Geneva, Switzerland – 31st January 2022: MSC Cruises announced today that the current season in the Arabian Gulf will be extended with MSC Bellissima offering additional 7-night cruises calling Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas in the United Arab Emirates and Doha in Qatar, from 2 April through to 25 June. MSC Bellissima will finish her planned Red Sea itineraries homeporting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 26 March and then move to the Arabian Gulf taking over from MSC Virtuosa from 2 April. MSC Virtuosa has been successfully sailing in this region since November 2021 and on finishing the winter season, will undertake a Grand Voyage back to Europe to homeport in Southampton, UK for the summer season. In July, MSC Bellissima will move to the Far East from July to perform her itineraries in Japan and China. Sales for the additional MSC Bellissima cruises opened today.
The Arabian Gulf has proven to be particularly attractive to MSC Cruises guests this winter, thanks to the appeal of the itinerary with the extended stays in port and two overnights in Dubai. Also, the effectiveness of the health and safety protocols put in place by the Company, both on board and by the local authorities for entry and stay in the region, have made guests feel safe.
Gianni Onorato, CEO MSC Cruises commented, “We have seen that the itineraries in the UAE and Qatar have been very popular with our guests and so to respond to this demand we have decided to extend our presence in the region. We would like to thank the authorities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha for their close collaboration and effective ways of working to ensure the health and safety of our guests and crew. The decision to deploy MSC Bellissima for this extended part of the season was taken because this is a highly popular and well appreciated ship with a richness of features, entertainment and dining as well as offering the MSC Yacht Club. These cruises are also appealing as they are very accessible to our guests thanks to the great flight connections into Dubai International Airport. We are offering a comprehensive Fly&Cruise programme with award-winning airline Emirates, with flights from 21 international airports, making the whole experience for our guests seamless from end to end.”
By extending the season, guests will be able to enjoy a cruise holiday that offers them the perfect mix of culture and tradition combined with the opportunity to discover some of the Middle East’s most modern cities along with guaranteed sun and beautiful beaches, all whilst relaxing on board one of MSC Cruises most innovative ships.
Highlights of the Arabian Gulf:
Dubai, UAE - one of the Middle East’s most recognisable cities, Dubai is a feast for the senses, with high-rise buildings, lavish malls and feats of engineering and architecture. To best experience this remarkable city, guests discover why Dubai is often referred to as the City of Merchants in one of the many souks in the old city or experience something a little more modern at one the most famous sites, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Al Khalifa.
Abu Dhabi, UAE - capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is rich with diversity and culture, framed by glittering buildings and home to the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. While some guests may opt to soak in everything the city has to offer with a sightseeing tour, others may wish to opt for a desert escape.
Sir Bani Yas, UAE - The largest natural island in the United Arab Emirates, Sir Bani Yas offers pristine beaches and diverse wildlife, as well as a 1.5 kilometre beach oasis exclusive to MSC Cruises guests on ship calling days. Sir Bani Yas island features a beautiful coastline and boasts the Arabian Wildlife Park on just over half of its surface area, which can be visited on one of many exciting shore excursions on offer.
Doha, Qatar - Recognised as one of the new 7 Wonders Cities, Doha is a fast-growing and exciting destination, recognisable to many sports’ fans for having hosted an array of world class events, including the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup. For art and culture lovers, the Msheireb Museum is just one of the many museums the city is home to.
Highlights of MSC Bellissima:
MSC Bellissima is one of the newest and most popular ships in the MSC Cruises fleet, offering guests a rich and varied onboard experience with innovative and modern facilities including:
- The MSC Yacht Club with luxurious accommodations spanning three decks, private facilities and butler service round-the-clock
- 12 dining venues and more than 20 lounges so that guests will be spoiled for choice including the French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistrot, popular American style steakhouse the Butcher’s Cut as well as Kaito Teppanyaki and Kaito Sushi bar.
- Acclaimed pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury’s Chocolate & Café is dedicated entirely to unique and elegant chocolate creations and desserts and a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth.
- An award-winning family offering with kids’ activities and services from partners LEGO and Chicco with a dedicated family deck area
- Two stunning entertainment venues – the London Theatre and the Carousel Lounge offering original theatre productions and live entertainment
- An 80-metre-long LED Sky Screen encompassing a stunning 96-metre-long Mediterranean-style promenade, designed as the social hub of the ship lined with shops, bars and restaurants
- Comfortable and innovative accommodations to meet every need demonstrating the way that MSC Cruises puts the guest at the heart of its designs and ship building and with 10 different types of cabin to choose from, there really is something for everyone.
Cruise with Confidence:
Since August 2020 MSC Cruises guests have been sailing under the protection of the line’s industry leading health and safety protocol that was developed with the input of a Blue-Ribbon Panel of experts and this has proven to be both safe and effective through all evolutions of the pandemic. This protocol was designed to adapt according to the situation ashore and the measures in place have either been eased or tightened to match the evolution of the pandemic, to continue to ensure the highest possible protection to guests and crew.
Bookings for all sailings this winter and summer will be covered by the Cruise with Confidence promise, under which the Company has already offered a safe, flexible and enjoyable cruise holiday to over one million guests during all phases of the pandemic, past and present.
Guests who book before 31 March 2022 will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing their booking is flexible — with the ability to reschedule their cruise free of charge up to 15 days prior to departure and 21 days for Fly&Cruise bookings.
All MSC cruise holidays are now only open to vaccinated guests and this will continue to be the case for winter 2023. The line will continue to implement the appropriate measures to ensure that guests can enjoy one of the safest holidays options out there all whilst having a memorable time on board.
For more information on MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol and embarkation requirements, please click here.