Bad weather hits Dubai cruise departure
Dubai, January 24, 2012
The departure of two luxury cruise ships with about 4000 passengers from Dubai has been delayed due to adverse weather conditions across the UAE, said Dubai tourism officials.
Both ships were unable to sail out of the Dubai Cruise Terminal in the Port Rashid complex as scheduled on January 21, in the afternoon and were required to spend additional days in Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said in a statement.
The UAE has been witnessing extremely chilly conditions during the past few days. But the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) predicted weather conditions will be back to normal in the next two/three days.
Temperatures across the UAE have been the lowest so far this year due to the cold north-westerly winds.
Met officials warned that winds will be strong and the sea is likely to be rough to very rough with around three metre waves offshore.
The weather is expected to return to normal again in time of arrival for the four passenger cruise ships on Friday, they added.
DTCM, which manage and operate Dubai Cruise Terminals, took swift action to keep the facilities open and liaised with all related government departments and stakeholders to ensure uninterrupted services were provided to passengers and crew to go onshore and explore the city and its tourist attractions.
Hamad bin Mejren, DTCM executive director (Business Tourism), said the unforeseen bad weather conditions, caused by strong winds and rough seas, resulted in the delayed departures of the cruise ships, Costa Favolosa and MSC Lirica with 2788 and 1293 passengers on board, respectively.
'Brilliance of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International with 2050 passengers and Oriana, operated by P&O Cruises, with 1931 passengers on board arrived as scheduled in Dubai and were accommodated along with the Costa Favolosa and MSC Lirica which were already extending their stays in port on January 22.
Costa Favolosa sailed out of the port on January 22 evening and is scheduled to continue on its seven-nights Gulf itinerary with probably some time delays.
MSC Lirica however skipped the call to Abu Dhabi and departed only on Monday, January 23, morning. The weekly passenger turn around which is done from Abu Dhabi was operated from Dubai instead. Full support was provided by DTCM to ensure operations were carried out smoothly.
'The effective management by DTCM and its partners of the force majeure situation were highly appreciated by the cruise lines,' said bin Mejren.
Dubai Cruise Terminal will once again see a line-up of four cruise ships – Aidablu, Costa Favolosa, MSC Lirica and Arcadia – on January 27.
Aidablu operated by Aida Cruises, Germany and Costa Favalosa operated by Costa Crociere, Italy have Dubai as their home port and operate weekly itineraries in the Arabian Gulf.
MSC Lirica also operates weekly cruises into the Arabian Gulf whereas Aracadia from P&O Cruises U.K is on its World Cruise with a day call in Dubai. Between the four ships the Dubai Cruise Terminal is expected to handle over 15000 passengers.
Dubai’s capacity to handle four to five ships simultaneously has been a vantage point and has been a factor in its growth in cruise tourism.
Passenger figures have quadrupled over the last five years and DTCM expect ship calls and cruise passenger numbers to increase to 135 ships with 475,000 passengers in 2012; 150 ships with 525 passengers in 2013; 165 ships with 575,000 passengers in 2014, and 180 ships with 625,000 passengers in 2015.-TradeArabia News Service