MSC Cruises has signed a five-year preferential berthing rights agreement with the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah.
This announcement was made in Jeddah on the occasion of ’MSC Bellissima’s’ opening of Jeddah’s new passenger terminal.
The new cruise terminal will handle MSC passengers on the inaugural Red Sea season of three- and four-night cruises from Jeddah to both Egypt and Jordan operating until the end of October.
‘MSC Bellissima’ will sail on 21 Red Sea cruises from Jeddah calling at Safaga for Luxor, Egypt or Aqaba for Petra, Jordan.
These summer sailings will add to MSC Cruises’ previously announced winter 2021/22 Red Sea voyages from Jeddah starting in November.
‘MSC Virtuosa’ delivered this year will also make her debut in Saudi Arabia this winter with calls at Dammam in the Arabian Gulf.
MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago (pictured left), said: “This is a very special, historic day for all of us. The largest and most modern cruise ship to operate in the Red Sea has set sail from Jeddah’s new terminal to mark a new beginning for cruising in Saudi Arabia and, more broadly, for its growing tourism industry.
“We can now allow our global guest base to come and experience our unique itineraries in this beautiful country with its historic UNESCO World Heritage sites and pristine shores.
“And with the new agreement in place, together with Cruise Saudi we will work in unison to develop this very special aspect of Saudi Arabia’s determined and sustainable growth in tourism which mirrors exactly our own strategy and ambition.
“We will work together in attracting guests from all corners of the world as well as local markets for a Red Sea and Arabian Gulf holiday like no other on board our modern and environmentally high performing vessels,” he said.
Mark Robinson, Cruise Saudi’s Chief Operations and Commercial Officer, added: “The remit of Cruise Saudi; to create 50,000 jobs by 2025, to facilitate the building of an additional five ports, with Jeddah as a homeport, and to welcome 1.5 mill annual passenger visits by 2028; is an ambitious one, which will play a major part in strengthening the tourism industry in Saudi Arabia.
“It is a vision that we would not be able to accomplish were it not for our trusted business partners such as MSC,” he said.