According to industry alliance, Cruise Arabia, the 2019-2020 Middle East Cruise season is set to be the busiest on record, with eight different cruise lines deciding to use Dubai as a homeport for a total of 9 vessels. These include MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises, TUI Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Pullmantur, P&O Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.
MSC will for the first time base two vessels in Dubai. MSC Bellisima and MSC Lirica will cruise in the Arabian Gulf and to India respectively.
Working closely with other destinations in the region, the Cruise Arabia alliance has promoted the Middle East Gulf as a winter cruise destination with considerable success. The UAE has also cut port charges for the Dubai Cruise Terminal and this has helped encourage cruise lines to try out the region. After successful inaugural seasons, lines such as P&O and Pullmantur are returning for a second season in 2019-20, underlining the benefits of the strategy.