Gianni Onorato and Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri signed the agreement at the line’s Geneva headquarters (Image: MSC Cruises)
MSC Cruises has signed a long-term agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports for preferential berthing rights at the Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas, an island 110 miles off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The contract was signed at the cruise line’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland by its CEO Gianni Onorato and Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, director of cruise business for Abu Dhabi Ports.
“This new agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports for preferential berthing rights demonstrates another long-term commitment from MSC Cruises to the Gulf and it will further consolidate our position as the largest passenger cruise operator in the region,” said Onorato. “MSC Lirica will return to Abu Dhabi and the Gulf in winter 2020-2021 to be joined by the highly-innovative MSC Seaview, a ship especially designed to operate in warmer weathers. Looking further ahead, we will deploy our biggest ship to the Gulf region for winter 2021-2022 with MSC Virtuosa, a 331-metre-long vessel which can accommodate 6,334 guests and is due to be launched later this year.”
MSC Seaview will make her maiden call to the city on 6 December 2020, followed by a visit to Sir Bani Yas the following day. She will operate 14 cruises in the region between December 2020 and March 2021. She will be joined by MSC Lirica, which will offer 21 cruises from Abu Dhabi between November 2020 and April 2021.
Abu Dhabi’s cruise terminal has seen a 47% rise in visitors and 45% rise in cruise ship calls, following MSC Cruises’ commitment to 17 new calls earlier this season.
“Our continued partnership with MSC Cruises is testament to our already strong relationship and reflects the quality of services we provide to the world's leading cruise operators at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas island,” said Al Dhaheri. “Our success in substantially boosting passenger volumes year-on-year demonstrates our commitment to develop a world-class cruise destination.”
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