During the exotic hey days of spice and silk trading, this was the traditional way of getting to Dubai. Large wooden dhows and smaller boats were the means of transport. Even today, the famed Dubai Creek – the lifeline for trade – is still lined with boats taking on or unloading cargo to and from neighbouring countries. Larger and modern container vessels and cargo ships however berth at the Jebel Ali Port – the world’s largest man-made port with more than 120 shipping lines that use its over 100 berths – located 35 kms from Dubai’s city centre.
Dubai has now emerged as a cruise hub in its own right and is also a popular port of call for many of the largest Cruise Lines sailing into the region . Dubai’s new cruise port is a modern terminal spanning an area of 3,450 square meters and it’s deep basin gives Cruise lines the opportunity of bringing in larger ships. Dubai serves as a home port for major cruise lines including Costa, Aida and Royal Caribbean International. The vast number of air connections to all parts of the world makes Dubai one of the most convenient destination for passenger turnaround in the world. This has helped paved the way for Dubai to pioneer Cruise Lines as a Hub/Home Port in the whole region. Today, cruise ships arrive in Dubai from ports across the globe including – USA, the Caribbean, Europe and the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa, India, Far East and Australia. In 2015, Dubai expects to receive more than 195 ships with 575,000 passengers.
The design of the new Cruise Terminal Building is based upon Dubai’s contemporary Arabic design. The main purpose is to reflect Dubai’s rich heritage as a maritime center, present a strong positive image of U.A.E. hospitality, and to express the importance of Dubai as an world class international tourist destination.
The Dubai Cruise Terminal provides a warm & traditional welcome to all the passengers upon arrival of the ship and has made the procedures extremely quick, friendly and convenient. With minimum bureaucracy, easy immigration, clearing of passengers by manifests, professional ground handling with excellent tourist support infrastructure, world-class ship stores and more.
Costa is an Italian company that is dedicated to providing a first class service to its passengers and currently operate a number of ships from Dubai, Costa Serena, Costa neoRiviera, Costa neoClassica and Costa Luminosa. Majority of the excursions are with the Serena and neoRiviera.
Costa Serena is from the Concordia class of cruise ships and accommodates 3,700 passengers. The name Serena was intended to symbolize harmony and serenity. Serena has 1,500 cabins on board with 87 of them having direct access to the ships spa as does 12 of the luxury suites. 505 cabins and 58 of its suites are designed with their own private balconies, with constantly changing stunning views.
Amongst the on board entertainment is a theatre, a casino, disco and Grand Prix simulator. A pool deck with retractable glass roof and water slide. There is also a library, a shopping centre and an internet point. There is also a dedicated multipurpose sports pitch and outdoor jogging track to keep you fit on your voyage. In 2009 Costa Serena and her crew was featured on National Geographic Channel documentary series “Cruise Ship Diaries”. There are a number of routes including The “Great Eastern Cruise” departing from Dubai on a 21 day cruise and travels to Egypt, Oman and Jordan. There is also a 61 night cruise sailing to India, Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar, South Africa, Spain, Morocco, and France costing just over 4,000gbp per person. This works out cheaper than most high class hotels.
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2
One of the largest ships to dock in Dubai took its berth. At 8am, Friday April 18th one of Cunard’s signature ships, The Queen Elizabeth, docked at the Cruise Terminal bringing 1888 passengers and 983 crew with her, for an overnight stay and left on April 19th to continue its journey.
Not to be outdone, the following day Cunard’s biggest ship “Queen Mary 2” then became the largest ship ever to make a stop at the terminal. There’s not many places that could boast having these two large ships in port on consecutive days. The Queen Mary 2 with its larger passenger numbers of 2459 passengers (maximum capacity of 2620) and 1249 crew stopped overnight having left from Colombo in Sri Lanka before heading off the next day to Oman. The ship is 1132ft long (345m) and weighs in at 148,528 tonnes, and there are only six ships in the world larger that Queen Mary 2. A cruise from England to Dubai will take 20 days and costs 2,700gbp per person, with other trips available.
