Cruises in The Middle East Will Open Up Next Month

Positive news from the Middle East as it looks like the next in line to allow cruises to resume will be the UAE and Oman.

Both MSC Cruises and AIDA Cruises have voyages planned towards the end of January around the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. For AIDA cruises, the flagship AIDA Prima will be sailing on 7-day voyages starting January 29, 2021.

MSC Cruise has dispatched MSC Fantasia towards the Middle East for one-week cruises around the Persian Gulf.

AIDA Cruise Departs January 29

After several delays, German cruise line AIDA Cruises will set sail on her first voyage in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman on January 29.

Photo By: Aida Cruises

AIDAprima will be sailing on a 7-day voyage that will depart from Dubai and sail to Muscat in Oman, where the vessel will remain for two days. After this, there will be two days in Abu Dhabi, and to end the voyage, the vessel will return to Dubai for two more overnights.

AIDAprima is the current flagship for AIDA Cruises. The 3.300 passenger vessel was delivered in 2015. With a length of 300 meters, she weighs 125,572GT. The cruise line is part of Carnival Corporation.

MSC Fantasia, Departure January 23

MSC Cruises is mixing things up. While normally cruise lines would sail on a roundtrip without taking on passengers, the Swiss-based cruise line will be doing things slightly differently in the upcoming voyages in the Persian Gulf.

The line will have 7-day roundtrips onboard the MSC Fantasia, where the ship will stop in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Bahrain, and Doha. However, guests will be able to embark on the vessel in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Doha.

MSC Fantasia in Doha
Photo credit: Mwani Qatar

MSC Fantasia serves as the lead vessel for the Fantasia class of ships. She was delivered in 2008 and has space for 3.200 guests. At the time she was delivered, the ship was the largest for MSC Cruises. She weighs 137,936GT and is 333 meters long.

Related: 17 MSC Cruise Ship Deployments Detailed for Summer 2022

Considering A Cruise In The Middle East?

Although many consider the United Arab Emirates a great stop-over on flights between Asia and Europe, or Africa, not many consider the emirates a vacation destination. However, tourism in the area has been growing rapidly in recent years.

With the Atlantis Hotel (yes, that’s the same as in the Bahamas), The Burj Al Arab – the only 7-star hotel globally, and let’s not forget the Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel, there are more than enough epic places to stay ashore.

However, a cruise in the Persian Gulf is pretty much the best way to visit the Emirates. There are stops in Doha, Qatar, where you can combine a visit to the dessert and feel like Lawrence of Arabia.

Visit to Sir Bani Yas, where you can enjoy a one-of-a-kind island destination. Go horse riding or jeep riding; take your time at wildlife watching hides, then settle down on a traditional dhow for a mini cruise.

A cruise in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman might not have been on top of your list, but it certainly is a cruise destination that should be considered. With MSC and AIDA now offering cruises here, it is the perfect time to do so.

Photo Credit: seeshooteatrepeat /


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