Saudi first cruise ship
The MSC World Europa at Dammam port. Image Credit: Supplied

Saudi Arabia authorities welcomed the inaugural visit of the first cruise ship to enter Dammam’s King Abdulaziz Port, as the MSC World Europa arrived with around 5,000 passengers.

The ship’s arrival marks a historic moment as it opens Saudi Arabia’s coastline on the Arabian Gulf to cruises for the first time.

Throughout Cruise Saudi’s current cruising season, the ship will make weekly calls at King Abdulaziz Port on its seven-day round trip, with itineraries that also include the ports of Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Cruise Saudi has previously welcomed four MSC cruise ships – including MSC Splendida, MSC Orchestra, MSC Virtuosa and MSC Bellissima – to Jeddah Islamic Port and Yanbu Commercial Port to sail the Red Sea. Not only does the arrival of MSC World Europa mark the first time a cruise ship arrived at Saudi Arabia’s coastline on the Arabian Gulf, but it’s also the first time passengers disembarked at Dammam’s King Abdulaziz Port. Until this moment, the port was exclusively a commercial port.

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Cruise Saudi CEO, Lars Clasen, commented: “As we welcome the first cruise ship and first group of passengers to King Abdulaziz Port, we open a new and important gateway connecting Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world – via the Arabian Gulf.

Saudi first cruise ship
MSC World Europa has a capacity of 6,700+ passengers and 2,000+ crew members. Image Credit: Supplied

“Cruise Saudi was established to develop and create the cruise industry in the country and welcome tourists to explore the unique and rich Saudi history, heritage, culture and offering. And this moment marks another step toward our goal of establishing Saudi Arabia as a premier regional and global cruising destination.”

MSC World Europa is MSC Cruises’ first liquid natural gas (LNG)-propelled cruise ship and has a capacity of 6,700+ passengers and 2,000+ crew members. Its state-of-the-art design includes the latest water

recycling technology to purify wastewater, a 341-feet long promenade offering panoramic ocean views, 13 dining venues, seven swimming pools, a waterpark, and 19 different stateroom categories to cater to guest preferences.

Cruise Saudi’s ongoing third cruising season runs from November 2022 until May 2023 and is set to welcome over 75 scheduled calls from ships from five global cruise lines sailing the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.