Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) welcomed the AIDAaura on Monday, 17 November, at Zayed Port. It was the cruise liner’s first visit to Abu Dhabi and the port’s second vessel call in the cruise season 2014/15 which will be the busiest to date.
Abdulkareem Al Masabi, Vice President Ports Operations, ADPC received Capt. Nico Berg and his crew and handed over a commemorative plaque to the first-time visitors to mark the special occasion.
The AIDAaura belongs to German tour operator AIDA Cruises which has committed extra capacity for the current season. Alongside the returning AIDAdiva, ‘maiden caller’ AIDAaura is the tour operator’s second cruise liner to call at Zayed Port on a rotational basis, confirming that demand for the region from the main European cruise markets is growing.
“We are delighted to welcome another AIDA vessel to Abu Dhabi. This season sees our cruise business stepping up to the next level, with more than 220,000 passengers and 94 ship calls expected, which is more than ever before. Added to which, the ground clearance for the new Cruise Passenger Terminal is well underway, and construction will start in January, heralding a new step in our development of this exciting industry”, said Al Masabi.
The introduction of the 14-day Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean cruise to the region’s regular seven-day rotational itineraries is a boon to the emirate’s ambition to be recognised as a leading winter sun cruise destination, according to Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
“The addition of a second AIDA vessel delivering longer cruises with a more diverse itinerary brings a welcome increase in capacity and signifies the maturing of regional cruise demand.
“With the UAE’s recent introduction of a multi-entry cruise visa, we are hopeful that other cruise operators will see the benefit in expanding their regional itineraries.”
With a capacity for more than 1,700 passengers and crew members, the AIDAaura is renowned for its youthful style and casual service. As a seagoing “club resort”, the cruise liner has many on-board amenities and facilities that attract younger tourists, including bars and restaurants, as well as some of the most spacious spa, sports and fitness centres at sea.
The AIDAaura is one of thirteen cruise liners scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi in the current season. The ship will make eight calls to the capital as part of a 14-day cruise, with additional stops in Mumbai, New Mangalore, Mormuga (Goa), Muscat and Dubai. It is the only pan Gulf and Indian Ocean combination cruise in 2014/15.