Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Swiss cruise line MSC signs long-term agreement with DP World

Around 180,000 cruise passengers are likely to be carried by MSC Cruises to Dubai this season

The MSC Bellissima is expected to make 17 calls and spend 35 days in Dubai during the winter season, which ends in March. Reem Mohammed/The National
The MSC Bellissima is expected to make 17 calls and spend 35 days in Dubai during the winter season, which ends in March. Reem Mohammed/The National

Swiss cruise line MSC Cruises signed a long-term agreement with Dubai ports operator DP World for preferential berthing rights at the emirate's Mina Rashid Port.

Around 180,000 cruise passengers are likely to be carried by MSC Cruises to Dubai this season, with the Swiss firm expecting a further increase following the agreement.

Several ships are expected to homeport at Mina Rashid during the duration of the contract, which could include liners liquefied natural gas-powered gas ships to help lower the company's carbon footprint. The Swiss operator plans to be the world's first carbon-neutral major cruise line from next year.

“Our existing commitment to Dubai and the region is clearly demonstrated by MSC Bellissima’s presence this season, the most modern, as well as one of most environmentally-advanced, cruise ships to sail in the Gulf," said MSC Cruises chief executive Gianni Onorato.

"We will strengthen that bond further in winter 2020-21 when we deploy the highly-innovative MSC Seaview, a ship specially designed to operate in warmer weathers, to serve the region," he added.

The MSC Bellissima, a 170,000-tonne ship is expected to make 17 calls and spend 35 days in Dubai during the winter season, which ends in March, sailing a range of seven-night itineraries in the Gulf.

At 316 metres, it is one of the largest cruise ships in the world, and MSC's decision to home port in the UAE underlines the growth in the cruise business here. The vessel will offer a range of facilities as well as room for more than 5,600 passengers.

The ship’s Gulf cruises will alternate between east and west. The eastern itinerary will take passengers on a tour of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and then visit the Omani ports of Khassab and Muscat. The western cruises, meanwhile, involve stops at Qatar and Bahrain.

Another ship, the MSC Lirica will also be deployed in the Gulf for 11-night and 14-night cruises, and will also call at Indian ports during its passage.

Updated: December 11, 2019 07:18 PM

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