Dubai: Residents and tourists will be able to travel between Dubai and Karachi on a luxury cruise ship when the service starts early next month.
"We will sail our first luxury cruise from Karachi to Dubai on November 7," said Rizwan Mohiuddin, President of Gulf Dream Cruise.
The company is the first to be granted a licence by the Pakistan government to run the service. The vessel will reach Dubai on November 9.
Mohiuddin told Gulf News yesterday that the ship will not offer regular transportation for passengers.
"It is for fun and entertainment trips like any other cruise ship in the world and not an alternative mode of transportation for passengers," he said.
He said the five-day cruise will be fun-filled. The ship will have a theatre, games, other entertainment facilities and restaurants.
"The main idea is to promote tourism between the two countries and give people in Pakistan and the UAE an opportunity to sail through the Gulf waters and the Arabian Sea," said Mohiuddin.
Gulf Dream Cruise will run a weekly ferry service between Dubai and Karachi. The five-day cruise will include four days at sea and a 16-hour stay in Dubai. The initial fare will be Dh2,000 for a round trip.
Mohiuddin said passengers travelling from Pakistan would be provided with tourist visas on arrival in Dubai. They will also be taken on a city tour.
Similarly, tourists travelling from Dubai to Karachi will be provided with a city tour. However, they will have to arrange their own visas if they are not residents of Pakistan.
The Gulf Dream Cruise vessel weighs 23,000 tonnes and has a length of 196 metres.
It has 540 rooms and can accommodate up to 1,250 passengers. It will have a crew of 400.
Mohiuddin said that they would only offer seasonal cruises. The first season will be from November this year to February 2007 with six to seven cruises each month. The next season will start in November 2007.