MSC Musica’s 2015 Dubai cruise season has been extended, Cruise Arabia & Africa can confirm, with the cruise ship now scheduled to sail an extra four 7-night Middle East cruises before she departs the region in early April 2016.
According to MSC Cruises, the extension to her cruise season is a direct result of greater-than-expected demand. “MSC Cruises is delighted to offer an extended Dubai and Middle East cruise season,” Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises Executive Director Emerging Markets, told Cruise Arabia & Africa. “The addition of four more cruises is a response to the increasing demand for Dubai-based itineraries from all around the world.”
The 293m MSC Musica, which can accommodate 2,550 passengers and has a tonnage of 92,409 gross tons, is one of the largest cruise ships ever to be home ported in Dubai for an entire cruise season and the extension of her Middle East cruise program underscores the significant growth taking place in the local cruise sector.
MSC Musica will arrive in Dubai on December 11th next year and will begin her 2015/16 Middle East cruise season the following day, departing on a 7-night cruise visiting ports in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
MSC’s first Musica-class cruise ship was then due to depart the region on March 5th, but this 15-night cruise from Dubai to Italy, with visits to Oman, Jordan, Egypt and Greece along the way will now instead depart on April 2nd.
The Middle East cruise sector has seen remarkable growth in recent years, with Royal Caribbean Cruises, MSC’s principle rival in the local cruise market, confirming to Cruise Arabia & Africa that they have seen consistent double figure growth in terms of cruise passengers travelling to the region for Middle East cruises, as well as Middle East residents themselves taking cruises each year.
MSC Musica is replacing MSC Orchestra in 2015. For the 2014/15 Middle East cruise season, MSC Orchestra, which is near-identical to Musica, will sail a very similar cruise program out of Dubai.
In another sign of the growth taking place in the Middle East cruise sector, MSC Orchestra herself replaced MSC Lirica, a much smaller cruise ship, which for years made Dubai her home port each cruise season. Orchestra and Musica carry almost twice as many passengers.