Dubai is finalising plans to increase its cruise ship capacity at Port Rashid amid higher than anticipated growth in cruise tourists to the city in the coming 2016/17 Middle East cruise season.
Cruise ship visits will surge 16% this year, with 157 cruise ships calling in Dubai between October 2016 and April 2017, according to the Dubai Media Office.
This is up from 134 cruise ship visits last season. Rashid Port will receive 650,000 cruise tourists during the period, a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Not only are more cruise ships visiting Dubai and sailing from the city on roundtrip Arabian Gulf cruises, but they’re also getting larger, and will soon stretch the capacity of Dubai Cruise Terminal to process them efficiently.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer of DP World, said the emirate would begin work on connecting terminals 2 and 3 with a 465m bridge and increase the number of quays next year.
“The current quays will be expanded and an additional terminal will be built for more capacity to accommodate the increasing number of cruise ships”, he said.
Rashid Port can currently dock seven cruise ships simultaneously on its 1.9 kilometre quay and can process 18,000 cruise tourists in a single day through terminals 2 and 3 (the old Cruise Terminal 1 is currently idle, with QEII docked at its quay).
The new Terminal 3 is described as one of the biggest of its type worldwide with a capacity for 14,000 passengers across 125,000 square metres.
Dubai is planning to attract one million cruise tourists by 2020 under plans to become a regional hub for cruise tourism.