To celebrate MSC Cruises’ move to utilise Abu Dhabi as a homeport, the popular cruise company is offering fly-cruise packages from Australia from a bargain $2594 per person, twin share.
In a deal struck with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the Italian company is to deploy MSC Lirica to the UAE capital on a homeport basis from October, 2011, steering cruise tourism to a region which prides itself on rich history, soft sandy beaches, safaris in the desert, supremely designed giant mosques and contemporary additions to the city skylines.
Abu Dhabi’s anticipated elevation from port-of-call to homeport status will strengthen the city’s cruise tourism credentials in the region with the authority forecasting 2.3 million hotel guests a year by the end of 2012. It will also bolster the appeal of both region and cruise company in accommodating the ever-expanding worldwide meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market.
Abu Dhabi’s port, Mina Zayed, will serve as the primary point for the Italian operator’s maiden regional itinerary season between October 2011 and March 2012. Entry into the Arabian Gulf will see the 59,000-tonne MSC Lirica, which has a capacity to cater for almost 2200 guests in 784 cabins and suites, offer 19 eight-day/seven-night cruises.
These cruises will cover five contrasting destinations, ports of call being Dubai, Bahrain, Al Fujairah and its 17th Century fortress, and Muscat in Oman, one of the world’s great ports.
“MSC Lirica is a charming cruise ship which will operate 95 calls and 19 rotations in the region through this new positioning,” she said. “MSC Cruises’ presence will have a significant impact on the tourism industry of Abu Dhabi, and we are just as excited in Australia and New Zealand as everyone is on the other side of the world.”
Ms Clarke said establishing the Arabian Peninsula as a major port would be a boost to the Australian market, especially among cruise fans seeking shorter holidays closer to home.
“Quick and easy, with great prices,” she summed up. “Passengers will be able to either book a fly-cruise package for the seven nights or, if they wish, stay in the UAE before or after the cruise. It’s all about choice and catering to the wishes of our clients.
“We can also offer clients a great stopover package at amazing value before passengers fly onwards to Europe. Cruising along the Arabian Peninsula and the Mediterranean would offer a unique cruise holiday, vibrant and widely popular.”
MSC Cruises also notes the move to the region as a strategic bonus in meeting the growing demands of the international MICE market.
“The ship and the destination make an ideal couple in meeting this market,” said Ms Clarke. “A complete one-stop shop and a great option financially – without taking anything away from the experience,” she said. “With passengers staying in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the airline hubs, passengers will have plenty of time to explore the area, and come back to shipboard life when they choose.”
Before taking up its 2011-2012 posting in Abu Dhabi, MSC Lirica – it has a sophisticated and elegant decor with superb attention to detail, fine Italian and international cuisine and a dazzling array of entertainment and activities – will depart from Genoa in Italy, on October 14, 2011.
She will end the Arabian Gulf program on March 9, 2012 with a 23-day cruise from Abu Dhabi (also possible embarkation in Dubai) to Germany, the MSC Cruises’ fly-cruise package for this holiday starting at $3524 per person, twin share, including economy class return air fares with taxes from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
For the record, MSC Cruises is the world’s leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South African and Brazilian markets and has a modern fleet of 11 ships – MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia (both the largest ships ever built for a European ship owner’s fleet), MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, North America and Canada, South America, the Indian Ocean and South and West Africa. MSC Cruises is the only company in the world to receive the "6 Golden Pearls" award from the Bureau Veritas in recognition of its high level of quality management and environmental responsibility.
Source = MSC Cruises