LUXURY CRUISE SHIP MAKES DUBAI FIRST PORT OF CALL IN REGION
Crystal Symphony takes to the seas after refurbishment
Dubai has been chosen by Crystal Cruises as the location for the company’s flagship liner to make its maiden voyage in the region after an extensive refurbishment. Crystal Symphony’s month-long dry dock redesign is the most expansive in the ship’s history, reaffirming Crystal’s commitment to providing the most luxurious ocean experiences. The decision to make Dubai the location for the regional debut of the liner’s sophisticated new look further cements the Emirate’s position as the region’s leading cruise destination, and the location of choice for winter cruise tourists from around the world.
Despite Dubai’s cruise industry only really gaining momentum in 2001 with the opening of the first cruise terminal in the Gulf), the city has been instrumental in pioneering cruise tourism in the region, fast becoming a favored destination amongst the international cruise lines and cruise tourists. The emirate is now serving over 20 world-class cruise lines, including Crystal Cruises, the world’s most awarded cruise line.
Crystal’s flagship liner Crystal Symphony has emerged from a month’s sojourn at the dry dock at Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven, returning to the seas with newly designed spaces and state-of-the-art features and amenities. These include new dining concepts as well as the addition of spacious, butler-serviced Penthouse accommodations. Throughout the ship, state-of-the-art technological upgrades have been installed, enhancing guests’ connectivity and access to entertainment and news on demand.
Mr. Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Tourism, was present to welcome the liner to the region and commented: “We are delighted that Crystal Symphony will be making the regional debut of its redesign in Dubai. With the city fast developing into a leading cruise hub, Dubai Cruise Tourism’s goal is to position the emirate as a cruise tourism destination of choice. The continued investment is paying dividends, as we are seeing a steady increase in visitors opting to commence their international cruise itinerary in Dubai, and for pre, or post-cruise stays, in the city. Dubai’s unique position as one of the only winter sun cruise destinations, and the city’s unrivalled tourism offerings, also makes it an attractive option for all visitors including the high-end cruise tourists, travelling aboard the newly refurbished Crystal Symphony liner.”
DP World was also present to welcome Crystal Symphony on her maiden voyage to the region: “The choice of Dubai by Crystal Cruises reinforces the emirate’s reputation as one of the world’s leading cruise destinations. DP World is committed to providing all forms of support to cruise liners that call at Dubai’s cruise terminals, as part of our group’s comprehensive strategy to boost the growth of the emirate’s cruise industry and tourism sector at large.” said Mohammed Al Mannaei, CEO P&O Marinas and Executive Director Mina Rashid – DP World.
Crystal Symphony’s new look channels the ship’s iconic classic elegance, alongside modern and high-tech upgrades (particularly noticeable in the new staterooms and penthouses). In addition, Symphony’s guest capacity has been reduced from 922 to 848 guests resulting in an increase in the space-to-guest ratio of 64.7 percent, whilst the number of crew on board remains the same. Crystal has long led the industry in abundant space and number of crew per guest aboard its ships; the increase in passenger space within Crystal Symphony is largely due to the addition of the new and luxurious Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, and the resulting reduced guest capacity enhances the atmosphere of copious space in the newly refurbished public areas and dining venues.
Helen Beck, Vice President, International Sales and Marketing at Crystal Cruises, commented: “Crystal Symphony’s redesign provides guests with more choice and flexibility than ever before. Whilst we continue to be at the forefront of innovation in our industry, our focus will always be on the consistent quality and personal attention to detail and service that makes Crystal Cruises the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line. Dubai is a city with an unmatched reputation for luxury and guest experience, making it the perfect location to debut Crystal Symphony’s sophisticated and state-of-the-art redesign in the region.”
With year-round sunshine and an ever-evolving ‘must-visit’ destination proposition, Dubai is perfectly placed for its cruise tourism offering to become a major global attraction. The city is the winter home port for multiple international cruise lines operating regular international itineraries out of Dubai; 625,000 cruise tourists visited Dubai during the 2016/2017 season, reflecting an increase of over 15 percent when compared to the 2015/2016 season. Dubai’s cruise industry is also set for another strong performance during the recently launched 2017/2018 season.
DP World is currently upgrading Port Rashid to accommodate a larger number of cruise vessels. Port Rashid is currently the number one cruise terminal in the MENA region, in terms of traffic and infrastructure, according to international rankings, with a capacity to receive seven mega cruise vessels at the same time. Dubai Marine Terminal receives 650,000 cruise passengers annually, while the terminal’s facilities can handle 18,000 passengers per day. The growth trend is set to continue in the 2017-2018 season, with 155 cruise calls from more than 20 world-renowned cruise lines.
As part of DP World’s commitment to building Dubai’s cruise tourism capacities, the group has inaugurated a new Mina Rashid Marina project, called Marinas. It is expected to be a new tourist maritime and entertainment attraction, stretching over 13 square kilometers and featuring a number of facilities, including an integrated entertainment city, called Marina Cube. Set to be developed in phases, Marinas will eventually be capable of harboring 20,000 yachts over the next few years.