DUBAI: Dubai’s newest cruise hub has welcomed the first passengers of its 2022-2023 season.
Dubai Harbour, the city’s first dedicated cruise facility, welcomed more than 5,500 passengers into the city on Thursday.
Cruising from Germany on the maiden voyage of the AIDAcosma — a first-of-its-kind liquid natural gas or LNG powered ship — travellers docked in Dubai as the first port of call in the ship’s new Orient itineraries, which also take in Abu Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain.
With more than 2,600 staterooms and 20 passenger decks, the 183,900 gross-tonne ship is the biggest in the German operator’s fleet. Onboard, there are 17 restaurants and 23 lounges, a children’s pool, water slides and an outdoor sports park.
The AIDAcosma is the first of 46 ship calls expected at Dubai Harbour this cruise season.
The purpose-built terminal is also the first in the region to act as a home port for two sustainably-powered ships — the AIDAcosma, and the soon-to-arrive Costa Toscana which also has LNG propulsion engines.
It’s part of the facility’s efforts to help pave the way for increasingly sustainable sailings as LNG is one of the cleanest-burning, non-electric marine fuels in the industry, capable of reducing a ship’s emissions by up to 30 per cent.
“We are excited to return to Dubai Harbour — this time round with the maiden call of our youngest fleet member AIDAcosma,” said Alexander Ewig, senior vice president of marketing and sales at AIDA Cruises.
“Through AIDAcosma, we are continuing on our path to green cruising and are elated to be collaborating with Dubai Harbour to do so. We are sure our guests will have a great time, as they set sail on a tour of the Orient this winter 2022/2023, specifically at Dubai Harbour with its line-up of entertaining events and activities, alongside the magnificent Dubai skyline.”
Dubai Harbour sits just over 30km from Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central Airport. It’s also within easy reach of the city’s world-famous attractions including Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and The Dubai Mall.
Abdulla Binhabtoor, chief portfolio management officer of Shamal Holding, the owner and curator of Dubai Harbour, said: “Today is a very special day for us. This is not only the first time we have an LNG-powered cruise ship making its way to the city, but also a new cruise season that we look forward to with renewed excitement and anticipation”.
The cruise season at Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is also being extended into the summer months of 2023 for the first time, announced Binhabtoor, with ships scheduled to sail into the month of July.
“As we get ready to see full fleets get back in service, we believe there is great scope for extraordinary growth in the region. This includes more destinations, enhanced experiences and new types of cruise travellers,” he said.
The cruise terminals at Dubai Harbour offer an array of amenities and services for passengers and crew — from ample seating areas to currency exchange outlets, ATMs, cafes, retail and duty-free outlets, dedicated parking and taxi stands. All facilities are wheelchair-accessible and Wi-Fi is complimentary.