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Dubai Harbour welcomes its first cruise passengers from cruise ship AIDAbella

25 Nov, 2021

- Cruise passengers arriving at Dubai Harbour are within easy reach from the city’s world-famous attractions such as Burj Al Arab, Bluewaters Island, and Palm Jumeirah
- Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is close to both of Dubai’s international airports – a gateway to Dubai and international destinations
- Dubai Harbour further enhances Dubai’s position as a leading global tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world


Dubai Harbour, an extraordinary seafront district, today welcomes the arrival of its first cruise passengers comprising approximately 1,200 passengers and 600 crew members aboard the 252-metre-long Cruise Ship AIDAbella.

Operated by AIDA Cruises, the maiden call of the AIDAbella at the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal marks the start of the cruise season at Dubai Harbour and the official debut of the region’s most modern and largest, standalone dedicated twin cruise terminal centre in the Eastern hemisphere, capable of the simultaneous handling of two of the largest cruise ships currently operating globally. As the owning-company and curator of Dubai Harbour, the diversified investment firm Shamal Holding is the driving force behind making Dubai Harbour an exceptional seafront district. Dubai’s 2021-2022 season, which commenced in October, is expected to welcome 126 ship calls and over 500,000 cruise visitors, contributing further to the momentum of Dubai’s tourism recovery. More than 150,000 passengers are forecast to visit Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal in its first season.

Located at the centre of modern Dubai, Dubai Harbour is within easy reach from the city’s key landmarks – including the Burj Al Arab, Ain Dubai, Bluewaters Island, and Palm Jumeirah, giving cruise passengers easy access to some of the world’s most iconic experiences.
The cruise terminals, which are part of the incredible Dubai Harbour development, showcase the spectacular and beautiful Dubai harbour skyline to our guests and offer a wide array of amenities and services for passengers and crew – from ample seating areas to washrooms, currency exchange outlets, ATMs, cafes, retail outlets, Duty-Free, dedicated parking, taxi stands and much more. All facilities are wheelchair accessible and complimentary WIFI is enabled for passengers and crew to stay connected.

Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer, Shamal Holding commented, “Today marks a very special day for us, and 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 that “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. However, it is not only a fantastic lifestyle leisure destination for cruise passengers from every corner of the world – it is a natural gateway to the many wonders that Dubai has to offer and other international destinations. We look forward to working with partners across the trade and tourism ecosystem to advance and play a leading role in delivering the objectives of Dubai’s Tourism Strategy.”

Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented, “Under the visionary leadership and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we have successfully navigated our way out of the unprecedented global challenge and have set our sights on leveraging the momentum that is accelerating across sectors including tourism to position Dubai as the world’s most preferred and visited destination. The continued 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. With the new cruise season in full swing, we are proud to be consistently included as a key port of call by the world’s largest and most popular ocean liners, as evidenced by the arrival of AIDAbella and the first passengers to the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal, further reinforcing Dubai’s global reputation as the ultimate cruise gateway to the region.”

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

The purpose-built terminals ensure simplified and streamlined immigration and customs screening processes, and the dedicated access routes for passengers and crew, facilitated by Seaport Passenger Boarding Bridges, allow uninterrupted flow between the ship and the 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.

AIDA Cruises is the market leader in the German-speaking cruise market and currently operates one of the most modern fleets in the world with 13 cruise ships, including the first ever LNG propulsion cruise ship built. AIDA Cruises is one out of the nine world leading cruise lines forming part of Carnival Corporation & plc, one of the world’s largest leisure travel companies.

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