By Sam Bridge
MSC Cruises inks agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports to bring 1.3 million visitors to the UAE capital
Abu Dhabi Ports has announced a long-term agreement with MSC Cruises, giving the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line berthing rights at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach.
The deal, signed by Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, director of cruise business at Abu Dhabi Ports, and MSC Cruise CEO Gianni Onorato, aims to reinforce Abu Dhabi’s position as a premier destination on the international cruise map.
The deal will bring 1.3 million visitors to the UAE capital over the tenure of the agreement.
The agreement comes as Abu Dhabi’s Cruise Terminal has reported significant growth over the last 12 months, posting a 47 percent rise in the number of passengers and a 45 percent rise in vessel calls.
Last December, the terminal marked one of its busiest days of the 2019/20 winter season to date, when it welcomed more than 8,000 visitors as part of a triple call to Abu Dhabi.
Al Dhaheri said: "Our continued partnership with MSC Cruises is testament to our already strong relationship, and reflects the quality of services we provide to the world's leading cruise operators at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach. Our success in substantially boosting passenger volumes year on year demonstrates our commitment to developing a world-class cruise destination."
"With the investment in infrastructure and enhanced operations and services to serve the cruise liners arriving in Abu Dhabi, we have cemented our position as the leading destination in the Gulf region. Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal is emerging as the ultimate point of disembarkation for international cruise liners," he added.
Onorato said: "This new agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports for preferential berthing rights is another demonstration of the long-term commitment from MSC Cruises to the Arabian Gulf, and it will further, consolidate our position as the largest passenger cruise operator in the region.
"Abu Dhabi is a very important embarkation port and popular destination for ashore visits during winter cruises and we are currently serving the city and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach with both MSC Bellissima, the most modern and one of the most environmentally-advanced cruise ships to sail in the Arabian Gulf, and MSC Lirica," he added.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.