New Port Inaugurated, 50 Ships Expected in First Months

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The new Aqaba Cruise Terminal in Jordan has welcomed its first ship, MSC Splendida, the first of more than 50 cruise ships expected to visit the port in the next four months.

This inaugural call was greeted with appropriate fanfare, including speeches by various dignitaries and introductions to the terminal’s diverse facilities, specially designed to serve visitors’ needs.

First Cruise Port in Jordan

The Aqaba Cruise Terminal, located at the north tip of the Gulf of Aqaba in the southernmost part of Jordan, is the first and only cruise ship terminal in the Kingdom of Jordan. The terminal is designed to service the needs of travelers from Jordan and adjacent countries, as well as welcoming international guests from a variety of cruise lines.

The new terminal is also a key partnership between AD Ports Group and Aqaba Development Corporation, showcasing the cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Jordan.

H.E. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to Jordan, said of the port project:

“Our longstanding, deep-rooted brotherly relations throughout history have today reached advanced levels of coordination on numerous fronts, with both countries serving as model examples of collaboration, wisdom, reason, peace, tolerance and forgiveness for the region and the world.”

The new port will welcome a diverse fleet of cruise ships to Jordan in the coming months, bringing great economic advantages to the region and strengthening economic bonds.

Aqaba Cruise Terminal
Photo Courtesy: AD Ports Group

“This new facility seeks to elevate Aqaba’s travel experience and leverage its prime location and growth potential to attract tens of thousands of international visitors to explore Jordan’s top attractions, thereby adding economic value to the coastal city while establishing its position as a destination of choice in the Levant region,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group.

The Aqaba Cruise Terminal includes a 700-foot (213-meter) pier to accommodate cruise ships, as well as indoor retail spaces, prayer rooms, and luggage storage.

The entire facility is equipped with free Wi-Fi, and is positioned as part of a mixed-use waterfront project that also includes additional retail space, luxury hotels, public parks, delicious dining, and much more.

Cruise travelers visiting Aqaba will have plenty of options for historic tours as well as more adventurous activities such as parasailing and scuba diving, as well as relaxing visits to idyllic beaches and resort clubs on the Red Sea. Visits to Bedouin camps, touring Petra, viewing the breathtaking Arabian Desert, and more are all available from Aqaba.

First Ship to Visit Aqaba

MSC Cruises’ Fantasia-class MSC Splendida is the first ship to call on the new cruise port, having visited on Monday, January 23, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., giving guests amazing opportunities to explore the historically rich and culturally vibrant city, as well nearby Petra and Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon.

MSC Splendida Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises

MSC Splendida is currently sailing a 7-night Saudi Arabia Red Sea itinerary, roundtrip from Jeddah. Aqaba was the ship’s final port of call, after earlier stops in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and the cruise will return to Jeddah on Wednesday, January 25.

In the coming months, more than 50 cruise ships are slated to visit Aqaba. In addition to MSC Cruises, vessels from a variety of cruise lines will call on the port, including Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, TUI Cruises, Cunard Line, Viking Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and more.

The summer months will be the slowest for the cruise port, but visits will surge again later in 2023, with visits from Azamara Cruises, Holland America Line, AIDA Cruises, and many more.

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