Dubai is one of the top cruise destinations in the Middle East, and increasingly growing as a key winter cruise destination among tourists. With multiple home-porting ships, and a number of ships that stopover in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities for tourists to visit Dubai and take a regional or international cruise itinerary. Dubai has made to be the Cruise Hub of the Region – from a dedicated port facility and a variety of cruise tour packages available, to streamlined visa policies and seamless integration with on-shore activities. Dubai is the perfect location to start an international cruise itinerary, ranging from a short five-night voyage, to 14-night round trips, and longer world cruise itineraries. During the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 cruise seasons, Dubai will serve as a winter homeport for eight international cruise lines and over 20 other world-class cruise lines will be calling in to Dubai for overnight stay.
Dubai has the most modern and the largest dedicated cruise port in the Middle East, spanning over 36,500 square metres with a pier that stretches over 2,200 metres. The facility allows Dubai to comfortably accommodate six ships at the same time, with a proven track records of handling the complete passenger turnaround of five cruise ships simultaneously. Here are cruise lines including Celebrity Cruises who will be relocating its homeport in the 2019/20 season:
1. MSC Cruises’ MSC Splendida will be operating seven-night itineraries. MSC Cruises will also use Dubai as a turnaround port for MSC Lirica when she begins her new roundtrip cruises to India in 2018/2019 season.
2. Costa Cruises will be sailing seven-night cruises from Dubai aboard Costa Mediterranea for the coming two cruise seasons.
3. P&O will cruise roundtrip on 10-night cruises to all the major ports in the Arabian Gulf aboard Oceana. The cruise line’s inaugural Middle East season is this year, but Oceana has been reconfirmed for the following year as well.
4. Pullmantur is also operating 10-night roundtrip cruises from Dubai for the first time this season.
5. AIDA Cruises will homeport AIDA Prima in Dubai for the coming two cruise seasons. She is the largest and most modern ship the cruise line has ever sent to the Middle East cruise market.
6. TUI Cruises will homeport Mein Schiff 4 for the 2018/19 cruise season, and Mein Schiff 5 in 2019/2020. Both ships will sail identical 7-night cruise itineraries from Dubai within the Gulf.
7. Royal Caribbean will recommence round-trip cruise itineraries from Dubai in the 2019/2020 season, offering three different round-trip itineraries around the Arabian Gulf.
8. Celebrity Cruises will relocate its homeport to Dubai starting 2019/20 season with its Celebrity Constellation ship offering round-trip itineraries around the Arabian Gulf and India.
Multi-Entry UAE Cruise Visas
Citizens from over 50 countries receive visa on arrival in Dubai, UAE. In 2014, the UAE also introduced a multiple-entry UAE visa exclusively for cruise tourists. Costing AED 200 (IDR 790,000), this allows visitors to enter the UAE multiple times through any of its air and sea ports. As of 2018, Dubai also now offers long-term multiple entry visas for the crew of passenger ships free of charge.