x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Queen Elizabeth liner to dock in Abu Dhabi for the first time

Luxury cruise operator Cunard’s newest luxury liner, the Dh2 billion ship will arrive at Zayed Port on April 17 along with 2,200 passengers.

The Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, docked here in Sydney in 2011, will make her first visit to Abu Dhabi as part of a world cruise. Matt Blyth / Getty Images
The Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, docked here in Sydney in 2011, will make her first visit to Abu Dhabi as part of a world cruise. Matt Blyth / Getty Images

The Queen Elizabeth ocean liner will make her first visit to Abu Dhabi as part of a world cruise next week.

Luxury cruise operator Cunard’s newest luxury liner, the Dh2 billion ship will arrive at Zayed Port on April 17 carrying 2,200 passengers.

After her tour, she will return to Zayed Port in one year, joining Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the state news agency Wam reported. The visits will be two of the scheduled ports of call for Cunard’s 2015 world cruise programmes, celebrating the company’s 175th anniversary.

The arrival of the Queen Elizabeth signals a milestone in the capital’s bid to improve its cruise sector, officials said.

Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director of tourism at Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, said the cruise ship was one of the most high-profile to berth at Zayed Port. The ship’s arrival is also indicative of Abu Dhabi becoming a “credible winter cruise destination”, he added.

The return of Cunard to Abu Dhabi marks passengers’ interest in the emirate’s tourism and attractions, with this year’s cruise season expected to be the busiest since cruise ships first came to the UAE. The port will receive 14 ships, carrying approximately 190,000 passengers from 75 destinations.

R Gori, senior general manager of Orient Tours, which handles cruise calls in the region, said: “Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 met with resounding success during her maiden call to Abu Dhabi last January and, if advance sales are any measure, her sister ship Queen Elizabeth will duplicate that success during her maiden call this April.”

Cunard’s former flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2, formerly owned by Dubai, is currently being converted into a floating hotel at a Chinese shipyard.

nbakhsh@thenational.ae