Khalifa Bin Salman Port, Hidd, Bahrain. Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), operated by APM Terminals Bahrain marked the beginning of the 2018-19 Cruise Season as the first luxury ship of the year, Mein Schiff 4 recently docked at the port to a traditional Bahraini welcome. Hosting the cruise tourism since 2009, this year 128,900 cruise passengers are estimated to arrive in Bahrain between November 2018 – April 2019 on 52 cruise ships. This will be the highest on record in terms of passengers till date, which witnessed a 33% increase in the previous season, resulting in 105,271 cruise visitors and a 5% growth in vessel calls.
The 2018-19 cruise season is expected to attract more tourism business for Bahrain with some exciting new arrivals at Khalifa bin Salman Port. Four new cruise vessels, led by AIDAprima with its 3,300 passengers with 900 crew members, will be making its maiden call to the Kingdom with 18 scheduled trips planned for the season. This will be followed by MSC Lirica with eight trips and other vessels including the TUI Discovery and Thomson Celebration, also marking their debut in Bahrain.
Amongst the cruise vessels making their yearly call at KBSP, MSC Splendida will be returning to the Kingdom for the 2nd season, with six scheduled visits, each carrying approximately 3,900 passengers with a crew team of 1,313, making it the biggest vessel to call this season. Mein Schiff also has repeated calls at KBSP with its ten trips, each carrying 2800 passengers. The cruise season will also witness docking of two cruise ships on the same day, over certain weeks of the scheduled season.
APM Terminals Bahrain continues to make enhancements to its cruise facilities and areas adjacent to where passengers embark and disembark. The company has been working with various government agencies including the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), Ports and Maritime Affairs (PMA), Directorate of Customs Sea port, Sea Port Police, National Security Agencies (NSA) and Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA) for the new cruise season. As part of the collaboration, steps have been taken to speed up processes such as: pre-approved gate passes for entry into the port, port shuttles to transport passengers to the gate, increased capacity for free WiFi at the cruise terminal, allocated gates for tourist buses as well as booths for tour operators and taxi services at the passenger terminal.
Passengers are welcomed with traditional Bahraini hospitality and cultural experience that includes Bahraini music along with falcon show at the BTEA-hosted tent.
Mark Hardiman, CEO/Managing Director of APM Terminals Bahrain commented, “Bahrain continues to be a popular destination and amongst the top cruise destinations for luxury ships touring the GCC. With new cruise tourism coming to Bahrain this year and a majority of other cruise lines also returning for yet another season, we’re expecting this to be a record year for us as we are looking forward to welcoming 10% more passengers than last year, which will be a significant contribution to our business at the Port, as well as Bahrain’s tourism economy.”
© Press Release 2018