Middle East Cruise News

Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal streamlines passengers’ journey from port to plane

Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal has partnered with Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Airport Services to further streamline the process involved in getting passengers to or from the port and plane.

The partnership was announced at the start of the 2018/2019 cruise season, which will be the biggest and busiest the UAE has ever seen.

It was put into practise several weeks ago, however, when the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ship Boudicca ended her Aqaba to Abu Dhabi cruise at the beginning of the month.

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Passengers aboard Fred Olsen Cruise Line’s Boudicca were the first to use the newly-integrated system.

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This was the same cruise during which two passengers were killed while ashore in Salalah.

When Boudicca reached port in Abu Dhabi, there was already a Thomas Cook Airlines chartered flight waiting to carry many of the passengers home to the UK. It was the first airline to land in Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) as a fully dedicated charter for cruise ship passengers.

Passengers disembarking Boudicca were checked into airline check-in counters operated by Etihad Ground Services at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, negating the need for any further queuing or carrying of baggage at the airport.

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Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal aims to make the terminal experience for cruise passengers as stress-free as possible.

This will now become the norm for cruise ship passengers flying out of the city on Etihad Airways flights.

“We are delighted to partner with two of Abu Dhabi’s key aviation entities to focus on innovative ways to excel in our services offering at our cruise facilities,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, which operates Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.

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“Our ongoing partnership with Abu Dhabi Airports and EAS creates a seamless transition from plane to ship meeting passenger’s expectations and enhancing their experience at our facilities,” he added.

Bryan Thompson, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, said he hoped the integration with Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal might prompt more cruise lines and cruise charter flights to operate from the city.

“[This] cements the position Abu Dhabi is acquiring regionally and globally as a prominent tourism and transportation hub… we are constantly looking into initiatives that will attract more operators to AUH. This includes enhancing operational efficiency and facility offers; hence we look forward to expanding such collaborations with our partners,” he said.

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Celebrity Cruises’ ship Celebrity Constellation will cruise roundtrip from Abu Dhabi during the 2018/19 cruise season.

Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal is a popular port of call on the majority of cruise itineraries visiting the Arabian Gulf, but Dubai remains the key turnaround cruise port in the region. More than 700,000 cruise passengers will board cruise ships in Dubai this coming season, while 329,000 used Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal during last year.

Celebrity Cruises is currently the only cruise line home-porting exclusively in Abu Dhabi, with Celebrity Constellation cruising round-trip from the city during the coming season.

However, with an increasing number of cruise lines based in Dubai, choosing to cruise roundtrip from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Noura Rashed Al Dhaheri, Cruise Terminal Manager at Abu Dhabi Ports, said she hopes these developments will prompt more cruise lines to ‘interport’ in the capital.

“Abu Dhabi Ports has invested heavily in developing state-of-the-art cruise infrastructure facilities. Our streamlined check-in services further cement our commitment to deliver distinctive services for cruise passengers in our facilities,” she said.

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