Dnata has completed 10 years of cruise logistics operations in Dubai, managing the passenger processing and ship services for 133 cruise ship calls during the 2015/16 Middle East cruise season.
Dnata Airport Operations has worked with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) to establish Dubai as a global cruise hub.
It handled just 55 cruise ship calls with 106,000 cruise tourists in the 2006/07 season when it first started operations. The market has since grown to 133 cruise ship calls attracting more than 541,000 cruise tourist to Dubai in the 2015/16 season.
“Dnata Airport Operations has been actively involved in the growth of the cruise business since 2006, and we have worked tirelessly to help establish Dubai as global cruise hub,” says Emma Deane, Vice President, Commercial & Business Development, Dnata Airport Operations.
Some 23 of the world’s leading cruise lines now have Dubai not just as a port of call on their itineraries, but also as a turnaround port, where passengers begin and end their cruise.
Six of these cruise lines homeport cruise ships in the Middle East each cruise season, using Dubai as a roundtrip cruise destination, speaking to Dubai’s growth in prominence as a cruise hub in the Arabian Gulf.
“The phenomenal growth we have seen in such a short span of time, is really a testament to how invested Dubai and its partners are in creating an exciting proposition for cruise companies and customers alike,” added Deane.
As one of the key partners in the Middle East cruise industry, Dnata has created an integrated product for cruises that provides a seamless experience for passengers, including airport handling, transfer of passengers and baggage, shore excursions, retail sales, cruise crew rotations among other functions.
For the winter cruise season, Dnata welcomes Thomson Cruises to Dubai, with the Emirate chosen as the new home port for their cruise ship Thomson Celebration.
Six regional airports in the UK will now be serving Dubai: Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and London Gatwick, with the Dnata DWC Airport Operations team handling the complete turnaround of the cruise charter flights.
Thomson Cruises will provide the perfect starting point from Dubai, for travellers to experience two exciting new itineraries from December 2016.
Major cruise companies such as Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), Celebrity Cruises and Crystal Cruises have added Dubai to their itineraries, and MSC Cruises, TUI Cruises have deployed superior passenger capacity ships and are among the 10 maiden ship calls to Dubai this season 2016/17.
Modern facilities and fast processing times of passengers in terms of visa clearances, smooth baggage handling and transportation services from the aircraft to the port and vice versa are the key aspects.
Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), the primary point of entry, caters to a quick and easy arrival and departure of passengers through the terminals. Dubai continues to spearhead the overall success of the UAE’s booming cruise tourism industry, accounting for almost 60 percent of all arrivals.