Category Archives: Cruises

RTA educates Abra drivers on best practices of marine transport

Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) held a workshop to educate drivers of Abras operating at Sabkha and Baniyas marine stations about the precautionary measures against the Covid-19 and the best marine transport practices in this regard. Drivers were also briefed on offences to which violators are liable. “This field workshop had taken place at Sabkha and Baniyas marine stations which benefitted about 35 Abra drivers by giving them a practical demonstration of the intended practices. The workshop stressed the importance of taking preventive measures against the coronavirus for the safety of both drivers and riders,” said Saeed Al Balushi, Director of Passengers Transport Activities Monitoring, Public Transport Agency, RTA. “Abra drivers had been briefed on violations such as the use of an expired driving permit, disregard to Abra queuing at the station’s platform, reckless driving, lack of cleaning and maintenance of the interior and body of Abra, disregard to the maximum number of riders, collection of excess fare, overnight staying onboard  the Abra, failure to wear the uniform, poor personal hygiene,  and failure to comply with the safety and security measures in place,” added Al Balushi. “The importance of this workshop is highlighted by the increased public use of Abras during these cooler days tempting more riders, especially tourists and residents, to entertain the pleasures of riding traditional Abras. The Passengers Transport Activities Monitoring Department is keen to make these efforts in the context of realising RTA’s vision: The world leader in seamless & sustainable mobility,” he added.

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Abu Dhabi Ports inks deal with MSC Cruises

Abu Dhabi Ports has announced a long-term agreement with MSC Cruises, giving them berthing rights at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach. The deal, signed by Director of Cruise Business at Abu Dhabi Ports, Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri and MSC Cruise CEO, Gianni Onorato, at MSC’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, reinforces Abu Dhabi’s position as a premier destination on the international cruise map. Most importantly, the deal will bring 1.3 million visitors to the capital over the tenure of the agreement. Abu Dhabi’s Cruise Terminal has reported significant growth over the last 12 months, posting a 47 per cent rise in passenger numbers and a 45 per cent rise in vessel calls. The terminal’s bumper year was due in part to MSC Cruises’ commitment earlier this season to include 17 new calls at Zayed Port. Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, Director – Cruise Business, Abu Dhabi Ports, said, “Our success in substantially boosting passenger volumes year-on-year demonstrates our commitment to develop a world-class cruise destination. With 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.” Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, added, “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.” Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Acting Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu …

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Oman registers 43.6 per cent growth in 2019 from cruise tourists

Oman’s Ministry of Tourism reveals a 43.6 per cent growth in cruise ship tourists from January to December 2019 to reach 283,488 passengers from 193,467 recorded during the same period last year. The Ministry attributed the surge to the government’s relevant initiatives, including infrastructural developments, and the ongoing and reinforced tourism campaigns that focus on Oman’s civilization, culture, heritage, diverse adventures, and popular attractions. The Ministry said a total of 284 cruise ships, which will carry thousands of tourists from all over the world, are already scheduled to anchor at the Sultanate’s three main ports in season 2019-2020, namely Sultan Qaboos Port (162 cruise ships, Port of Khasab (75 cruise ships), and Port of Salalah (47 cruise ships). The highest arrivals are expected during the winter season that begins in October and ends in April. The Ministry has been collaborating with relevant government and private sector entities and ship owners and operators to enhance cruise tourism in Oman as well as help develop the capability and efficiency of local ports to handle giant cruise ships. Part of the Ministry’s initiatives is faster license and permit application processes and approvals. Abdullah Saif Al Saadi, Head of cruise and charter flights, Ministry of Tourism, said, “We aim to attract international cruise ships as part of our overall travel and tourism campaigns. To achieve this, we have been improving our ports, implementing the best practices and international standards, and enhancing our facilities, to name a few. We are also planning to invest in the facilities of Sultan Qaboos Port to entice more cruise ships to make a stopover in Oman.”

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Dubai marks historic arrival of six international cruise lines in one day

The emirate welcomed six international cruise liners on December 29, 2019 through Mina Rashid. The terminal dealt with over 60,000 cruise passengers, as they handled all processes for the smooth arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, Pullmantur Cruises’ Horizon, MSC Cruises’ MSC Lirica, Jalesh Cruises’ Karnika as well as the maiden calls from Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema and Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas. Throughout the upcoming season, the city will go on to receive five cruise vessels in a single day on 10 additional occasions and six cruise vessels in a single day twice during the season. Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannaei, CEO – P&O Marinas & Executive Director, Mina Rashid, said, “The flawless handling of more than 60,000 cruise visitors on a single day testifies to the operational efficiencies we’ve put in place. Welcoming six cruise ships simultaneously also reflects the immense trust that cruise operators place in our capabilities.” Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Tourism, commented, “With the arrival of six leading international cruise liners to Dubai on a single day, we are delighted to celebrate this historic occasion for the city. As we increase momentum, and continue our efforts to raise the bar even higher for the city’s cruising industry, the support and collaboration we receive from our stakeholders will be paramount to our sustained success and will allow us to ensure that we are able to provide enriching, world-class services to cruise visitors from across the globe.”

