Abdulkareem Al Masabi, vp ports operations, ADPC received Capt. Nico Berg and his crew and handed over a commemorative plaque to the first-time visitors to mark the special occasion.
AIDA Cruises has committed extra capacity for the current season with AIDAaura joining the returning AIDAdiva, confirming that demand for the region from European cruise markets is growing.
‘We are delighted to welcome another AIDA vessel to Abu Dhabi. This season sees our cruise business stepping up to the next level, with more than 220,000 passengers and 94 ship calls expected, which is more than ever before. Added to which, the ground clearance for the new Cruise Passenger Terminal is well underway, and construction will start in January, heralding a new step in our development of this exciting industry”, said Al Masabi.
The introduction of the 14-day Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean cruise to the region’s regular seven-day rotational itineraries is a boon to the emirate’s ambition to be recognised as a leading winter sun cruise destination, according to Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
‘The addition of a second AIDA vessel delivering longer cruises with a more diverse itinerary brings a welcome increase in capacity and signifies the maturing of regional cruise demand.
‘With the UAE’s recent introduction of a multi-entry cruise visa, we are hopeful that other cruise operators will see the benefit in expanding their regional itineraries,’ he added.
AIDAaura is one of thirteen cruise ships scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi in the current season, making eight calls to the capital as part of a 14-day cruise, with additional stops in Mumbai, New Mangalore, Mormuga (Goa), Muscat and Dubai.