MSC Cruises has released the full season cruise itineraries for MSC Magnifica’s maiden homeport program in the Red Sea out of Jeddah.
MSC Magnifica will cruise roundtrip from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia between November, 2021 and March, 2022, visiting three Saudi ports, as well as Egypt and Jordan on each 7-night voyage.
There are 17 of these roundtrip cruises from Jeddah scheduled for MSC Magnifica. The ship will sail the first of them on November 13th, 2021, and the last on March 19th, 2022. She’ll then depart Jeddah on March 26th bound for Europe.
Each of the 17 roundtrip cruises from Jeddah is identical. MSC Magnifica will sail from Jeddah in the afternoon every Saturday, arriving in Al Rayes, Saudi Arabia the following morning.
She’ll then depart at 6pm in the evening for Aqaba, Jordan, and will spend a full day at sea cruising up the Red Sea along the coast of Saudi Arabia, arriving at the gateway to Petra the following morning.
It’s an early arrival in Aqaba at 6am in order for passengers to have time to take the hours-long shore excursions into the interior of the country to visit the ruins of Petra.
MSC Magnifica will depart Aqaba at 6pm and sail overnight to Safaga, Egypt, where its another early 6am arrival, and a late departure of 9pm so that passengers can take in all the sights, such as the iconic Karnak temple, Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut temple and Colossi of Memnon in Luxor.
MSC Magnifica will cruise overnight again to Al Wajh, Saudi Arabia, another long port call with a 7am arrival and 9pm departure. Here passengers will have plenty of time to explore the Hejazi architecture in the Al Balad, which are among the finest Red Sea coral buildings outside of Jeddah, set amid the ghostly emptiness of the abandoned old town.
The following day she’ll arrive in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, made famous TS Lawrence and home to dive sites and pristine white sandy shores, departing at 4pm for Jeddah, where the cruise ends the following morning.
While these cruise itineraries are sure to prove popular with international cruise tourists who have long sought an affordable and convenient way to visit Saudi Arabia (closed to tourists until very recently), MSC Cruises also expects a lot of local demand.
The decision by MSC Cruises to homeport in Jeddah and cruise the Red Sea is expected to be just the beginning of a rapid uptake in Saudi Arabian cruises by the world’s major cruise lines.