The cruise ship, which was forced to cut short her 2019/2020 Middle East cruise season out of Dubai last year due to the pandemic, is now anchored off Fujairah, apparently awaiting bunkering.
Fujairah is the UAE’s principle bunkering and fuel storage hub, supplying as much as 800,000 tonnes of fuel oil for ships in 2019 before the pandemic.
AIDAprima last week joined her fleet mate AIDAvita in becoming the first cruise ships to use the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal adjacent The Palm Jumeirah and Blue Waters islands.
The new cruise terminal is to become the regional cruise hub for Carnival Corporation and its nine cruise brands, many of which cruise to and from the Arabian Gulf annually.
The Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal can accommodate two cruise ships simultaneously and puts cruise passengers in the midst of some of Dubai’s best tourists attractions.
AIDAprima is a duel fuel cruise ship, with two diesel engines, and one LNG-powered engine.
While conventional ship bunkering can be performed in port at Port Rashid, it cannot be done at the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal, which may explain why she had to cruise to Fujairah to refuel.
Furthermore, Fujairah is the only port in the Middle East where LNG bunkering can be performed.
It’s unclear if AIDAprima will return to Dubai to wait out the shutdown of the global cruise industry until the new cruise season, or if she’ll be redeployed in Europe or the Caribbean, where there are signs of the industry starting back up again.
AIDA Cruises resumed sailing out of Germany late last year for several weeks, until a new wave of infections across much of Europe, especially Germany, prompted a renewed lockdown that forced the suspension of cruises once more.
The cruise line has announced its intention to launch a season of fly-cruise itineraries of the Canariesaboard AIDAperla, a sister ship to AIDAprima.
AIDAprima is scheduled to homeport in Dubai for the upcoming 2021/22 Arabian Gulf cruise season, sailing 7-night roundtrip cruises from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Khasab, Sir Bani Yas Island and other destinations in the Gulf.