x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Abu Dhabi firm to provide first women-only cruise in the Gulf

Constant demand for a women-only cruise convinced Belevari Marine to look into providing a cruise with an all-female crew.

An Abu Dhabi-based tour operator is providing women the chance to sail away from men with the first women-only cruise in the region.

Belevari Marine is the first company to have a ladies-only restriction and to have an all-female crew.

"From the first week I started here, women were asking about cruises without any males," said Amanda Hyden, office manager of Belevari. "I have had six calls in the past two weeks alone."

The constant demand for a women-only cruise convinced the company to get Ms Hyden as well as Cathy Alvarado, Belevari's sales and marketing manager, boat certifications so they could have an all-female crew.

"It's a great opportunity for ladies from the region," said Ms Alvarado who added that the majority of interest for the private tours came from women in the Arabian Gulf. "This opens another activity women can do without worrying about privacy."

Female customers also have the option to only communicate with women for bookings and reservations as both captains not only operate the 60 person, 23 metre-long catamaran, but also handle the business aspect of the company.

The all-women cruise differs from the regular tours in ensuring that the route and location is undisclosed and isolated.

"Even our boss is kept on a need-to-know basis about the schedule and timing of these cruises," said Ms Alvarado.

Belevari's catamarans have already embarked on two voyages this year with both journeys receiving positive feedback. "With an all-ladies crew and passengers, the atmosphere is very relaxed with everyone cracking jokes."

Ms Alvarado said many of the women would ask her about the certifications needed to captain a boat. "So many of the women were accomplished and empowered having university degrees and certificates in activities such as diving."

Although the all-women cruise is currently only offered as a private cruise, it costs an additional Dh1,000 per hour for a female captain in addition to the standard Dh4,000 per hour during weekends and Dh 3,500 during weekdays. For a non-private cruise, to be offered in the future, costs will be Dh 450 per adult during weekends and Dh350 during weekdays.