Middle East Cruise News

‘Extreme’ cold weather expected to hit Dubai on busiest cruise weekend of 2018

Five cruise ships packed with 25,000 cruise tourists from across the globe will be alongside at the Dubai Cruise Terminal this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the same day that the UAE’s National Centre for Meteorology says the city will experience its coldest day of the year.

The coming weekend will be the busiest of the 2018/2020 Dubai cruise season, which is itself the biggest overall cruise season the region has ever seen, with eight ships cruising roundtrip from Dubai and Abu Dhabi between now and March next year.

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Dubai Cruise Terminal’s busiest day in the previous 2017/18 cruise season.

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Oceania Cruises’ ship Nautica was in Dubai on Thursday, ending her 20-night cruise from Athens, along with Marella Cruises new cruise ship Marella Discovery, which arrived in Dubai Wednesday and stayed overnight for the last night of her 14-night voyage from Aqaba, Jordan.

The German cruise line AIDA is homeporting its mega-ship AIDAprima in the Arabian Gulf for the coming cruise season. AIDAprima was in Dubai overnight Thursday and Friday, beginning her 7-night roundtrip cruise to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Muscat.

MSC Cruises is going head-to-head with AIDA in the big ship stakes, with its 130,000+ gross ton MSC Splendida arriving in Dubai on Friday to begin her 2018/2019 Dubai cruise season, sailing roundtrip from the city to the major cruise ports of the Arabian Gulf.

Rounding off this cruise rush weekend will be the little cruise ship Horizon of Pullmantur Cruises, a Spanish cruise line that is homeporting in Dubai for a full cruise season for the first time.

Horizon will arrive in Dubai on Saturday and stay overnight in port two nights in a row as part of her 7-night roundtrip cruise itinerary from Dubai. She’ll sail this itinerary weekly until March, 2020.

All of this will be going down on what meteorologists say could be the coldest day of the year on Saturday. On Thursday, a bright red star, which represents the beginning of “extreme cold weather” in the Arab region, was spotted in the UAE’s skies.

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The Antares star, often called the Heart of the Scorpion, was used by Arab sailors and fishermen in the past to depict when the harsh winter was coming their way.

“The shamal (Arabic for cold winds) hits and it’s shivering cold and the sea becomes rough,” says Hasan Al Hariri, the CEO of the Dubai Astronomy Centre. “The shamal is the arctic wind which blows from Siberia.”

A Meteorologist at the UAE’s National Centre for Meteorology (NCM) confirmed that there will be a decrease in temperature nationwide on Saturday, but weather conditions will return to the average of 24’C by Sunday.

Although cold by UAE standards, the ‘extreme cold’ will be moderate compared to what European cruise tourists are used to. According to the NMC the lowest temperature on Saturday is expected to decrease to 19’C.

“On Friday night, the cold winds will start to approach from Northwest of the Arabian Gulf,” the NMC said. “The winds will gradually dominate the whole country by Saturday. The temperature will decrease by two or three degrees. Some locations might experience a decrease of up to 4 or 5 degrees.”

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