By Sam Bridge
2019/2020 season is expected to welcome more than 200 ship calls and follows a successful 2018/2019 cruise season
Dubai is seeking to attract 1 million cruise visitors for the first time as the 2019-2020 season gets underway.
The 2019/2020 season is expected to welcome more than 200 ship calls and follows a successful 2018/2019 cruise season when the city witnessed a record increase of over 51 percent in cruise tourist footfall with nearly 850,000 tourists and 152 ship calls.
The new cruise season commenced in October with the arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, carrying over 6,000 passengers.
This will now be followed by five maiden calls from leading international cruise liners throughout the season, including Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema, MSC Cruises’ MSC Bellissima, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, Croisieurope’s La Belle Des Oceans and TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6.
The cruise liners will homeport at Dubai’s Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal, which will receive five cruise vessels in a single day on 11 occasions throughout this season and six cruise vessels in a single day twice throughout the season.
Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannai, CEO, P&O Marinas and executive director, Mina Rashid, said: “Mina Rashid’s status as the premier cruise port of the region is reflected in not just the number of tourists sailing in on an annual basis, but more importantly, the rising number of cruise liners making this their preferred homeport.
"They’re here because of the continuous improvements that we make to the facilities and our customer service at our luxury terminals, led by the flagship Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal. The cruise operators are valued partners in cementing Dubai’s position as the cruise hub of the region.”
Hamad Bin Mejren, senior vice president, Dubai Tourism, added: “Dubai has continued to strengthen its position as the leading cruise hub in the region, and is now the preferred destination for cruise travellers looking to experience the diversity of Dubai’s tourism offerings including the Arabian hospitality, culture and heritage.
"Last season, we witnessed remarkable growth in visitor footfall and international cruise liners opting to dock at the award-winning Mina Rashid cruise terminal, reflecting Dubai’s ongoing efforts to provide international visitors with holistic and world-class services throughout their journeys.”