A Saudi-based investment firm has a deal with MSC Cruises to base a ship in Saudi Arabia in Q4 2021
Cruise Saudi, an investment fund-owned business, was set up earlier this year to develop the country’s cruise industry and to find alternative revenue sources other than oil.
The line plans to base MSC Magnifica in Jeddah and MSC Virtuosa in Dubai. The companies believe about 170,000 passengers will sail on the Saudi-based ships once the programme begins later this year.
MSC Magnifica will offer seven-day Red Sea cruises between November 2021 and March 2022, visiting three Saudi ports – including AlWajh.
MSC Virtuosa’s Arabian Gulf programme will run from December 2021 to March 2022. Sailings will include calls to port city Dammam on Saudi Arabia’s east coast.
Fawaz Farooqui (pictured left), managing director of Cruise Saudi, said: “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, by welcoming international tourists to these emerging destinations, it will create new sources of income for local communities.”
Pierfrancesco Vago (pictured right), MSC’s executive chairman, said: “I’m impressed with Saudi Arabia’s ability to preserve its traditions and culture and make them available for the world to see.
“I’m 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.”