubai bagged four awards at an industry event in Miami early this year in recognition of the stellar performance of its cruise tourism sector and for the high standards of operations of the Dubai Cruise Terminal.
DTCM established the Dubai Cruise Terminal in 2001 and the new facility with higher handling capacity was officially inaugurated in February 2010 to meet the business growth. Nevertheless, plans are in place to build additional mega facilities to cater the forecasted growth as well.
In 2011, Dubai Cruise Terminal played host to 108 cruise ships with 396,500 passengers. This year, Dubai is expected to see 420,000 cruise tourists to the emirate, giving a big push to the tourism growth and the economy. The projections for 2013 are 125 cruise ships and 450,000 passengers and in 2014 the number of cruise ships and passengers will be 135 and 475,000, respectively. In 2015, this number will go up to 145 cruise ships and 500,000 passengers.
Since 2006, Costa and Aida have been using Dubai as a cruising hub and in 2010 Royal Caribbean also started using it as the regional hub. The German company, TUI, is due to start using Dubai as the hub from this month. During the ITB-2012 in Germany, FTI, which entered the cruise tourism sector recently, announced that it will launch its FTI Berlin cruise ship from Dubai during the next cruise season.

January 29th 2012

Dubai Cruise Terminal Simultaneously Handles Four Mega Cruise Vessels For The First Time

DP World’s cruise facility demonstrates capability to welcome cruise tourism growth in Dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 29, 2012

For the first time in its history, DP World’s Dubai Cruise Terminal has welcomed four mega cruise ships at the same time, underlining its ability to cater to the rapid growth of cruise tourism in the city.

The four vessels, which can carry more than 9,000 passengers, called at Port Rashid over a 24-hour period and were berthed simultaneously.

Cruise tourism has been growing swiftly in Dubai. The award-winning Dubai Cruise Terminal experienced a 30% growth in tourist traffic between 2009 and 2010, from 100 ships and 260,000 passengers to 120 ships and more than 390,000 passengers. The pattern continued in 2011, with 135 cruise vessel calls and 375,000 passengers visiting, according to the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

In light of the growing demand, DP World is expanding the existing terminal facilities to serve as many as five cruise ships at one time and plans to eventually expand the terminal to be able to serve as many as seven cruise vessels simultaneously.

Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, said:

“Dubai Cruise Terminal’s success in handling four mega passenger vessels at one time confirms Port Rashid’s ability to embrace the growth in cruise tourism in Dubai. This event demonstrates the cruise terminal’s capacity and the readiness of its infrastructure to cater to multiple large cruise vessels at once. DP World is committed to investing long term in the transformation of Port Rashid into the region’s cruise destination of choice with the support and close cooperation of DTCM, our strategic partner in promoting cruise tourism in Dubai.”

Mohammed Al Mannaei, Director – Port Rashid, DP World, UAE Region, said:

“Accommodating four cruise vessels and handling many thousands of passengers simultaneously was a challenge we were ready for at the port and we succeeded in ensuring smooth anchorage for the large vessels. I would like to thank all those involved for their commitment and cooperation in carrying out this operation.”

Just two weeks ago Dubai Cruise Terminal was voted, for the fifth time, the World’s Leading Cruise Port at the prestigious World Travel Awards 2011, competing against 17 regional winners for the honour.

February 2009

It is reported that Costa Cruises is basing its newest and biggest ship in Dubai for the winter of 2009/2010.

Meanwhile, German Cruise line AIDA, which is under the same ownership as Costa, will have its flagship AIDA Diva in the Arabian Gulf this winter and next.

Royal Caribbean has announced it will operate seven-night, round-trip cruises from Dubai in the winter of 2010 on its popular ship, Brilliance of the Seas. These are bound to prove very popular with Royal Caribbean and Brilliance of the Seas regulars. They will love this new destination.

All of this shows that Dubai and the Arabian Gulf are becoming increasingly popular as cruise destinations, particularly from Autumn through to Spring.

Port Rashid, where cruise ships dock at the Cruise Terminal has very useful free internet access; a tour office; restaurant and currency exchange, of course!!

Plenty of UAE Dirhams are essential for a visit to Dubai.

With its many glistening marble-floored shopping malls and duty free shopping, it is a veritable shoppers paradise!!

Superb malls like the huge "Mall of the Emirates" are well worth a visit, just to view them and gasp at their size and splendour.

You can even watch people ski on real snow on the Ski Dubai Alpine ski slope visible through the large panoramic windows of this Mall.

We sailed on the Costa Romantica, out of Dubai, in January 2008 and enjoyed a wonderful cruise. The Costa Europa was also used on the same itinerary in 2008.

In 2009, Costa is using their other cruise ships, the Costa Classica and Costa Victoria for the same itinerary. It gives visitors a chance to revisit on a different ship.

We joined the Costa Romantica in Dubai late on the first dayof the cruise. Then, on the second day, we sailed out of the Arabian Gulf, through the Straits of Hormuz .

Next day, we visited Muscat, the capital of the independent, mountainous Arab state of Oman, which lies at the strategic entrance of the Arabian Gulf.

The day after that ,we visited the emirate of Fujairah, on the Gulf of Oman, on the Indian Ocean.

This is one of the seven member states of the United Arab Emirates [U.A.E].

After sailing back into the Arabian Gulf, we visited the glistening, wealthy, oil-rich city of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E.

Next day, it was the small, independent island state of Bahrain [also oil-rich] along the coast. After that, it was back to Dubai, where we spent the day exploring the city.

This was a fascinating cruise on very clean, stylish Italian ship, visiting very different places. Most of the passengers were Italian, French, Belgian, Scandinavian, Dutch and German. About 150 of us were British.

It was a great way of getting to know this burgeoning, rapidly-developing part of the world. The rate of development in Dubai is absolutely staggering. They are working 24/7 to transform the emirate.

Dubai's neighbours, especially Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also putting their oil and gas wealth to good use by diversifying and developing their economies.

Tourism is becoming a priority! So luxury hotels are going up everywhere.

As I said, there are several other cruise lines sailing out of Dubai. Many use it as a port-of-call on long voyages.

Silversea Cruises, using the Silver Whisper and Silver Wind, sail to Athens via the Suez Canal and to Singapore via Mumbai in India, amongst other destinations.

Seabourn Cruiseline, using the Seabourn Spirit, also sail to Athens via Suez and the Red Sea. Another of their cruises visits, Arabia, India and China.

Crystal Cruises sail to Athens on the Crystal Symphony via Suez, calling at Cairo, for example.

The Regent/Radisson Line use their Seven Seas Navigator on various cruises to Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro and Florida. Their Seven Seas Voyager visits Greece and Istanbul, Turkey. Other times it goes to the Greek Islands, Rome, Madeira and Florida.

Holland American Line use their HAL Rotterdam to cruise from Dubai to Cape Town, via Mombasa, Kenya.

The Royal Caribbean Line, Legend of the Seas sails to Muscat, Suez and Rome from Dubai.

Finally, Cunard's iconic Queen Mary 2 uses Dubai as a port-of-call on long voyages terminating in New York or back in Southampton.

Of course, all of these cruises call at other ports, as well as the ones mentioned above.

I only list the above facts as an illustration of the many cruise itineraries and cruise line companies using the Dubai Cruise Terminal at Port Rashid, Dubai.

Cruise traffic via Dubai is increasing annually at a dramatic rate, as its wonderful shopping facilities, superb architecture and outstanding engineering feats grab the attention of the world!