Middle East Cruise News

AIDA second cruise line to confirm return to Dubai in 2020/21 cruise season

AIDA Cruises has joined MSC Cruises in confirming that it will return to the Arabian Gulf cruise sector for the 2020/21 cruise season, deploying its second-largest ship AIDAprima out of Dubai.

The announcement was made as part of the reveal of the cruise line’s winter program for 2020 and 2021, during which AIDAmar will cruise the Canary Islands, from November 1st, 2020, with AIDAperla taking over on November 7th.

AIDAprima will return to Dubai for the 2020/21 cruise season

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Both ships are cruising the program originally intended for AIDA’s new LNG mega-ship AIDAnova, the 180,000-gross ton Excellence-class sister ship to Carnival’s Mardi Gras.

AIDAmar will homeport in Las Palmas, while AIDAperla will use Tenerife in addition to Las Palmas for turnarounds.

AIDA also plans to resume services in the Western Mediterranean, with AIDAstella on December 12th, 2020, sailing seven-day cruises from Palma, Mallorca.

While the cruise line hasn’t yet scheduled a return to cruises to Norway, it says its confident it will be able to soon start cruising in Northern Europe again.

“Even if port calls in Norway are not currently possible, we are also confident that from the beginning of 2021 we will be able to sail from Germany to Northern Europe,” said Felix Eichorn, president of AIDA.

AIDAprima, meanwhile, will homeport in Dubai from December 11th, 2020, cruising seven-night roundtrip itineraries in the Arabian Gulf.

Main atrium aboard AIDAprima

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She will inter-port with Abu Dhabi, meaning that passengers can choose either Dubai or Abu Dhabi as the boarding and disembarkation port.

Cruise officials in Dubai have not officially confirmed the reopening date for cruises out of Port Rashid, home to the Dubai Cruise Terminal, the primary homeport for all cruises in the Arabian Gulf.

Lazy river aboard AIDAprima

However, when the cruise sector was shutdown in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, no official announcement was made until the following month, by which time all eight homeporting cruise ships in the region were already in hot lay-up in Port Rashid.

AIDA underlined that its cruises are sailing in full compliance with the requirements of international and national health and hygiene authorities, as well as its own extended health and hygiene standards.

AIDA’s own health and safety protocols have been verified by third parties, including the German auditing company SGS Institut Fresenius and the class society DNV-GL.

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