Countdown to Brilliance of the Seas’ arrival begins in Gulf region


Dubai, UAE – With just 138 days to go until Royal Caribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas arrives at her new home in Dubai, the countdown campaign in anticipation of her arrival launched yesterday.

All the Gulf region’s ports are gearing themselves up for the arrival of Brilliance of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International – the world’s largest global and most innovative cruise company.

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The ship is first scheduled to dock in its home port of Dubai on January 18th, 2010 followed by calls to Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, marking Royal Caribbean International’s official entry into the Middle Eastern market. With only 138 days to go, the countdown to Brilliance of the Seas arrival has begun.

Due to the huge increase in expected passenger traffic, all of the ports are making provisions to ensure suitable facilities are in place to handle the increase in visitor numbers.

Hamad M Bin Mejren, Executive Director, Business Tourism, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce MarketingDubai Department of Tourism and Commerce MarketingDepartment of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
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, said: “The façade of the new Dubai Cruise Terminal building is based upon the emirate’s contemporary Arabic design. The main purpose is to reflect Dubai’s rich heritage as a maritime centre, present a strong positive image of UAE hospitality, and to express the importance of Dubai as an international tourist destination.”

The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce (DTCM)Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce (DTCM)Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
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, which manages the Cruise Terminal, predicts that the overall number of cruise liner passengers in the Emirate, both inbound and outbound, will reach over 260,000 this year; and next year Dubai expects a further 99 ships carrying over 383,000 passengers.

“To emphasize the importance of the Cruise Terminal in Dubai, special attention will be given to the exterior and interior of the terminal,” added Bin Mejren. “Traditional domes, arches and carvings are the major architectural elements that will constitute the exterior facades. The New Cruise Terminal spanning an area of 3,800 square metres is designed to have the capacity to handle more than three to four ships simultaneously. It is expected to be operational by January 2010 and until then a temporary set-up will be made to cater to the needs of the Cruise Ships calling in at Dubai from September 2009. It goes without saying that the temporary set-up will reproduce all the facilities that were available in the old cruise terminal and will not be reprehensible.”

After leaving Dubai, Brilliance of the Seas will head to Muscat and Fujairah before docking in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital. The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which manages the Emirate’s tourism industry, expects nearly 200,000 arrivals in the Abu Dhabi port next season, which runs from the end of November 2009 to the beginning of May 2010, compared to 125,000 in the same period this last year.

“We eagerly await the New Year arrival of Brilliance of the Seas and are currently planning a special red carpet welcome for its guests and crew,” remarked Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General, ADTAADTA. “The manner in which we receive these valued visitors will reflect the warmth of hospitality for which Abu Dhabi is known and will give these welcome travellers a taste of the rich heritage of this emirate of distinction.

“We recognise inclusion of Abu Dhabi in the Brilliance of the Seas itinerary as a major step forward in our strategy to develop inbound cruise tourism and a great opportunity to promote the emirate to an audience which meets our high-end visitor profile.”

Cruise passenger arrivals in Abu Dhabi in the 2009-10 season are predicted to rise by almost 60%.

Khalid Al Zadjali, Acting Director of Tourism Events, Oman Ministry of Tourism, stated: “The number of ships docking in Oman in 2010 will increase by 40 percent compared to 2009. The arrival of Brilliance of the Seas and the engagement of Royal Caribbean International in the region will add a new dimension to the tourism industry in Oman. Muscat port has invested in the cruise industry by building a brand new cruise terminal, which will be open at the end of this year. This terminal will surpass international standards and we are confident it will become an impressive new gateway for the future of tourism in the country.”

In the kingdom of Bahrain Tourism is a significant part of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) currently representing 12 percent of total income.

“This is a figure that is expected to rise to 25 percent over the next 10 years, said Essa Hassani, Senior Marketing Specialist of the Ministry of Information Tourism Sector. “Cruising will be a major contributor. Currently we have three cruise ships a week docking in the Kingdom, representing 120,000 passengers a year. With global cruise lines like Royal Caribbean International coming to the region, we hope to double the passenger numbers in the next two years.”

Commenting on behalf of Royal Caribbean International, its Regional Sales Director, International Representatives, EMEA, Helen Beck said: “Bookings for our Brilliance of the Seas sailings are performing well and are currently 8% ahead of our projections, with more than 70% coming from the UK, followed by the USA and Germany. We are seeing good levels of interest from the Middle East markets and expect bookings to start coming in soon. Having Brilliance of the Seas sailing in the Gulf region gives us a wonderful opportunity to show off this beautiful ship to our prospective Middle Eastern guests and have them experience a taste of what cruising is all about.”

She added: “We’re very lucky to be working so closely with the regions’ ports and all of them have shown tremendous support to the growth of the cruise industry in the respective markets. The upgrading of their ports means Royal Caribbean International will be able to provide its future guests with a truly first class experience from beginning to end.”