UAE to be base for MSC cruises next winter

UAE will be the base next winter for environmentally high-performing passenger ship, MSC World Europa, to sail in the Middle East. Its Swiss-based owner and operator MSC will dedicate a second ship, MSC Opera, to Gulf region for 2022 and 23 sailing season to strengthen its position as region’s number one line for holidays at sea.

The announcement was made by MSC Cruises’ CEO, Gianni Onorato, following the official opening this week by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler’s representative in the Al Dhafra region, of a new jetty for passenger ships at Sir Bani Yas Island. This development, according to MSC, is welcomed by cruise holidaymakers visiting the incredible island off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

Onorato, hailed the cruise sector in the UAE as being an integral part of its dynamic tourism industry, paid tribute to the health and safety measures throughout the country. It described MSC Cruises’ business outlook for next winter in the UAE and the Gulf as ‘very positive’.

Onorato said, “The UAE is an important market for us. Next winter we are going to deploy our newest addition to our fleet — MSC World Europa —  and further increase our capacity from this year with the introduction of a second ship, THE MSC Opera, in recognition of the region’s ever growing status in the cruise sector.

“The MSC World Europa will redefine the cruise experience with a variety of never-before-seen features. The ship will attract many international passengers from around the world, especially Europe, and we hope to see the interest from guests of the Gulf Cooperation Council, especially the UAE.

“One of our newest ships, the MSC Virtuosa, is currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf, and although there are challenges ashore associated with the pandemic, we have worked closely with the relevant authorities throughout the region to ensure the health and safety of our passengers, crew and the communities that the ship visits.

The combination of onboard measures along with those ashore have been effective, as demonstrated by the fact that the MSC Virtuosa is one of our best performing ships during the winter season.”

Deployment in Arabian Gulf

The MSC Virtuosa on March 26, 2002 will finish her scheduled voyages in the UAE and be replaced by the MSC Bellissima between April 2 and June 25, 2022. This is the first time that the MSC Cruises has extended its sailing season in the Gulf and offer spring break holidays at sea.

The MSC World Europa from December will be based in the UAE offering seven-night cruises from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Sir Bani Yas Island, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha in Qatar.

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