Cruising in the Middle East is about to start a new chapter. This week, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, approved the building of the Dubai Cruise Terminal, a partnership between Meraas Holding and Carnival Corporation in the developing Dubai Harbour. It’s part of an initiative to draw 20 million visitors a year to the emirate.
Dubai Cruise Terminal will begin operations in October 2020, and all ships visiting Port Rashid (Dubai’s current port) will eventually be moved to the new terminal. According to SmarterTravel’s sister site, Cruise Critic, Port Rashid is currently home to three distinct cruise terminals, a coffee bar, a deli/lunch operation, souvenir shops, and free internet in its business center. Several major shopping malls also offer free shuttles from the port.
The new Dubai Cruise Terminal will be Carnival’s primary Middle East hub, and a press release says this will help grow the cruise tourism business in the Arabian Gulf region, seen as an emerging sector. Carnival will launch new cruises from this terminal, hoping to attract passengers from India and China. The new terminal will have two cruise buildings, with a capacity to host three major ships and up to 13,200 passengers at any given time. Another phase of the project includes two more terminal buildings, with an eventual capacity of six cruise ships.
Upon completion, the new Dubai Harbour (at 20 million square feet) will be home to the largest yacht marina in the Middle East and North Africa, featuring a shopping mall, luxury residential units, restaurants, cafes, a yacht club, and the new Dubai Lighthouse, as well as a road network, marine and air transportation facilities, a monorail line, and water taxis.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 2, 2017
Arnold W. Donald, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation, said: “We have a long history in Dubai with our world-leading cruise brands. We are excited to be part of this important venture that will drive new tourism opportunities for Dubai and the region through cruising.” And while 2020 is still a little while away, the new cruise port will be a major win for Dubai’s tourism industry and Middle East travel in general.
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