ABU DHABI // One of the region's biggest ocean liners, Brilliance of the Seas, arrived for the first time in the capital yesterday with 2,000 guests from 45 countries. A red-carpet welcoming ceremony was held by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) for the ship when it arrived in Port Zayed, with cultural activities including a falcon show, henna drawing, dances and a tour of the city.
The ship features three swimming pools, fine-dining restaurants, a rock-climbing wall and an indoor and outdoor country club with a golf simulator. The US$400 million (Dh1.46bn) ship can accommodate about 2,500 guests. It is expected to bring more than 32,000 passengers to the region in its first four-month season, in line with Abu Dhabi's plan to increase maritime tourism by 50 per cent. Manea al Manea, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports, said there had been an increase lately in the number of tourists in Abu Dhabi as it works towards becoming one of the top destinations in the world. Trint Redmond, 20, an Australian who was on board for his first trip outside of his own country, said: "In the beginning I was in doubt about the trip, but then I discovered the beauty of the area and that it is a perfect destination for tourists that exceeded all my expectations, and I'm eager to explore more of the area." Salmein al Ameri, the senior commercial manager at Abu Dhabi Ports, said: "In Abu Dhabi Ports we are very happy to receive the Brilliance of the Seas. This would not have been accomplished without the combined efforts of Dubai Customs, TransAD, and passports and immigration department, who worked closely with Abu Dhabi Ports for years to establish a secure system up to the best international standards and guests' expectations." Brilliance of the Seas belongs to Royal Caribbean International.