Saudi Arabia - Yanbu Commercial Port has officially kickstarted the third edition of the Saudi cruise season by berthing MSC Splendida, which arrived from Jeddah Islamic Port, thereby marking the maiden cruise call for the current season that will run until May 2023, reported SPA.
To celebrate the start of the new season, a crest exchange ceremony was held at Jeddah and Yanbu onboard the 4,300-passenger luxury liner, which is scheduled to make weekly trips from Jeddah Islamic Port as part of its itinerary that covers both the Red Sea hubs given their stature as fast-emerging cruise tourism destinations in the region besides Egypt and Jordan, stated the report.
The influx of cruise ships into the kingdom’s waters follows the strategic efforts of the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) to attract high vessel traffic and offer top tier services.
This comes as part of the kingdom's national transport and logistics strategy which aims to bolster the local economy, foster the growth of tourism sector, improve the overall quality of life, and enrich the local entertainment and sports scene with competitive offerings.
Mawani said the kingdom's ports were well-equipped to receive cruise vessels thanks to its state-of-the-art infrastructure and operational capabilities, which also makes it a preferred investment hotspot for the global maritime industry.
The unprecedented growth in cruise capacity aligns well with the ambitions of Cruise Saudi, a Public Investment Fund-owned business that oversees the development of the local cruise ecosystem, to position the kingdom as a premier global cruise destination.
The third season is expected to welcome over 75 calls from international cruise lines at both Yanbu and Jeddah ports, it stated.
The national maritime regulator and Cruise Saudi have worked in tandem with public and private sector partners to build and refurbish three berths and passenger terminals at Jeddah Islamic Port, Yanbu Commercial Port, and Dammam’s King Abdulaziz Port to homeport and receive cruise ships besides ensuring a smooth and seamless passenger turnaround through faster processing, reported SPA.
Saudi ports have hosted more than 50,000 passengers hailing from 80 countries aboard more than 70 cruise liners during the past two seasons, it added.
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