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Dubai all set for a successful cruise season

Dubai has stepped up its drive to attract more cruise travellers to further strengthen its position as a leading ‘cruise hub of the region’. The upcoming 2019-2020 season is expected to welcome more than 200 ship calls and an estimated one million cruise visitors. The upcoming season will see an increased efforts to promote cruise tourism in the region by the Dubai Cruise Committee which is comprised of leading industry partners; Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), DP World UAE Region, operator of the Mina Rashid, Emirates Airlines, The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, and Dubai Customs. Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, said, “Cruise tourism is steadily increasing its contribution towards making Dubai a multi-faceted leisure destination for international travellers. DP World, UAE Region is committed to developing Dubai’s cruise industry to its maximum potential.” Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannai, CEO-P&O Marinas & Executive Director, Mina Rashid, said, “Mina Rashid’s status as the premier cruise port of the region is reflected in not just the number of tourists sailing in on an annual basis, but more importantly, the rising number of cruise liners making this their preferred homeport.” Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Tourism, said, “Dubai has continued to strengthen its position as the leading cruise hub in the region, and is now the preferred destination for cruise travellers looking to experience the diversity of Dubai’s tourism offerings including the Arabian hospitality, culture and heritage. We anticipate successful season ahead with the arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, marking a significant step in our efforts to promote Dubai as a ‘must-visit’ cruise destination.”

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Dubai Maritime City Authority promotes luxury yachting at International Superyacht Summit 2019

The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) has joined in a wide range of discussions to support global efforts promoting the luxury yacht sector during its participation at International Superyacht Summit 2019. Themed on ‘Sailing for the Better’, the talks were attended by a host of decision makers, regional and international experts, industry leaders and maritime pioneers who provided in-depth insights on the emerging challenges and promising local, regional and international opportunities of the luxury yacht industry. DMCA officials also reviewed the competitive essential components of Dubai – an influential force in shaping the future of the global yacht sector. Hamed Hassan, Director – Registration and Licensing, DMCA, highlighted the rapid developments in the luxury yacht sector as a key component in driving the maritime sector in Dubai; pointing out that the significant growth of the local maritime cluster has enhanced Dubai’s leadership position as one of the world’s five most competitive and attractive maritime clusters based on pillars of innovation, excellence and technology. He noted that Dubai has always been an attractive destination for luxury yacht owners from around the world, and that sustained national efforts and unlimited support from the leadership has led to the development of legislation and infrastructure that upholds the city’s strong position on the global maritime map as one of the world’s best maritime capitals. Hassan also reviewed the progress made in upgrading the components’ competitiveness of the local maritime sector, which currently enjoys high international confidence as a safe and attractive environment for maritime investments related to maritime leisure, under the proactive initiatives of the DMCA. Hassan said, “Our success comes as a result of our ongoing focus on the modernization of maritime and …

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Over 450 boats displayed at Dubai International Boat Show 2019

The Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), organised by Dubai World Trade Centre, saw a flock of sea enthusiasts and families attend the opening day for a look at some of this year’s biggest boat and yacht launches. The 27th edition of the show has brought to the coasts of Dubai for the first time ever a number of launches, including custom yacht-builder Oceanco’s newest project, the 105-meter (345ft) diesel-electric driven Esquel, designed for extensive cruising to remote regions extending from the North Pole to the South Pole and everywhere in between. UAE company Enata, launched and demonstrated the pre-production model of the Foiler, the world’s first flying yacht, which promises to make seasickness a thing of the past. Using four retractable foils, the Foiler lifts itself out of the water to give passengers a sensation of flight as it skims along the water using 740-horsepower hydrostatic propulsion. Bespoke luxury yacht builder Dominator Yachts introduced the HANAA. With connotations of Happiness, Bliss and Felicity in Arabic, the HANAA is a 28M Ilumen, which includes bespoke features including a custom made sofa in the salon, the typical Ilumen moon roof over the owner cabin bed, a private bow terrace or many superyacht features like a Williams jet tender, a video projector on the flybridge or an unfoldable beach platform to enjoy the time spent on sea to the fullest. Riju George, Show Director, Dubai International Boat Show, said, “Exhibitors reported very healthy levels of interest and business. With a number of boat launches and unveilings of premium new yachts, Dubai International Boat Show once again cements its standing in the global maritime industry through its variety of luxurious marine vessels and range …

