Dubai Harbour welcomes two cruise ships

On 16 and 17 December, Dubai Harbour, an extraordinary seaside destination, welcomed more than 2,450 passengers and 1,900 crew aboard two Carnival Corporation cruise ships, AIDAbella and Costa Firenze.

Arriving in Dubai’s beautiful harbour, the two cruise ships docked at Dubai Harbour’s dual cruise terminal before guests disembarked to visit Dubai and its iconic landmarks, including Burj Al Arab, Ain Dubai, Bluewater Island and Palm Jumeirah.

The new 323m Costa Firenze liner, making its maiden voyage to Dubai, has been dubbed a “floating city” with 969 balcony cabins, 13 restaurants, seven saloons, a full-scale water park and a Broadway-style theatre. Costa Firenze is inspired by the Italian Florentine Renaissance and its interior is designed to resemble classic Italian streets and city squares.

The 252-metre cruise ship AIDAbella, which returned to Dubai after its first call with cruise passengers in November, has Japanese-style spas, state rooms, a ‘Theatre’, golf courses and jogging tracks.

Shamal Holding, a diversified investment company that owns and curates Dubai Harbour, is the driving force behind the transformation of Dubai Harbour into an exceptional seaside destination.

Cruise tourism is a key pillar of Dubai’s travel and tourism industry, and Dubai’s popularity as a cruise destination has grown significantly over the past decade. Dubai is the gateway to the region and an ideal base for cruise tourists wishing to explore the UAE and other regions. The 2021-2022 season, which began in October, is expected to see 126 ship calls and over 500,000 cruise visitors, further boosting Dubai’s tourism recovery.

Abdullah Binhabtoor, Director of Portfolio Management at Shamal Holding, commented, “Today we welcomed two outstanding cruise ships to Dubai Harbour in the largest autonomous dedicated hub with two cruise terminals in the Eastern Hemisphere. It’s great to see many thousands of people entering the city through this extraordinary waterfront area, the newest entry point to Dubai, which is already considered the region’s main gateway for cruise ships from around the world.”

The cruise terminals, which are part of the Dubai Harbour complex, offer a wide range of facilities and services for passengers and crew – from spacious seating areas to toilets, currency exchange facilities, ATMs, cafes, retail outlets, Duty-Free, dedicated parking, taxi stands and much more. All facilities are wheelchair accessible and passengers and crew can use free WIFI to stay connected.

Michael Thamm, general manager of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia Corporation’s Carnival, added: “After years of working closely with Shamal Holding, we are very pleased to welcome guests from around the world to the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal. As the world’s largest cruise company, we are committed to providing our guests with an extraordinary holiday experience and we are confident that our partnership with Shamal Holding will enhance the overall experience for our guests.”

The cruise terminal infrastructure in Dubai Harbour includes two terminal buildings that offer guests and crew a safe, comfortable and hassle-free experience. Designed to handle more than 3,250 passengers per hour, the highly efficient and state-of-the-art terminals are located on a pier more than 910 metres long and can accommodate the full passenger capacity of two cruise ships simultaneously.

The purpose-built terminals provide simplified and streamlined immigration and customs clearance processes, while dedicated access routes for passengers and crew, facilitated by seaport passenger boarding bridges, allow seamless movement between ship and terminal.

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