MSC Cruises partners with Saudia for Red Sea holidays

The airline will fly nearly 20,000 tourists to Saudi Arabia this winter

MSC Cruises partners with Saudia for Red Sea holidays

MSC Cruises

The agreement was ratified in person at Saudia’s headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

By Alex Smith |

MSC Cruises has signed an agreement with Saudia, the national airline of Saudi Arabia, for 36,800 seats from Europe and North America to support its new Red Sea winter sailing programme.  

The agreement will take almost 20,000 tourists to Saudi Arabia in winter 2021-2022. It was ratified in person at Saudia’s headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, Ibrahim Al-Omar, director general of the Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, and Fawaz Farooqui, managing director of Cruise Saudi. 

“We are proud to partner with Saudia, the Kingdom’s national flag carrier, and work towards the same common objectives in support of the further development of tourism in Saudi Arabia by bringing many thousands of international guests to discover this remarkable country, with more to come in future sailing seasons,” said Onorato. “Through this extensive flight programme, we are able to make our new cruise offering even more accessible to holidaymakers from Europe and North America and deliver best-in-class experiences.” 

MSC Cruises will offer a ‘Fly & Cruise’ package from a range of international airports to Jeddah, with Saudia adjusting its flight schedules for Friday night flights arriving in the Saudi Arabian port on Saturday mornings. Seven-night cruises onboard MSC Bellissima will depart the port at 11pm local time every Saturday night. A similar range of return flights are then available for Saturday morning journeys home. 

“Saudia’s global route network is complementary to the flourishing Saudi cruise industry,” said Al-Omar. “The airline looks forward to this collaboration with MSC Cruises to showcase the breadth of leisure offerings available in Saudi Arabia.” 

MSC Bellissima’s seven-night Saudi Arabia and Red Sea itinerary for winter 2021-2022 will depart from Jeddah for King Abdullah Economic City, then on to the city of Yanbu for an overnight stay. She will then spend a day at sea before arriving at Aqaba in Jordan for trips to the historic city of Petra, and then spend a further day at sea before finally returning to Jeddah.  

“We are delighted to see Saudia and MSC Cruises partnering to serve 20,000 ‘Fly & Cruise’ guests to Saudi Arabia for the winter season,” said Farooqui. “This close cooperation between our national carrier and the world’s third largest cruise line is exactly the kind of partnership which will help Saudi Arabia to become a world-class cruise destination, which is what Cruise Saudi is working to create in line with Vision 2030.”

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