Dubai Harbour, the city’s new cruise hub, has welcomed its first passengers.
The 252-metre-long AIDAbella made its maiden call at the harbour on Thursday, carrying 1,200 passengers and 600 crew members, and marked the start of the cruise season at the new world-class facility.
Dubai Harbour has been dubbed the region’s most modern and largest stand-alone dedicated twin cruise terminal centre, and is capable of simultaneously handling two of the largest cruise ships currently operating globally.
More than 500,000 visitors and 126 ships are expected to dock in Dubai over the 2021/2022 cruise season, which officially began in October. More than 150,000 passengers are forecast to visit Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal in its first season.
The cruise terminals at Dubai Harbour offer an array of amenities and services for passengers and crew – from ample seating areas to currency exchange outlets, ATMs, cafes, retail and duty free outlets, dedicated parking and taxi stands. All facilities are wheelchair accessible and Wi-Fi is complimentary.
“Today marks a very special day for us, and we are excited to welcome the first cruise passengers to the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal,” says Abdulla Binhabtoor, chief portfolio management officer of Shamal Holding, which owns the new facility. “Not only does this mark the beginning of a new era for the cruising industry in the UAE, but it further elevates Dubai Harbour’s position as an extraordinary seafront district in the region.
“Along with the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai this year, the opening of the cruise terminal represents a significant milestone in realising Dubai’s destiny to become the most-visited city in the world. However, it is not only a fantastic lifestyle leisure destination for cruise passengers from every corner of the world – it is a natural gateway to the many wonders that Dubai has to offer and other international destinations.
"We look forward to working with partners across the trade and tourism ecosystem to advance and play a leading role in delivering the objectives of Dubai’s tourism strategy.”
Designed to process more than 3,250 passengers an hour, the twin terminals are located on a pier stretch of more than 910 metres. They have been purpose-built to ensure simplified and streamlined immigration and customs screening processes.
“We are excited and proud to bring AIDAbella, the ninth ship back into service, offering our guests voyages in the Orient in winter 2021/2022 and specifically to Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal located in this wonderful seafront district nestled within the Dubai Harbour development and Palm Jumeirah and in close proximity to Dubai landmark tourist attractions,” said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises.