Three cruise ships, including the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vessel, have arrived at the Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), carrying more than 11,000 tourists.

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) announced the arrival of the cruise ships and also noted that “tens of cruise ships” are scheduled to arrive at the port during the ongoing cruise season.

“We are delighted to welcome a new batch of cruise ships and greet thousands of tourists who have chosen Bahrain to be part of their regional cruise itinerary,” added BTEA chief executive Dr Nasser Qaedi.

“The cruise industry adds significant value to the tourism sector as one of the tourism strategy’s main pillars, benefiting entertainment, shopping centres, hospitality, hotels, and many other industries.”


The MSC World Europa cruise ship arrived at KBSP carrying 6,000 tourists from France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK.

“With 19 ships in its fleet, MSC Cruises has one of the most modern cruise fleets in the world,” the BTEA added, in a statement.

“An Italian shipping company founded it in 1970. It boasts onboard experience as well as a diverse range of facilities such as Balinese spas, adult-only pools, and 4D cinemas. Its fleet ships can carry between 1,984 and 6,300 passengers at a time.

“It provides passengers with live entertainment in the form of evening concerts, parties and contests, and live shows. The latest addition to the fleet, MSC World Europa, was launched in November 2021.

“The MSC World Europa is the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ship.”

Meanwhile, AIDAcosmo, setting sail from Germany, arrived at KBSP with a capacity of more than 5,000 passengers of various nationalities.

With 1,252 crew members, the AIDAcosma is one of the largest cruise ships within the AIDA fleet.

The American cruise ship The World also arrived, carrying 148 tourists and 285 crew members of multiple nationalities.

“We are confident that the cruise industry will foster tourism revenues, furthering the kingdom’s position as a popular tourism destination in the region for more European tourists and other nationalities looking to explore Bahrain’s culture and the Arab Gulf’s rich heritage of old history and civilisation through massive cruise trips, and we wish all cruise passengers a pleasant stay in the kingdom,” Dr Qaedi added.

After a two-year hiatus, the current cruise season started in November and will run until May 2023. This marks 11 years since the cruise industry first launched in Bahrain.

The cruise season is a key tenet of the Tourism Strategy 2022–2026, which was recently reviewed, shoring a 31 per cent increase in tourism traffic in the third quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

Tourism key performance indicators (KPIs) across the board, including average tourist nights, average visitor spending, total inbound tourism expenditures, and the number of visitors coming to the kingdom have improved, primarily as Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed around the world.

In addition, the BTEA and the Tourism Ministry have spearheaded the launch of multiple tourism packages, targeting various types of tourists, and signed partnerships with several organisations.


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