(CNN) — Saudi Arabia is to grow to be the leaping off level for a significant cruise line for the primary time later this 12 months with MSC Cruises working a brand new collection of voyages exploring the Crimson Sea.
The Switzerland-based line is partnering with Cruise Saudi, a Saudi-owned group that is working to advertise the nation as a cruise vacation spot.
MSC Cruises plans to homeport its MSC Magnifica ship within the historic metropolis of Jeddah.
From there, guests will embark on seven-day Crimson Sea cruises, stopping off at Aqaba for the spectacular historical metropolis of Petra in Jordan and calling on the port of Safaga, Egypt to see the traditional websites at Luxor. There may also be stopovers at two different Saudi ports, AlWajh and Yanbu.
The cruise route is scheduled to function from November 2021 to March 2022.
In the meantime, MSC Virtuosa — an as-yet-to-be-debuted ship slated to premier on MSC’s upcoming summer time UK staycation voyages — will sail across the Arabian Gulf, together with port calls on the Saudi Arabia metropolis of Dammam and the Al-Ahsa oasis world heritage web site.
Saudi Arabia has been trying to market itself as a global vacationer vacation spot lately in an try and diversify its oil-dependent economic system by 2030.
It is investing large sums in creating luxurious resorts and selling historic treasures, however will face challenges to draw guests who could beforehand have been dissuaded by the nation’s poor repute over human rights and conservative legal guidelines that limit the freedoms of ladies.
MSC Cruises is the primary main cruise line to arrange store in Saudi Arabia. Native vacationer cruise operator Crimson Sea Spirit launched Crimson Sea cruises in August 2020.
Future cruise plans
In an announcement, Cruise Saudi mentioned it was eager to make the settlement with MSC Cruises a “long-term partnership.”
“We look ahead to exploring alternatives to extend the quantity and dimension of vessels working on Saudi routes sooner or later,” mentioned Fawaz Farooqui, managing director of Cruise Saudi.
In the meantime MSC Cruises’ Pierfrancesco Vago mentioned in an announcement that the cruise line was attracted by “the richness of the native heritage.” Vago mentioned he hoped the voyages will appeal to vacationers from the world over, in addition to native guests from Saudi Arabia.
The worldwide cruise trade has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Cruising has tentatively recommenced in some markets — together with in Italy, through MSC Cruises and Costa Cruise Line — however stays at present out of motion in the USA.
In the meantime, a number of cruise traces are planning British home voyages this summer time, together with Disney, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Celeb Cruise Line and Cunard.
Some cruise traces — together with Royal Caribbean and Celeb — plan to restrict upcoming voyages to vaccinated passengers solely.
CNN Journey reached out to MSC Cruises to substantiate what Covid-19 security necessities will likely be in place on the Saudi Arabia voyages.