Top cruise ship skips final dock at Bahrain
Manama, March 7, 2012
Bahrain's cruise season is effectively over following the cancellation of the final cruise ship visit scheduled for next Wednesday, sources said.
The Aida Blu was the only cruise ship visiting Bahrain since the start of the season on December 14.
It was making weekly visits every Wednesday, but last docked at the Khalifa Bin Salman Port on February 1.
The vessel's scheduled visits on February 8, 15, 22, 29 and today have all been called off as a result of security concerns and massive insurance premiums.
It is also expected that next Wednesday's visit, which is the last on the cruise season calendar, will not go ahead.
Aida's Bahrain agent is the Al Sharif Group and the company's assistant shipping manager Hassan Al Sharif confirmed today's visit had been called off.
However, he said it was too early to write off next week's cruise.
"If the last one is cancelled as well (next Wednesday), we would only be officially informed a couple of days in advance," he explained.
He previously said German cruise company Aida had been given assurances that Bahrain was safe for tourists, but the company was following advice of its security advisers and consultants.
The Aida Blu has made eight visits to Bahrain since the cruise season started, bringing in more than 20,000 tourists and 5,000 crew members.
This compares with 50 port calls by major cruise operators in the cruise season from November 2009 to April 2010.
There were 29 cruise ship visits between November 2010 and February last year, when anti-government protests brought the season to an early finish. Costa Cruises, which had scheduled 30 visits this year, skipped Bahrain altogether and opted for Khasab in Oman instead.
Every vessel that berths in Bahrain could be worth around $300,000 to the economy, according to the company Seatrade Middle East. – TradeArabia News Service