First cruise ship arrives at Dammam in Saudi Arabia

First cruise ship arrives at Dammam in Saudi Arabia

Cruise Saudi

The arrival was celebrated with a plaque and key exchange ceremony onboard MSC World Europa

MSC Cruises’ MSC World Europa has become the first cruise ship to call at the city of Dammam in Saudi Arabia, after it entered King Abdulaziz Port with 5,000 passengers onboard.

The Saudi Red Sea Authority, in collaboration with national and regional authorities, facilitated regulatory arrangements to allow the arrival of MSC World Europa. It is the first cruise ship to call at a port on Saudi Arabia’s coastline on the Arabian Gulf, and the first time passengers have disembarked at King Abdulaziz Port, which was previously an exclusively commercial port.

The arrival was celebrated with a plaque and key exchange ceremony onboard MSC World Europa, attended by representatives of Cruise Saudi and the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani). Also present were members of the Saudi Red Sea Authority, the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority and the ship officials.

“It is our absolute pleasure to participate and cooperate with our partners in the marine tourism sector to make history in Saudi Arabia,” said Mohammed Asiri, acting CEO of Saudi Red Sea Authority. “We will continue to leverage this momentum to develop the regulatory arrangements in the maritime tourism and leisure sector and to attract more leisure cruises to ensure an enjoyable coastal tourism experience, on global standards.”

Throughout Cruise Saudi’s current cruising season, which runs from November 2022 until May 2023, the ship will make weekly calls at King Abdulaziz Port on its seven-day roundtrip cruises. The itinerary also includes stops at Doha in Qatar and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

“As we welcome the first cruise ship and first group of passengers to King Abdulaziz Port, we open a new and important gateway connecting Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world – via the Arabian Gulf,” said Lars Clasen, CEO of Cruise Saudi. “This moment marks another step toward our goal of establishing Saudi Arabia as a premier regional and global cruising destination.”

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
13 January 2023

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