Angus Struthers, Marketing Director at Cunard, said: “Dubai is one of the signature ports that Cunard’s passengers particularly look forward to visiting as part of our annual world voyages. We are delighted that Queen Elizabeth, Cunard’s newest ship, and Queen Mary 2, our flagship and the only ocean liner in operation today, are both featuring an overnight stay in Dubai for the first time ever this week. With consecutive stays, this creates a four day period spotlighting the great modern icons of both the city of Dubai and the ships of Cunard Line.”
Aidais owned by Costa Cruises Group, and predominantly cater to the German-speaking market. The ships and service that Aida provide are renowned for their youthful style and casual service.
As seagoing “club resorts”, AIDA ships have many on-board amenities and facilities that attract younger, more active vacationers. The AIDAdiva at 250 meters long, 11 storeys high and weighing 69,000 tonnes, is one of the groups popular cruise liners, with a number of larger ships already on the fleet and in the pipe line, Aida could well increase their capacity to cope with the expected 6% rise in passengers traveling to and from the emirate of Dubai. As with all AIDA ships the Aidadiva adheres to the line’s casual “club-ship” design.
The ship can accommodate 2050 passengers amongst its 14 decks, and features numerous types of cabins and suites. On board you will find the obligatory swimming pools, sporting facilities, casinos and showrooms to keep you happy and busy aboard this ship during your voyage. From the front of the ship it looks like a smiling face which symbolises the fun aspect that Aida have instilled into the cruise experience.
In the winter season of 2015/2016 Aida will be launching a brand new ship called Aidaprima which will be serving the Dubai terminal on a 7 day cruise of the most beautiful cities of the Orient. Aida is certainly making its mark on the cruise circuit with 10 vessels currently in operation and another 2 to be in operation by 2016, making 12 in total.
MSC Cruises is a privately owned European company, employing over 15,000 staff around the world and present in 45 countries, and has 13 modern up to date ships that have benefitted from a 6 billion euro investment programme.
The ship MSC Orchestra is prevalent from the port of Dubai and is full of luxury comforts that you expect these days from the modern cruise liner. The Orchestra weighs in at 92,500 tonnes and is 293 meters long, which accommodates casinos, restaurants and a jogging track to name a few of the many high class facilities to keep you entertained and active during your voyage.
MSC Cruises has a companywide policy of protecting the marine ecosystem and was the first company to receive the accolade of “7 Golden Pearls” for its environmental care amongst a number of ISO awards. If other ships are utilised in Dubai, the company’s four flagships, offer elegant suites with around-the-clock butler service and numerous other privileges.
The company’s philosophy stands true as to the way the company views its cruise standards for its passengers “life should be measured in moments not minutes – and that each of these moments should be savoured” MSC Cruises was born in the Mediterranean and continues to draw inspiration from its roots, with the company’s distinctly Mediterranean way of life.
A voyage around The UAE will cost from 350gbp for 7 nights, whereas a 33 night cruise to Australia will cost just over 4,000gbp, whichever destination you choose you will be transported in sheer luxury.
Princess cruises have over 40 years’ experience in cruises to numerous destinations around the world, and have seen many changes with the addition of new ports in that time such as the ever expanding Dubai. Princess offers over 100 set routes to over 300 port destinations worldwide.
The number of passengers opting for cruises to and from the Dubai port terminal has steadily increased year on year, and the options available with Princess has been adapted to the requirements from its passengers. With cruises such as a 16 day world cruise segment from Dubai to Rome, a 31 day cruise from Dubai to London via many Far East and European locations and a number of cruises from various locations around the globe back to Dubai.
Princess has 18 ships on its fleet of which the two luxurious ships running out of Dubai are the Sea Princess and Pacific Princess.
Pacific Princess is just under 600ft long and can accommodate 680 passengers. This ship was fully refurbished to a high standard in 2010 and offers many high quality facilities, as well as a number of diverse restaurants to suit all of its passengers.
Sea Princess at 856ft long and with a boarding capacity of 1950 passengers, is the largest ship used from Dubai. This ship was also refitted recently and its stateroom accommodation is comparable to a five star hotel, and offers excellent first class service to all of its passengers, making a voyage aboard the Sea Princess seem like you are royalty.
More Cruise Lines coming soon.