Global cruise ship operator says it has seen demand decline; could return if demand returns
Global cruise ship operator Royal Caribbean is set to pull its ships out of Dubai following the 2013 season, it was reported on Monday.
Helen Beck, Royal Caribbean regional director, said demand had declined in the emirate in recent seasons.
She added in comments published by the latest issue of Seatrade Cruise Review that pulling out of Dubai had been a "difficult decision".
"We were initially very pleased with the business development there and expected continued growth; however, the demand has declined in recent seasons and as a result we have had to make some difficult decisions, driven by strategic and financial considerations, about discontinuing our programme there," she was quoted as saying
Beck added that Serenade of the Seas, will remain in Dubai as scheduled for the 2013 winter season but operate an shortened season of 11 seven-night cruises out of Dubai to Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Muscat starting January 28. Royal Caribbean had initially announced 17 sailings.
Royal Caribbean could return to Gulf waters if demand improves over time, Beck told Seatrade Cruise Review.
Dubai currently serves as a home port for five of the world's leading cruise lines such as Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises and FTI Cruises.
In addition, more than 20 world-class cruise lines have Dubai as a port of call in their international itinerary.
Dubai Cruise Terminals catered to 396,500 cruise tourist who arrived from 108 ship calls in 2011.
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.