Published On: Tue, Mar 3rd, 2015

Abu Dhabi expects 50 percent increase in number of cruise tourists

uae-65088ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – An increase of 25 percent in cruise liners calling at Zayed Port will help to lift the number of cruise tourists by 50 percent this season.

This season about 94 vessels are expected to bring 185,000 tourists, compared with 125,000 passengers arriving on 75 vessels over the previous period, Abu Dhabi Ports said yesterday.

Cruise tourists for the Middle East are mainly from Europe and the UK, according to Abu Dhabi Ports. A recent survey showed that 57 percent of visitors were Germans, followed by Italians at 12 percent.

Abu Dhabi Ports said that four new vessels arrived in Abu Dhabi between November and January. Most of the vessels are on Middle East tours, which include Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat, Khor Fakkan and Khasab.

In terms of passenger capacity, the biggest cruise liners were the Costa Serena, which accommodates 3,700 passengers, MSC Orchestra which has capacity for 3,200 passengers, and Queen Mary 2, which takes up to 2,600 passengers. To support the cruise industry’s growth, Abu Dhabi Ports started work on a cruise terminal building. The construction will be carried out in three phases, with the first ending in April.

The second phase, which has already started, includes the building’s exterior and will be completed this month.

The third phase, which is due to start in two weeks, will include the building’s interiors.

The new building will be opened by the end of this year, in time for the next season, said Abu Dhabi Ports.

“With the new cruise terminal building and the new stopover on Sir Bani Yas Island, we will significantly enhance the visitor experience,” said Mohamed Al Shamisi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports.

The arrival of MS Rotterdam, which called at Zayed Port on October 25, opened the 2014-15 season.