Dubai Cruise Tourism was accused of being overly ambitious back in 2016 when they said they wanted to get 1-million cruise tourists visiting the Middle East annually by 2020, now MSC Cruises has announced that the largest cruise ship in the fleet will be homeported in Dubai the same year.
MSC Bellissima’s statistics are staggering when compared to MSC Splendida, the huge cruise ship she will be replacing in Dubai. Belissima will be 170,000 gross tons compared to Splendida’s 138,000. She will carry a maximum of 5,100 passengers, a full 1,200 more than Splendida and she will be packed full of even more at-sea attractions.
According to MSC Cruises publicity material, Bellissima will introduce to the Dubai cruise market Cirque du Soleil performances, Broadway-style shows, 10 different areas for dancing, a full-size bowling alley and three exciting waterslides.
MSC Bellissima will feature a Water Park with three multi-deck water slides.
The ship will also have 12 dining venues including a chocolate atelier and creperie, and the renowned Kaito Sushi Bar that was introduced aboard her sister ship, MSC Meraviglia, which was launched in June last year.
There will be 12 restaurants aboard MSC Bellissima, including an all-new sushi bar.
Bellissima is scheduled for delivery in March, 2019 and will spend her maiden cruise season in MSC Cruises home waters, the Mediterranean, before repositioning to Dubai for the 2019/2020 cruise season.
MSC Bellissima will cruise from Dubai for the first time on November 30th, the first of 16 scheduled 7-night roundtrip cruises from Dubai in the Arabian Gulf. Like Splendida, she will also offer Abu Dhabi as a roundtrip port on these itineraries.
With her much larger passenger capacity, it’s unclear how Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal will cope with the added demand, although cruise officials in the capital are actively looking at ways to speed the boarding process.
MSC Bellissima’s Arabian Gulf cruises will follow the same ‘butterfly itinerary’ style as Splendida, with an Eastern Arabian Gulf cruise followed by a Western one. On the eastern 7-day itinerary she’ll visit Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, spend a day at sea and then visit Muscat and Khassab before returning to Dubai.
MSC Cruises expects to easily fill their mammoth new cruise liner when she cruises from Dubai.
She’ll then cruise east to Qatar and Bahrain, visiting Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, spend a day at sea and visit Bahrain and Doha before returning to Dubai.
The decision by MSC Cruises to homeport their largest ever cruise ship, and newest mega cruise liner, in Dubai, underscores the rapid growth of the Middle East as a cruise destination and shows the potential that MSC Cruises sees in it.
“This will be our eighth cruise season in the UAE and we have seen strong demand for our quality product offering from Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” says Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO. “We believe in the potential. Cruise is still underpenetrated. This one of the few industries where the supply attracts the demand, not the other way around.”
“With our new ships we can offer the possibility of some unique features, like Cirque du Soleil,” he adds.
Cirque du Soleil, which is already popular in Dubai on land, will certainly prove a hit aboard MSC Bellissima when she debuts in the Arabian Gulf, but that’s not all this mega cruise ship will offer the Middle East cruise market.
MSC Bellissima will have the largest staterooms and suites available on any cruise ship sailing roundtrip from Dubai in 2020.
Passengers cruising with their children out of Dubai will be able to join the free kids’ clubs, which starts with a Lego-themed club for toddlers and young children, and goes up to clubs featuring the latest technology for older children in the DOREMI Tech Lab and DOREMI Studio Lab.
Cruising parents will also be able to play with their babies in a room where Chicco baby equipment will be available. The ship will also have its own dedicated children’s waterpark. More details about MSC Bellissima are expected to be announced ahead of her launch next year.
“MSC Bellissima is a name that embodies the beauty and the magnificence of this entire next generation of MSC Cruises ultramodern mega-ships, so rich with new features and amenities for guests of all ages and interests,” says Onorato.
MSC Cruises plans to launch 10 additional new, next-generation cruise ships between now and 2026.