Geneva’s MSC Cruises will operate 21 Red Sea itineraries from Jeddah this summer.
The three- and four-night cruises will journey from Jeddah to Egypt’s Safaga Port, offering passengers the opportunity to explore Luxor, and Aqaba in Jordan, for access to Petra, before returning to the home port in Saudi Arabia.
The cruises will run from the end of July until late October, on-board MSC Bellissima, which, according to MSC Cruises, is the largest cruise ship to ever set sail in the Red Sea. The cruise liner was delivered in 2019 and has a deck surface area of 450,000 square metres, the equivalent of 63 football pitches.
In addition to a wide range of accommodation options, it has some of the most plentiful pool space to be found at sea, is home to the luxurious, Balinese-inspired MSC Aurea Spa, has Broadway-style theatres, full-sized bowling alleys, Formula One simulators and an interactive Grand Canyon-themed Aqua Park.
It also offers extensive entertainment options for children, including Lego and Nintendo experiences. Its 12 dining options include a tapas bar, French bistro and American-style steakhouse. It is also home to separate male and female prayer rooms.
MSC has already planned to launch winter itineraries in the Red Sea.
“As the tourism industry of Saudi Arabia grows progressively for its own residents and international visitors, we at MSC Cruises are looking forward to making a positive and lasting contribution as more people explore and discover the rich heritage and incredible cultural attractions it has to offer,” says Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.
“With our cruises this summer from Jeddah of the MSC Bellissima and a ship dedicated for the winter season in the Red Sea, we are committed to serving holidaymakers with the very best cruise experiences. This, we believe, will accelerate the attractiveness of holidays at sea in the region and significantly help in the growth of tourism,” he said.
MSC’s winter Red Sea itineraries will run from November to January on-board MSC Magnifica. They will also start in Jeddah, before taking in the Saudi port of Al Wajh, a gateway to Al Ula.
Other stops in Saudi include Ar Ras al Abyad, Dammam and Yanbu al Bahr, with its clear turquoise waters and untouched coral reefs, before the cruise heads to Aqaba and Port Safaga, where it will travel up the temple valley of Luxor.
The company is promising to organise visas for all passengers booking its fly and cruise packages.
All passengers boarding MSC Cruises are required to either be fully vaccinated or undergo a PCR test 48 hours before the ship’s departure. Only the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are accepted.
Passengers are also required to undergo health screenings and a further PCR test at the terminal before boarding. Guests must hold an insurance policy that covers Covid-19.