Dubai's new cruise terminals will officially open next week, nearly a year after they were ready for action.
The first passengers will arrive at Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal - which consists of two facilities - on November 25, with more than 30 ships expected to call and 150,000 visitors expected before April 2022.
Its launch was delayed by Covid-19, after concerns over high numbers of cases on board cruise ships led to all trips being cancelled in 2020.
Major operators require all passengers over 12 to be vaccinated, with the final dose of their inoculation administered at least 14 days before sailing.
Dubai Harbour is the first dedicated cruise port in the region, with two reception buildings that can receive two mega-ships at the same time.
The terminal's bespoke Seaport Passenger Boarding Bridges can process more than 3,250 passengers an hour, which means tourists can board quickly and disembark easily for a day trip around Dubai.
The terminals span 15,000 square metres each and are positioned on a 910-metre long pier in the new Dubai Harbour district.
The maritime centre includes the world's largest marina of 700 berths, two restaurants, plus a helipad and space for the world's biggest superyachts.
Amenities at the cruise terminals include duty free shops, cafes, tour operators, complimentary Wi-Fi, currency exchanges and ATMs. The entire area is designed to be accessible for wheelchair users.
Shamal Holding, who own the cruise terminals, said two international cruise lines – Aida Cruises from Germany and Costa Crociere from Italy – will make Dubai Harbour their home port for the winter season.
Most passengers embarking on a cruise from Dubai travel around the Arabian Sea or head further afield along the African coastline or north into southern Europe.
Dubai already has the largest cruise port in the UAE, with two terminals at Mina Rashid with the capacity to fit seven mega-cruise ships at one time.
The city welcomed more than 800,000 people during the 2018-2019 season. This year, 126 liners and more than 500,000 visitors are expected to visit Dubai across all ports.
Before the pandemic, the cruise industry was the fastest growing in the travel sector.
Demand soared by 20.5 per cent in the past five years, taking the industry’s value close to $207 billion (Dh760.2bn) in annual global revenue, with 270 vessels across more than 50 operators, KPMG reported.