The United Arab Emirates has given the green light for the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ near Palm Jumeirah to become the emirate’s primary hub for cruise tourism.
The move coincides with the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between Dubai-based real estate developer Meraas and Carnival Corporation & plc that will aim to transform Dubai into “a major regional maritime tourism hub,” Meraas said.
Under the agreement, signed by His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, and Arnold W. Donald, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation, the companies will collaborate across several strategic areas including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbour and the broader region.
Dubai is set to become central to Carnival Corporation’s operations in the region. The agreement mandates Carnival Corporation to assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards of the cruise industry, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs.
Dubai to become major maritime tourism hub
Operations at the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ are scheduled to commence in October 2020. Following discussions with His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP, it was agreed that ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ will become the main cruise terminal in Dubai and all cruise ships visiting Port Rashid will be redirected gradually from its opening date.
Abdulla Al Habbai said that: “In line with the agreement with Carnival Corporation, the cruise hub at Dubai Harbour will reinforce Dubai’s status as an ideal holiday destination, a starting point for cruises to exclusive destinations and a gateway to exploring the world. Our partnership will enhance the city’s tourism offering with new options for families, such as sharia-compliant tours.”
The ’Dubai Cruise Terminal’ at Dubai Harbour will become Carnival Corporation’s primary hub for its homeporting and transit operations in the region. The partnership will also result in both parties working together to identify and grow the cruise tourism business in the Arabian Gulf region.
Speaking on the agreement, Arnold W. Donald, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation said: “We have a long history in Dubai with our world-leading cruise brands. We are excited to be part of this important venture that will drive new tourism opportunities for Dubai and the region through cruising.”
Carnival Corporation will launch new cruises from Dubai Cruise Terminal and aims to attract new source markets from India and China. The cruise terminal is designed as a strategic maritime centre, providing easy access to and from the city, while offering passengers an unparalleled view of iconic landmarks, such as Ain Dubai and the upcoming Dubai Lighthouse, as well as Dubai’s urban skyline.
Dubai Harbour will be home to two cruise terminal buildings, spanning a total of 30,000 square metres, joined by a single quay of about 1 kilometre, capable of accommodating up to three cruise ships concurrently, including Carnival Corporation’s newest and most advanced cruise ships and XL class ships, as well as up to 13,200 passengers at a time.
In anticipation of an upsurge in cruises, Meraas has planned for the addition of two more terminal buildings that will increase capacity to six cruise ships at the same time.