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Carnival Corp.'s lavish Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is officially open

Costa Firenze and AIDAbella at Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal
Carnival Corp. & plc celebrated the official opening of Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal with Shamal Holding following their strategic partnership signed in 2018.

The occasion was marked with a walk-through by Abdulla Binhabtoor, chief portfolio management officer of Shamal Holding, and Carnival Corp. executives including Giora Israel, SVP global port and destination development; Michael Thamm, group CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia; Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises; Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Cruises; Michel Nestour, VP global port and destination development for the EuroMed & Arabian Gulf region at Carnival Corp.; and Torben Seidenschnur, director CEO office and strategic development at Costa Group.

Costa Firenze and AIDAbella

The official opening was also marked by Costa Firenze and AIDAbella visits, coinciding with the start of the cruise season and their homeporting in Dubai.

The opening represents a significant milestone in realizing Dubai's goal of becoming the world's most visited city, underscored with the October opening of Expo 2020 in Dubai. Through Costa Cruises' partnership as a gold sponsor of the Italian Pavilion, passengers have shore excursion options to explore the World Exhibition.

Region's first twin-terminal cruise port

As the region's first dedicated, twin-terminal cruise port, Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is capable of accommodating two large cruise ships simultaneously. The facility spans over 120,000 square meters/nearly 1.3m square feet and includes two purpose-built terminals. These are equipped with four bespoke passenger boarding bridges that can simultaneously support the full turnaround of the largest cruise vessels.

'After years of working closely with Shamal Holding, we are absolutely thrilled to welcome guests from around the world to Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal,' Thamm said. 'As the world's largest cruise company, our passion is providing our guests with extraordinary vacation experiences, and we are confident that our partnership with Shamal Holding will enhance the overall experience for our guests.'

Thamm said the terminals stand as a tribute to the 'remarkable appeal of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf as a cruise destination, and we look forward to working with Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal and its community partners to make Dubai Harbour a highly efficient and customer-friendly operation, while facilitating new tourism opportunities through cruising in the region.'

'Historic milestone'

For his part, Binhabtoor called the development a 'historic milestone in Dubai's role as this region's foremost destination for lifestyle, leisure and luxury,' adding Dubai Harbour is a 'natural gateway to the attractions that Dubai has to offer and, as a result of the city's strategic location, other international destinations as well.'

The cruise terminals offer ample seating areas, restrooms, currency exchange outlets, ATMs, cafes, retail outlets, duty-free shopping, parking and taxi stands. The facilities are designed to be fully accessible, and free Wi-Fi is enabled for passengers and crew.

Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is part of a lifestyle development that also comprises Dubai Harbour Yacht Club, Dubai Harbour Pier Club, Dubai Harbour Marinas, Skydive Dubai and Zero Gravity.

90 calls booked by six Carnival Corp, brands

Costa and AIDA began operating from Dubai in 2006. In late November, AIDAbella arrived at Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal for the first time to begin the first regular cruise operation from the new terminals. Costa Firenze's arrival yesterday marked the start of its first homeporting season from Dubai, scheduled to stretch through March.

Including Cunard, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Seabourn, six Carnival Corp. brands will visit Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal by 2023 and are expected by then to make a total of 90 calls.