By Sam Bridge
MSC Cruises will further consolidate its position as the largest passenger cruise operator in the Gulf region
MSC Cruises has announced that it has signed a long-term agreement with DP World for preferential berthing rights at Mina Rashid in Dubai.
The Swiss-based cruise line will further consolidate its position as the largest passenger cruise operator in the Gulf region, a statement said.
The long-term agreement comes on the back of MSC Cruises expecting to carry more than 180,000 passengers in Dubai this season, a figure that will grow through the term of the new deal, it added.
The contract was formally signed by the line’s CEO, Gianni Onorato, and Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannaei, CEO - P&O Marinas and executive director, Mina Rashid, onboard MSC Bellissima during her maiden call in Dubai.
MSC Bellissima, which was launched in February, will make 17 calls and spend 35 days in Dubai during the winter season until March 2020 and sail a range of seven-night itineraries in the Gulf.
MSC Cruises will also deploy MSC Lirica in the Gulf for this winter season with 11-night cruises as well as 14-night cruises that also call to India.
Onorato said: "Our existing commitment to Dubai and the region is demonstrated by MSC Bellissima’s presence this season, the most modern, as well as one of most environmentally-advanced, cruise ships to sail in the Gulf. We will strengthen that bond further in winter 2020-21 when we deploy the highly-innovative MSC Seaview, a ship designed to operate in warmer weathers, to serve the region."
Al Mannaei added: "The agreement with MSC Cruises for preferential berthing comes at a time when Mina Rashid has been experiencing double-digit increase in tourist traffic. Key to this sterling performance is our flagship Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, the world's single largest covered cruise facility capable of handling 14,000 passengers a day."
Hamad Bin Mejren, senior vice president, Dubai Tourism, said: "We are delighted to further strengthen our partnership with MSC Cruises and solidify Dubai’s position as the leading cruise hub of the region. Dubai continues to provide its international visitors with a superior customer service throughout their travels, reflecting the city’s diverse offerings."