MSC Cruises has signed a long-term agreement with DP World for preferential berthing rights at Dubai’s Mina Rashid Port.
The contract was formally signed by the line’s CEO Gianni Onorato and Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannaei, CEO, P&O Marinas & Executive Director, Mina Rashid on board the ‘MSC Bellissima’ during her maiden call at Mina Rashid.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO, said: “This new agreement with DP World is a continuation of what has been a successful partnership and establishes a longer-term framework for our operations out of Dubai that provides our cruise ships with preferential berthing rights at the Mina Rashid cruise terminal.
“Our existing commitment to Dubai and the region is clearly demonstrated by ‘MSC Bellissima’s’ presence this season, the most modern, as well as one of most environmentally-advanced, cruise ships to sail in the Gulf. We will strengthen that bond further in winter 2020-21 when we deploy the highly-innovative ‘MSC Seaview’, a ship especially designed to operate in warmer weathers, to serve the region.
“I’m also extremely pleased to add that our extended partnership with DP World, a visionary organisation that has the same environmental outlook as we have at MSC Cruises, will see us both work actively together to further reduce the carbon footprint of ship operations,” he said.
Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannaei, CEO – P&O Marinas & Executive Director, Mina Rashid, added: “We warmly welcome MSC Cruises’ strategic decision to scale up their regional operations with Dubai as their base. It marks a new high in our long and mutually beneficial relationship. We’re particularly happy that a brand new vessel like ‘MSC Bellissima’, with its high green credentials, will be homeporting at Mina Rashid and spearheading MSC Cruises’ 2019-2020 winter cruise season. At Mina Rashid, we constantly invest in enhancing the services and support systems for today’s fleet of ultra-modern cruise vessels.
“The agreement with MSC Cruises for preferential berthing comes at a time when Mina Rashid has been experiencing double digit increase in tourist traffic. Key to this sterling performance is our flagship Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, the world’s single largest covered cruise facility capable of handling 14,000 passengers a day. DP World UAE Region supports the Dubai Tourism Strategy goal of achieving 20 mill tourists by 2020. MSC Cruises’ ambitions for the coming year is ideally placed to support this drive.”
This long-term agreement comes on the back of MSC Cruises’ forecast to handle in excess of 180,000 pax in Dubai this season, a figure that will progressively grow through the length of the new agreement, the company said.
‘MSC Bellissima’, which was launched in February this year, will make 17 calls and spend 35 days in Dubai during the winter season until March, 2020 and sail a range of seven-night itineraries in the Gulf.
MSC Cruises will also deploy ‘MSC Lirica’ in the Gulf for this winter season offering 11-night cruises, as well as 14-night cruises that include India.