Top cruise ship set for 1st Abu Dhabi call
Abu Dhabi, November 8, 2012
Mein Schiff 2, the wellness flagship of Germany’s TUI Cruises will make its maiden arrival into Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed port today – the first of 20 calls to the UAE capital this cruise season.
The passengers of the 956 cabin vessel will arrive to a traditional Abu Dhabi welcome featuring Ayalah dancers, falconry, regional food, traditional coffee, and demonstrations of local craft with the visit being marked by a formal Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) on-board welcome and plaque exchange ceremony.
Mein Schiff 2will deliver 40,000 passengers to Abu Dhabi in its weekly overnight calls at Mina Zayed cruise terminal, spending the following full day in port before departing for Bahrain on its seven-day ‘Dubai and the Orient’ tours of the Arabian Gulf.
“Abu Dhabi is now an essential port-of-call on any meaningful Arabian Gulf cruise: The emirate’s increasing number of headline attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Emirates Palace hotel provide our guests a very specific mix of tradition and modernity,” says Richard J Vogel, chief executive of TUI Cruises.
Passengers aboard the 77,000 tonne vessel have the choice of 18 different shore excursions to explore Abu Dhabi’s diversity, including afternoon tea or evening dinner at the Emirates Palace – one of the world’s most opulent hotels or a city tour calling at the cultural experiences of the Manarat al Saadiyat and the UAE Pavilion exhibition centres on Saadiyat Island; a visit to Ferrari World, the world’s first Ferrari theme park; and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – the UAE’s most imposing and religious national landmark.
“The timing of this maiden arrival could not be better, as within minutes of disembarking, passengers can easily reach Saadiyat Island - Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub just a short drive from Mina Zayed Port - and be immersed in Abu Dhabi Art, the emirate’s annual showcase of modern and contemporary art and design,” said Noura Al Dhaheri, Leisure Product Development manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.
TUI Cruises, the leading German cruise operator and the first to offer a Premium All-Inclusive cruise concept, last year invested Dh257 million ($70 million) refitting Mein Schiff 2to offer a luxury, all-inclusive contemporary cruise experience for well-travelled, discerning passengers seeking relaxation and well-being.
Almost half of the ship’s cabins feature balconies, and onboard facilities, spread over 13 decks - include eight restaurants, a two-deck Spa which offers invigorating Thalasso treatments, and two outdoor pools with over 14,000 sq m of sundeck.
Mein Schiff 2’s passengers are largely from German-speaking countries, boasting the potential for Abu Dhabi from the Federal Republic which now ranks as the emirate’s fourth largest source market for hotel guests.
Some 66,755Germans stayed in the emirate’s hotels in the first nine months of this year– up 46 percent over the same period last year.TCA Abu Dhabi’s promotion office in Frankfurt ensures the emirate has a strong presence in Germany, from where, with the Etihad Airways, Lufthansa and Air Berlin services to Abu Dhabi International Airport, there are several daily flights options to the UAE capital.
TUI Cruises is a joint venture between TUI GmbH, Hamburg and US cruise line Royal Caribbean Cruises, whose own fully revitalised liner Serenade of the Seas is making the first of 17 calls to Abu Dhabi in February 2013.
Abu Dhabi is expected to see 88 vessels, with some 180,000 passengers, call at Mina Zayed by the current season end in April 2013, a 19 per cent increase over the last season. – TradeArabia News Service