Abu Dhabi Ports ─ the master developer, operator and manager of ports and industrial zones in the Emirate ─ has started welcoming cruise liners in the new cruise season at Zayed Port, a premier cruise hub in the region.
Abu Dhabi’s current cruise season will witness significant increase in the number of passengers and cruise liners visiting the Emirate, and see the scheduled opening of a state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Zayed Port by the end of this year. These developments in the ongoing season will further elevate Abu Dhabi’s standing as a leading winter-sun cruise destination on the regional cruise tourism map.
A 620-passenger vessel MS INSIGNIA’s maiden call on September 18 marked the beginning of Abu Dhabi’s new cruise season. Zayed Port has scheduled over 19 per cent more cruise ship calls for the current season than in the previous one. In the season spanning from mid-September this year to mid- May 2016, Zayed Port will host 112 cruise ship calls ─ up from 94 in the 2014-2015 season. Those 112 vessels from across the globe will bring 205,000 passengers. This will represent a fivefold increase in the number of passengers visiting Zayed Port since the first cruise season during 2006-2007 that had hosted thirty six thousand (36,000) passengers from 29 ship calls. This impressive growth is projected to reach more than 300,000 passengers expected on 130 scheduled ship calls by 2019-2020 season, catalysed by the new world-class cruise terminal at Zayed Port.
“These developments describe the significant expansion of Abu Dhabi’s cruise industry that further boosts the Emirate’s tourism development, a major component in its economic diversification. As an enabler of maritime industry that supports this vision, Abu Dhabi Ports derives inspiration from these advancements to offer inventive and unique services in this sector,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports.
“The upcoming modern cruise terminal at Zayed Port will be a demonstration of our commitment to innovation and stakeholder focus,” he added.
Abu Dhabi Ports has incorporated suggestions from all major global cruise lines and created a flexible design for the new cruise terminal that can accommodate any future requirements of cruise operators in accordance with their mode of operations.
The construction of the terminal achieved 60 per cent completion by the end of August. The building envelope has already been completed and the fit-out of the main passenger hall is 30 per cent complete. The fit-out of retail units, installation of new entrance, and works of wall glazing have already been started.
The aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly terminal building will have many tourist-friendly facilities including the services of the government agencies and money exchange centres, shops etc. A fusion of traditional Arabic ornaments and modern architectural elements define the building’s distinctive style. It will celebrate the UAE’s cultural heritage and pay tribute to its long maritime history.