Cruise Saudi, a 100% public investment fund-owned business seeking to develop Saudi Arabia’s cruise industry, and MSC Cruises have announced Red Sea cruises in the coming winter 2021/22 season.
Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director of Cruise Saudi (pictured, left), and Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman (pictured, right), signed a framework agreement in Riyadh to mark the beginning of the new partnership.
Under the terms of the agreement, ‘MSC Magnifica’ will homeport in Jeddah.
Operating seven-day Red Sea cruises from November, 2021 to March, 2022, she will visit three Saudi ports, including calls at AlWajh, the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of AlUla.
As the Kingdom prepares to host the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 on 5th December in Jeddah, ‘MSC Magnifica’ guests will have the chance to follow the event during her visit.
In addition, MSC Cruises’ flagship ‘MSC Virtuosa’ will add to her winter 2021 Arabian Gulf programme with calls at Dammam each week, to visit AlAhsa oasis, another UNESCO World Heritage site.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Farooqui said: “We are delighted to work with MSC Cruises and are keen to forge a long-term partnership. We look forward to exploring opportunities to increase the number and size of vessels operating on Saudi routes in the future.
“Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer visitors, and the new collaboration will open doors for intrepid travellers from across the globe to be amongst the first to experience the rich Saudi heritage and warm, hospitality. Meanwhile, through welcoming international tourists to these emerging destinations, it will create new sources of income for local communities,” he said.
Vago added: “Having witnessed at first-hand the richness of the local heritage, I am impressed with Saudi Arabia’s ability to preserve its traditions and culture and make them available for the world to see. I am delighted that MSC Cruises will be in a position to contribute to the Kingdom’s opening to international visitors through becoming a premier cruise destination and I look forward to helping tourists from all over the world as well as from the Kingdom discover the incredible wonders that this country has to offer, including the untouched beauty of its coast line and historical sites.”
The two companies said that they expect up to 170,000 guests to explore Saudi Arabia’s historical, cultural and natural treasures on board the two MSC Cruises ships during the forthcoming winter 2021/22 season.
Saudi residents will also get the opportunity to board the ships.