Dubai hopes to become a major cruise port

Dubai has planned to expand the capacity of its cruise terminal, which will be able to handle up to five ships simultaneously with around 10,000 passengers after the expansion.  In February last year, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) opened its new cruise terminal in Dubai, which is regarded as the most advanced in the Middle East.

More cruise lines are placing ships in Dubai for the winter season, but no cruise line has dedicated more ships in the region than Costa Cruises.

Costa Cruises, a Carnival Corporation brand, further solidified its commitment to Dubai when it named its newest ship the 2,286-passenger Costa Deliziosa there last year. Even more significant the event marked the first time that a cruise ship was named in a Middle Eastern country. Even the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum turned out to welcome Costa’s newest ship.

In 2009, Dubai drew 100 cruise ship visits and around 260,000 tourists, up 37 percent on the previous year. It is expected that the number of cruise ships in 2011 will increase to 120, with 425,000 passengers.    

In the coming years DTCM expects the following in terms of cruise ship and passenger arrivals: 135 ships carrying 475,000 passengers in 2012; 150 ships carrying 525,000 passengers in 2013; 165 ships with 575,000 passengers in 2014; and 180 ships carrying 625,000 passengers in 2015.

It is easy to understand why Costa was so enamoured with the emirate. With its fabulous cityscapes, prehistoric sandscapes and endless beaches, Dubai is considered to be an amazing destination in every way. The city boasts stunning sights and attractions, including the world’s largest water park, and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which is the magnificent centrepiece of downtown Dubai. Cruise travellers can indulge in excursions that range from “dune bashing,” camel rides, shopping the souks to even skiing on sand or on real snow at the indoor Ski Dubai Alpine slopes.

Starting in November 2012 another cruise line TUI Cruises will for the first time use Dubai as its home port and offer cruises to Abu Dhabi, Muscat and to Bahrain. TUI Cruises will be operating the Mein Schiff 2 (My Ship 2) cruise liner in the Gulf. TUI Cruises will offer its services through Dubai Cruise Terminal, operated by the DTCM.

From November 4, 2012 to March 24, 2013 TUI Cruises has a total of 20 one-week cruises on its programme. Two Trans-Arabian cruises, one that takes the feel-good ship from the Mediterranean to Dubai in October/November 2012 and one that retraces the same route back to the Mediterranean in March/April 2013 round off the new timetable.

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