Qatar has never been the star performer in the regional cruise industry, the country in general is an up-and-coming tourist destination, however, and as part of this strategy to increase tourist numbers, authorities in Qatar are also focusing on the fast-growing Middle East cruise industry.
It was for this reason that Qatar joined the Cruise Arabia alliance in late 2014, a joint effort by Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman to promote the Middle East as a cruise destination and make Middle East residents more aware of the advantages a cruise holiday offers over conventional land holidays (such as cost effective travel to a diverse range of cities with food, accommodation and entertainment included).
Doha, the capital of Qatar, has seen an immediate increase in the number of cruise ships planning to visit the city during next year’s Middle East cruise season. Between 2015 and 2016 the number of cruise ships calling in Qatar will double, although there is still much growth potential for Doha as a cruise destination (just two cruise ships feature Qatar as a destination in 2015).
Hapag-Lloyd’s flagship Europa 2 will cruise to Doha on November 12th this year on her 9-night round trip cruise around the Arabian Gulf from Dubai. The following week, on November 17th, the luxury cruise liner Seabourn Sojourn will visit the city on her 50-night Spice Empires Exploration cruise from Monaco to Singapore.
In 2016, however, Doha’s cruise destination credentials start to look up significantly, with both Europa 2 and Seabourn Sojourn returning on similar itineraries, as well as the Phoenix Reisen cruise liner Artania and the Azamara Cruises cruise ship Azamara Journey.
Artania will visit Doha on the final leg of her 140-night World Cruise from Genoa to Genoa, with passengers not booked for the full World Cruise able to purchase the 22-night cruise to Genoa from Dubai as a separate itinerary. She’ll call at Doha on April 21st, 2016.
Azamara Journey will repeat her popular 10-night Arabian Gulf cruise from Dubai to Dubai in October, 2016, with Doha, Qatar featured as one of the signature Arabian Gulf ports. The luxury cruise ship will arrive in the city on October 31st, 2016.