Queen Mary 2 to make debut UAE call
Abu Dhabi, January 22, 2013
The Dh3.2billion ($880 million) Queen Mary 2 – the most expensive ocean liner ever built and the luxury flagship of the Cunard Line - will make her maiden Abu Dhabi call at the Mina Zayed cruise terminal later this month.
The cruise liner - built in 2004 to replace the illustrious Queen Elizabeth 2 – will spend the day in Mina Zayed before sailing for Cochin in India.
The liner boasts of 1,310 staterooms and suites – 955 with balconies – and a multitude of luxury touches including a six-storey grand lobby piano atrium, a 1,000+ seat theatre, Canyon Ranch SpaClub, a cinema and auditorium that includes the only planetarium on the sea, and 15 restaurants and bars.
Queen Mary 2 will arrive in Abu Dhabi on January 29 carrying 2,620 passengers with tourism officials hailing the debut as a significant boost towards the city’s ambitions of receiving 180,000 passengers in the current cruise season and to attain a 39 per cent increase in the 2014/2015 season.
“To attract a cruise liner of this calibre is a tremendous endorsement of Abu Dhabi’s rising status as a global cruise destination and solid sector partner,” remarked Noura Al Dhaheri, leisure product development manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
“Cunard has a reputation of selecting only the very best destinations for their world cruises, and we believe its confidence in our destination will act as a catalyst for other lines to consider adding Abu Dhabi to their itineraries, further propelling our cruise credentials,” she noted.
Queen Mary 2 will call at Abu Dhabi as part of her 2013 World Voyage, a 106-day odyssey from Southampton in the UK, calling via the Mediterranean and the Red Sea then heading out across the Indian Ocean to the Far East & China, Australia, New Zealand and Mauritius to South Africa, before returning to Southampton prior to embarking on the itinerary’s transatlantic leg.
”It has taken over three years of delicate negotiations to secure the inclusion of Abu Dhabi on Queen Mary 2’s World Voyage itinerary,” revealed George Varghese, from Rais Hassan Saadi Group, Cunard’s port handling agent.
“She is the pinnacle of ocean liner travel, with guests demanding the very best on-board service matched with equally high standards in shoreline excursion opportunities. Abu Dhabi has proven itself as equal to that task,” he added.
Abu Dhabi’s heritage attractions are expected to resonate well with Queen Mary 2 passengers.
“Historically speaking, Cunarders have always evinced keen interest in the history and culture of a region, therefore, we expect high levels of participation on tours, especially those going to Abu Dhabi’s heritage city of Al Ain and the UAE capital’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,” said AR Gori, the senior general manager of Orient Tours, Cunard’s shore excursion agent.
“Early booking trends also indicate that the superb new developments on Saadiyat Island and Yas Island are attracting their due share of attention. All in all, we are looking forward to an exciting day in Abu Dhabi with happy and satisfied guests,” he added.
Under the command of the Cunard fleet Commodore, Christopher Rynd, passengers aboard the 345m, 150,000 tonne liner will enjoy the heritage and service of an ocean going liner from a bygone era.
Welcoming the liner’s arrival, Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, the executive VP, Ports Unit, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) said, “This clearly underlines the commitment ADPC has towards developing its cruise liner capacity and offerings, from Mina Zayed, while demonstrating the fact that quality cruise liners are increasingly recognising the advantages, to their passengers, of having Abu Dhabi as a key destination.”-TradeArabia News Service