TD Guest Writer
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More than 900,000 cruise passengers are anticipated to visit Dubai during the peak winter season, marking a definitive return for the city’s cruise tourism industry.
The arrival of TUI Cruise Line’s Mein Schiff 6 to Mina Rashid’s Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal marks the start of the 2018–19 cruising season.
Last year, Dubai welcomed 98 cruise ship calls with a total of 338,697 passengers and crew, marking a partial recovery from the severe blow COVID-19 dealt to the industry.
Because of this, in the next several weeks, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates will welcome one of the best years for cruises since the region became a default industry itinerary in 2006.
Mina Rashid and Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal (DHCT) are set to receive major cruise ships this year.
Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer of Shamal Holding, said that the first cruise ship is expected to arrive at DHCT on 17 November, with 46 ship calls and more than 300,000 guests expected until April 2023.
Shamal Holding owns and operates Dubai Harbour in addition to other leisure and entertainment venues in the city, such as Kite Beach, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Skydive Dubai, Deep-dive Dubai, X Dubai, and Dubai Films.
According to Binhabtoor, the upcoming 2022-23 cruise season is significant for our area because it is seen as a “ramp-up season” for the international cruise sector.
Occupancy levels on cruise ships are anticipated to increase significantly, and the cruise industry’s feedback also supports this.
Binhabtoor claimed that DHCT is ready for the forthcoming season, opening the largest dedicated dual cruise terminal in the Eastern hemisphere.
The Mina Rashid cruise ports expect 123 calls from some of the top cruise companies this season, a 100% increase over the previous season, according to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World.
It is also expected that the number of passengers and crew will increase to roughly 600,000. This is more than double the number from the previous season.
DHCT will host cruise ships from six international cruise lines, including P&O and Princess Cruises, bringing tourists to the Mediterranean during the season.
He also mentioned that the cruise season will be extended into the summer months of 2023 for the first time, with ships calling well into the month of June for overnight port stays for passenger turnaround.
Binhabtoor expects the region to continue seeing unprecedented growth in the cruising industry when the worldwide tourism industry recovers and complete fleets return to operation.
This bodes well for the expansion of cruise itineraries, the improvement of onboard amenities, and the attraction of a new generation of vacationers, such as millennials and members of Generation Z.