Luxury cruise liner to dock in Bahrain
Manama, February 26, 2013
One of the world's most luxurious cruise liners carrying more than 800 passengers will dock in Bahrain today, a report said.
The Fred Olsen Cruise Lines operated M V Black Watch is due to pull into the Khalifa Bin Salman Port this morning, according to the report published in our sister newspaper the Gulf Daily News.
A spokesman for Al Sharif Shipping, which is the local agent, said it set off from Cape Town, South Africa, and had stopped at Male, Mumbai and Kochi among other destinations in the Indian Ocean.
"From Bahrain, it will proceed to Dubai and other Gulf ports before finishing the voyage in Malta," he said.
The ship will remain in port for several hours, allowing passengers a chance to experience Bahrain, before setting off on the next leg of its journey.
"We are very excited at the Black Watch coming to Bahrain as part of the cruise season," the spokesman said. "The mostly European tourists will bring to Bahrain the best of premium class travellers, a great value addition for the country."
Nearly 50,000 cruise tourists have visited Bahrain since the season started in November, ploughing an estimated BD2.2 million ($5.8 million) into the economy.
Twenty-six vessels, carrying mostly German passengers, have already docked at the Khalifa Bin Salman Port and another 16 are expected before the season ends in March.
Around 2,000 passengers are brought to Bahrain on each visit, taking part in tours of the country's historical sites including the Bahrain Fort, Manama Suq, Beit Al Quran, the Bahrain International Circuit, Arad Fort and Bahrain National Museum.
Hikes across the desert taking in the Tree of Life have also proved popular, according to ground tour organisers.
Tourists have also been cycling around the country.
Among the vessels docking in Bahrain are the Mein Schiff 2, which will make 20 calls, the Aida Blu 13 and the MS Astor, Fred Olsen Cruises and Clipper Odyssey one each.
It was earlier feared the cruise industry could be crippled by increasing costs of insuring vessels that dock in Bahrain due to the unrest.
However, a raft of incentives was introduced to offset the higher insurance premiums facing operators.
Bahrain's cruise industry, which once boasted 50 visits by major cruise liners, had been hit hard by political turmoil since February 2011.
Only 29 of the scheduled 50 port calls by various liners were made to Bahrain in the 2010-2011 season, which was abruptly suspended because of protests - resulting in a loss of nearly 50,000 tourists.
Every vessel that berths in Bahrain is estimated to be worth around $300,000 to the economy. – TradeArabia News Service