The Middle East is emerging as a major cruise destination with more than one million cruise tourists visiting the region during the 2015/16 wave season.
This has paved the way for Dubai to become the cruise hub for the region. With its vast air connections across the globe, Dubai is the most convenient destination for the passenger turnaround in the Middle East. Last year Dubai played host to more than 195 cruise ships carrying 575,000 passengers from the US, Europe, Africa, India, Far East and Australia.
The Dubai Cruise Terminal with its uncomplicated immigration procedures for passenger clearance, ground handling and well-oiled tourist support infrastructure, makes for easy embarkation and disembarkation for cruisers on shore excursions. In addition, Dubai has recently opened a new cruise terminal spanning over 3,450 square metres with its deep basin which can accommodate the world’s biggest cruise lines. The port has the capacity to handle six cruise ships simultaneously. No wonder it is now the homeport for many international lines including Costa Cruises, Aida and Royal Caribbean International.
Who goes there: Costa Cruises, Aida, Princess Cruises, Cunard, MSC Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn, Royal Caribbean, Thomson Cruises.
Cruisers like: Visiting the world’s tallest skyscraper Burj Khalifa with its high speed lifts that stop at the 124th floor public platform for visitors to get a dizzying bird’s eye view of the amazing city. If you like to shop, there’s Dubai Mall, the world’s biggest shopping mall packed with designer labels, affordable shops and plenty of family entertainment including an aquarium. The gold and spice souks are laden with traders selling a dazzling array of 22-carat, ornately-designed gold bangles and necklaces which the locals adore. But most tourists find the heady perfumed oils and fragrant spices irresistible.
Best for: Families and couples with a sense of adventure.
Getting around: Most ships provide a bus shuttle to the city centre where the action is. There are also numerous taxis available.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.