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Dubai welcomes cruise ship Oceana on its maiden voyage in the Arabian Gulf

Dubai Cruise Tourism, a department of Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), alongside its public and private sector partners welcomed cruise ship Oceana into Dubai for the debut of UK-based, P&O Cruises into the region as it homeports for the season. With Dubai as its official winter hub, the luxury vessel has recently commenced the operation of regular Arabian Gulf itineraries. The ship is scheduled to make six round-trip programmes, bringing in over 20,000 tourists to Dubai during the 2018-19 season. At 261.30 meters long and weighing over 77,000 tonnes, Oceana will remain in-port in Dubai for over 48 hours at a time giving guests the chance to explore the city’s diverse tourist experiences and varied attractions before setting sail on an exciting itinerary across the Arabian Gulf. The luxury liner will offer three different itineraries as part of its Arabian Gulf fly-cruise programme ranging from seven nights covering ports in the UAE and Bahrain; 10 nights covering UAE, Oman and Bahrain; and a 13-14 nights between Dubai and Malta on its repositioning voyages till March 22. Jamal Alfalasi, Director, Dubai Cruise Tourism said, “Our partnership with P&O Cruises is testament to the robust growth of Dubai’s cruise industry and further highlights the emirate as a significant destination for cruise tourists worldwide. We are grateful to our valued network of public and private sector stakeholders for their continued cooperation and support, which has led to an ever-increasing number of cruise operators looking to anchor in the emirate.” During the 2019-2020 cruise season, the liner will have an extended deployment in Dubai with 14 calls offering a variety of itineraries to an anticipated 40,000 tourists.

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Over 50 industry leaders attend Middle East Yacht Conference 2018

The relaxing of maritime laws and an ever-growing tourist offering have been instrumental in supporting the UAE in its growth as an international superyacht and charter market. That was the view of His Excellency Mohammed H Alshaali, Chairman, Gulf Craft, as he spoke at the region’s 12th Middle East Yacht Conference. Organised by Dubai International Boat Show, the conference gathered more than 50 leaders from across government, business and tourism to dissect how both the yachting industry and the GCC’s regulatory authorities are working together to reinvigorate the region as a global yachting hub. Four panels of distinguished speakers agreed that recent changes to maritime and tourist laws were changing the standing of the Middle East – Dubai in particular – as a chartering hotspot. But while he conceded that the superyacht market was turning in favour of the chartering industry, Alshaali insisted that work still needs to be done to solidify the region’s yachting reputation. He said, “The revising of regulations such as the recent extension of crew visas is very important. I am glad that a lot of things are being looked at in regards to the regulations of visiting yachts, superyachts, crew and captains. But still there are challenges to overcome. Other countries rely on this type of tourism, and we should do the same.” Asked about his business outlook on the industry, Alshaali said, “I have seen growth in the region’s industry in regards to people shifting from mid-sized to larger yachts. There are more people in the market for bigger yachts nowadays. I think the market in the region is stable. That allows us to look further towards the international market, where we are seeing …

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Dubai Maritime City Authority attends Middle East Yacht Conference 2018

The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) has joined the Middle East Yacht Conference 2018 to explore the future of luxury yachts alongside the requirements of the 21st century. The DMCA representatives, together with a group of decision makers, regional and international experts, and industry leaders, looked into key emerging trends and future prospects for the luxury yacht industry at the local and regional levels. Apart from highlighting trends over the past decade, the 12th edition gave the attendees a platform to discuss ways to enhance confidence in the Middle East’s luxury yacht industry through  relevant marketing strategies. Hamed Hassan, Director – Registration and Licensing, DMCA, said, “The luxury yacht sector has proved to be a key contributor to Dubai’s achievements as one of the five most competitive and attractive maritime clusters in the world, thereby boosting the growth of the local maritime sector. The local maritime segment currently hosts more than 7,400 companies and at least 13,000 maritime and investment activities, contributing to the creation of over 76,000 jobs. Expectations are high that the sector’s share in the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP) will reach 25 per cent over the next few years. Overall, the total value of the maritime sector in the UAE is expected to hit the USD 66-billion target by the end of 2018 and the value of the leisure boat industry will range between USD 1.3 billion and USD  1.5 billion. The UAE ranked ninth worldwide in the number of luxury yachts manufactured so far this year, solidifying further its leading position in the leisure maritime sector. To date, we have locally implemented 14 new luxury yacht projects with a combined length of 611 meters.”

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