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Dubai Harbour welcomes first cruise passengers, from AIDAbella

AIDAbella arriving at Dubai Harbour
Dubai Harbour, the UAE’s newest cruise terminal, welcomed its first regular cruise passenger operation Thursday on AIDAbella.

Carrying around 1,200 passengers and 600 crew, AIDAbella’s maiden call marks the start of the cruise season at Dubai Harbour located within easy reach of key landmarks, including the Burj Al Arab, Ain Dubai, Bluewaters Island and Palm Jumeirah.

Located at the centre of modern Dubai, Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal comprises two buildings that offer passengers and crew a safe, comfortable and seamless experience. Designed to process over 3,250 passengers per hour, the terminals are located on a pier stretch of over 910mtr and can accommodate a complete passenger turnaround for two mega cruise ships simultaneously.

Complimentary WI-FI is enabled for passengers and crew. 

Carnival Corp. & plc regional hub

Ealier this year in March, AIDAprima and AIDAvita first berthed at Dubai Harbour for an operational test run. In 2018, Carnival Corp. & plc entered into a strategic partnership with Shamal Holding with the aim of transforming Dubai into the major maritime tourism hub serving the region. Part of the agreement included the two companies developing the Dubai Cruise Terminal, which is the primary hub for Carnival Corporation’s homeporting and transit operations in the region.

2021-2022 season

Dubai’s 2021-2022 season, which commenced in October, is expected to welcome 126 ship calls and over 500,000 cruise visitors. More than 150,000 passengers are forecast to visit Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal in its first season.

Abdulla Binhabtoor, chief portfolio management officer, Shamal Holding, owning company and curator of Dubai Harbour, commented, ‘We are excited to welcome the first cruise passengers to the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal. Not only does this mark the beginning of a new era for the cruising industry in the UAE, but it further elevates Dubai Harbour’s position as an extraordinary seafront district in the region.’

Referencing its alignment with Dubai Tourism Strategy, Binhabtoor explained, ‘Along with the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai this year, the opening of the cruise terminal represents a significant milestone in realising Dubai’s destiny to become the most visited city in the world.’

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented, ‘the success of our cruise business depends on a number of key factors such as partnerships with more and more leading cruise lines, collaboration with major Dubai entities such as Shamal Holding and the availability of world-class infrastructure and facilities like the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal.


‘We are excited and proud to bring AIDAbella, the ninth ship back into service, offering our guests voyages in the Orient in winter 2021/2022 and specifically to Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal located in this wonderful seafront district nestled within the Dubai Harbour development and the Palm Jumeirah and in close proximity to Dubai landmark tourist attractions.  A special highlight of this year’s cruise season is the World EXPO 2020,’ said Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises.

Costa Firenze

Costa Firenze, sailing a debut summer Mediterranean season, will reposition to Dubai in December offering weeklong Arabian Gulf cruising from Dubai Harbour starting December 17 until mid-March 2022.