Jeddah/Yanbu, Saudi Arabia: Cruise Saudi, Jeddah Islamic Port and Yanbu Commercial Port welcomed MSC Splendida for its inaugural visit to Saudi ports, as part of Cruise Saudi’s third cruise season which runs from November 2022 until May 2023.
Following global cruise traditions to celebrate a ship’s inauguration visit to a port, plaque and key exchange ceremonies were held. The first was at Jeddah Islamic Port on Wednesday, November 23, in the presence of MSC Splendida’s captain, Chief Legal and Governmental Affairs Officer at Cruise Saudi, Dr. Hani Gharbawi, and officials from The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani); and the second was held at Yanbu Commercial Port on Thursday, November 24. Throughout this season, the ship will make weekly calls at both Jeddah and Yanbu Ports, on 3, 4 and 7-day cruise itineraries, which also include Egypt and Jordan.
The visits are in line with Cruise Saudi and Mawani’s goals to establish a fully integrated, world-class cruise industry in Saudi – an additional arm to the country’s flourishing tourism industry – and to transform the country into a premier global cruise destination. This season marks Cruise Saudi’s third official season and will welcome 75+ scheduled calls from ships from five global cruise lines.
With a capacity of 4,300 passengers and 1,000+ crew members, MSC Splendida has a myriad of activities and facilities available for guests including four swimming pools, a jogging track, a squash court and gym as well as the MSC Aurea Spa and a sun deck which offers stunning views of the sea.
Dr. Hani Gharbawi commented on the arrival of the ship: “We are pleased to welcome MSC Splendida to Saudi – the fourth ship from MSC Cruises to sail Saudi waters since Cruise Saudi launched the industry less than two years ago. We look forward to welcoming more renowned global cruise ships and passengers to discover and experience Saudi – the newest player in the cruising arena – by land and sea as part of our newly launched season. The country’s breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and historical wonders make it a must-visit destination for travelers – and we are proud to open a new gateway to share Saudi’s story with the rest of the world.”
Cruise Saudi previously welcomed three other MSC cruise ships to sail Saudi waters: MSC Orchestra kicked off the winter season last week, MSC Virtuosa visited earlier this year and MSC Bellissima was the first ship to homeport from Jeddah Islamic Port’s cruise terminal in July 2021.
In addition to MSC Splendida, the following ships are scheduled to call at Saudi ports during the ongoing season: MSC Orchestra, MSC Sinfonia, Silversea Silver Spirit, Residences at Sea’s The World, Viking Neptune, Silversea Silver Cloud and Fred. Olsen Bolette.
Since its launch in January 2021, Cruise Saudi – in conjunction with Mawani and other local and governmental entities – has equipped three ports in Saudi (Jeddah, Yanbu, and Dammam) with the required infrastructure to receive cruise ships. The company has operated two successful seasons in 2021/2022 and welcomed 50,000+ local and international passengers (from 80+ nationalities), ships from four global cruise lines that conducted 70+ sailings.
About Cruise Saudi
Cruise Saudi is based in Jeddah, formed to develop the infrastructure and services required to scale a full-suite cruise market along the Saudi coastline. The company, a 100% Public Investment Fund-owned business, is responsible for the port development at key Saudi destinations as well as scaling cruise services, from marketing to Shorex coordination and vessel operations. Cruise Saudi works hand in hand with ministries and regulatory authorities to build the offshore and onshore cruise ecosystem with the aim of positioning Saudi as a premier global cruise destination.
Saudi’s coastline is the nexus between classic Mediterranean destinations and a multitude of Indian Ocean hotspots, offering a pristine maritime route for cruisegoers from around the world. Located a mere three-hour flight from 250 million people in Europe, Asia, and Africa, Cruise Saudi’s ports and routes along the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf will provide an ideal base for cruise passengers to discover the authentic treasures of Arabia and beyond. Cruise Saudi seeks to create 50,000 jobs in the cruise industry in Saudi by 2035.