Bahrain is expecting to receive nearly 129,000 cruise tourists during the new season, up from 105,271 in the 2017-18 season.
Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), operated by APM Terminals Bahrain has marked the beginning of the 2018-19 season with the first luxury ship of the year, Mein Schiff 4, recently docking.
This year 128,900 cruise passengers are estimated to arrive in Bahrain between November and April 2019 on 52 cruise ships, the highest number of passengers on record, a statement said.
It added that four new cruise vessels, led by AIDAprima with 3,300 passengers with 900 crew members, will be making its maiden call to the kingdom with 18 scheduled trips planned for the season.
This will be followed by MSC Lirica with eight trips and other vessels including the TUI Discovery and Thomson Celebration also marking their debut in Bahrain.
Amongst the cruise vessels making their yearly call at KBSP, MSC Splendida will be returning to the kingdom for the second season, with six scheduled visits, each carrying approximately 3,900 passengers with a crew team of 1,313, making it the biggest vessel to call this season.
Mein Schiff also has repeated calls at KBSP with its ten trips, each carrying 2800 passengers.
The cruise season will also witness docking of two cruise ships on the same day, over certain weeks of the scheduled season.
APM Terminals Bahrain said it continues to make enhancements to its cruise facilities and areas adjacent to where passengers embark and disembark. It said steps have been taken to speed up processes such as pre-approved gate passes for entry into the port, port shuttles to transport passengers to the gate, increased capacity for free WiFi at the cruise terminal, allocated gates for tourist buses as well as booths for tour operators and taxi services at the passenger terminal.
Mark Hardiman, CEO and managing director of APM Terminals Bahrain, said: “Bahrain continues to be a popular destination and amongst the top cruise destinations for luxury ships touring the GCC.
"With new cruise tourism coming to Bahrain this year and a majority of other cruise lines also returning for yet another season, we’re expecting this to be a record year for us as we are looking forward to welcoming 10 percent more passengers than last year.”
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