The premium cruise line Celebrity Cruises, owned by the world’s second-largest cruise company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, has confirmed it will be returning to the Middle East cruise market for the 2017/18 winter cruise season.
The coming season will be Celebrity Cruises’ second in the Arabian Gulf. The cruise line homeported its cruise ship Celebrity Constellation in Abu Dhabi from November, 2016 to February 2017, sailing roundtrip Abu Dhabi to Abu Dhabi cruises that included port calls in the Gulf as well as the west coast of India.
Port highlights on these itineraries are Mumbai, Goa and Mangalore.
Christopher Allen, vice-president, Global Deployment & Itinerary Planning, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises, said during the recently concluded Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum that Celebrity Cruises would be back a third time in 2018/19.
The cruise lines commitment to the Middle East cruise market reflects the exponential growth in the local cruise market, with both Dubai and Abu Dhabi on course to receive more cruise visitors than ever during the current season.
More than 100,000 Middle Eastern nationals took a cruise in 2016, and according to Lakshmi Durai, managing director, Travel Matrix, the Middle East partners for Celebrity Cruises, they have seen double digit growth in local cruise sales.
Lakshmi Durai, chief executive officer of Travel Matrix, the Middle East Representative of Celebrity Cruises said: “Celebrity Cruises offers the ultimate in premium cruising. With the arrival of Celebrity Constellation, we are glad to bring modern luxury cruising to the Arabian Gulf. The UAE’s prospective growth figures for luxury cruising are remarkable and we expect Celebrity Cruises to establish itself as the leading cruise option for Middle Eastern guests.”
Celebrity Constellation is the first cruise ship to be solely based out of Abu Dhabi, but also one of only two offering roundtrip cruises to India from the UAE.
The 295-metre, 91,000-ton vessel with a capacity for 2,170 guests in 975 staterooms on 13 decks, will sail nine-, 12- 14- and 15-night cruises covering five ports-of-call until she departs for South East Asia in January after a two-month-long home port deployment at Zayed Port’s Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.