Abu Dhabi to become an international cruise hub?
Abu Dhabi’s ambition to become an international cruise hub has received a significant boost following the signing of a landmark co-operation agreement between Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and MSC Cruises that will see the world’s fastest growing cruise operators deploy one of its top vessels to the UAE capital on a homeport basis from October 2011. ADTA’s strategy aims to attract 2.3 million hotel guests to the Emirate by the end of 2012.
Under the terms of the agreement, Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed Port will serve as the primary embarkation and disembarkation point for the Italian operator’s maiden regional itinerary – scheduled for the 2011-2012 season – using its luxury MSC Lirica liner.
With its ultra-modern fleet, MSC Cruises’ entry into the Arabian Gulf will see MSC Lirica – a 59,000-ton vessel with a capacity for 2,199 guests in 784 cabins – provide 19 eight-day/seven-night cruises covering five destinations, between November 2011 and March 2012.