Stock - Dubai Harbour
Dubai expects to see more than 500,000 cruise ship passengers in the current season. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Harbour had two mega cruise ships dropping anchor in the last 48 hours, leading to 2,450 passengers and 1,900 crew members setting foot in Dubai. They were aboard two Carnival Corp. owned vessels, the the AIDAbella and Costa Firenze.

The new 323-metre-long Costa Firenze – on its maiden voyage to Dubai – is akin to a ‘floating city’ with 969 balcony cabins, 13 restaurants, seven lounges, a full-scale waterpark and a Broadway-style theatre. Costa Firenze is inspired by the Italian Florentine Renaissance, with an “interior intended to evoke classic Italian streets and town squares”.

The 252-metre-long AIDAbella – which has returned to Dubai following its maiden call in November – features Japanese-style spas, state rooms, a ‘Theatrium,’ golf courses and running tracks.

Busy terminals
The infrastructure at the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal features two terminal buildings. Designed to process over 3,250 passengers per hour, these are located on a pier stretch of over 910 meters and can accommodate a complete passenger turnaround of two cruise ships simultaneously.

Dubai’s 2021-2022 season, which commenced in October, is expected to see 126 ship calls and over 500,000 cruise visitors. Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer, Shamal Holding, which operates Dubai Harbour, said: “It is exciting to see so many thousands of people enter the city through this extraordinary seafront district, the newest entry point to Dubai, which is already considered to be the premier gateway to the region for cruise ships from around the world.”

Dubai Harbour is the largest standalone dedicated twin cruise terminal centre in the eastern hemisphere. The cruise terminals, which are part of Dubai Harbour development, offer an array of services – from ample seating areas to currency exchange outlets, duty-free, dedicated parking, taxi stands and more.

With Dubai now having the capacity to host nine mega cruise ships at any one time, we anticipate that the cruise sector will continue to grow exponentially

- Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing