Dubai cruise season to host a million visitors

Norwegian Jade visited Dubai late last month

With the start of a new cruise season in October, Dubai has stepped up its drive to attract more cruise travellers keen to explore and enjoy the city’s winter sun offerings as part of efforts to further strengthen its position as a leading cruise hub of the region.

The upcoming 2019/2020 season is expected to welcome more than 200 ship calls and an estimated one million cruise visitors. This follows a successful 2018/2019 cruise season when the city witnessed a record increase of over 51 per cent in cruise tourist footfall with nearly 850,000 tourists and 152 ship calls, a 38 per cent increase compared to the previous season.

The new cruise season commenced on October 19 with the arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, carrying over 6,000 passengers. This will now be followed by five maiden calls from leading international cruise liners throughout the season, including Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema, MSC Cruises’ MSC Bellissima, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, Croisieurope’s La Belle Des Oceans and TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6.

The cruise liners will homeport at Dubai’s award-winning Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal, home to world-class facilities capable of handling seven mega-cruise vessels at one time. In fact, the terminal will receive five cruise vessels in a single day on 11 occasions throughout this season and six cruise vessels in a single day twice throughout the season.

In April, Mina Rashid won the Middle East’s Leading Cruise Terminal Award for the 12th consecutive time at the World Travel Awards 2019, along with WTA’s prestigious World’s Leading Cruise Port Award for 11 years in a row since 2008.

Hamad Bin Mejren, senior vice-president, Dubai Tourism, said: “Dubai has continued to strengthen its position as the leading cruise hub in the region, and is now the preferred destination for cruise travellers looking to experience the diversity of Dubai’s tourism offerings including the Arabian hospitality, culture and heritage. Last season, we witnessed remarkable growth in visitor footfall and international cruise liners opting to dock at the award-winning Mina Rashid cruise terminal, reflecting Dubai’s ongoing efforts to provide international visitors with holistic and world-class services throughout their journeys. We anticipate another successful season with the arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, marking a significant step in our efforts to promote Dubai as a ‘must-visit’ cruise destination.”

The 2019/2020 cruise season will also see increased efforts to promote cruise tourism in the region by the Dubai Cruise Committee which is comprised of leading industry partners; Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), DP World UAE Region, operator of the Mina Rashid, Emirates Airlines, The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, and Dubai Customs.  


EMIRATES has opened its first remote check-in terminal, outside of the airport to provide seamless connections for cruise passengers. The Emirates check-in counters, located at Port Rashid, will allow passengers who are disembarking from their cruise ships to check in for their onward Emirates flight at the same facility.

The new service will further enhance Dubai's position as a premier international cruise destination, and provides greater convenience for Emirates customers. With complimentary flight check-in facilities located at the same location as their cruise disembarkation point, customers will have the convenience of exploring Dubai without their luggage before heading directly to the airport for their flight.

The Emirates check-in facility at Port Rashid will have eight counters where Emirates staff will check-in customers' luggage and issue boarding passes up to four hours before flight departure.

The facility will be open during the sailing period from October to April, where it is estimated that 280,000 passengers will have onward Emirates flights.

This new service complements home check-in, launched last year, which allows Emirates passengers to check in for their flights from anywhere in Dubai for a fee. Other luggage handling services available for Emirates flights in Dubai include a concierge service to handle their luggage at the airport. For Emirates passengers arriving in Dubai, there is a luggage storage facility for those who wish to leave their bags and explore the city.