The cruise ship Thomson Celebration departed Dubai Cruise Terminal Wednesday evening, bound for Aqaba, Jordan and eventually the Mediterranean cruise market, marking the end of her first Middle East cruise season out of Dubai.
Thomson Celebration sailed several roundtrip Dubai cruises in the Arabian Gulf, visiting Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Khassab and Muscat, with overnight calls in Dubai during the 7-night itineraries.
Thomson Celebration, a classic cruise ship built in 1984 for Holland America Line, but now under long-term charter to Thomson, carries 1,254 passengers and is likely to be sold out of the fleet in the coming years as Thomson deploys TUI Discovery 1 and 2, the former Royal Caribbean cruise ships Splendour and Legend of the Seas.
During Thomson Celebration’s Dubai cruise season, the cruise line offered flights to Dubai from six UK regional airports (Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and London Gatwick), which proved extremely popular with British holidaymakers.
Many users on Twitter that Cruise Arabia & Africa spoke to did note, however, that the shore excursion offerings in Khassab were limited, with one saying he wasn’t sure why the port was even included in the itinerary.
Thomson Cruises has been clear in its interest in returning to the Middle East region though, although a date has not been set.
“At Thomson Cruises we know that destinations are one of the key deciding factors for our customers and our decision to set sail from Dubai allowed holiday-makers to see and experience more destinations than ever before,” said Thomson Cruises Managing Director Helen Caron.
“As Dubai becomes more and more popular for winter sun and incredible excursions, we know our customers will be as excited as we are to welcome this destination to our programme,” she added.