Cruise Saudi has signed a deal with MSC Cruises which will see the launch of Red Sea cruises this winter.
Fawaz Farooqui, managing director of Cruise Saudi, and Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, signed a framework agreement in the Saudi capital city Riyadh to mark the beginning of the new partnership.
Cruise Saudi is a 100 per cent Public Investment Fund-owned business that seeks to develop the domestic cruise industry.
Under the terms of the agreement, MSC Magnifica will homeport in Jeddah, the commercial hub and one of the largest cities of Saudi Arabia.
Operating seven-day Red Sea cruises from November to March next year, the vessel will visit a selection of ports and destinations in the region and three Saudi ports including weekly calls to the port of Al Wajh, the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alula.
As the Kingdom prepares to host the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 on December 5th in Jeddah, MSC Magnifica guests will have the chance to follow this exciting global sports event during their trip aboard MSC Magnifica.
In addition to MSC Magnifica’s Red Sea sailings, MSC Cruises’ flagship MSC Virtuosa will see her winter 2021 programme in the Arabian Gulf enriched with calls in the port of Dammam, visiting Al Ahsa oasis, another UNESCO World Heritage site.
MSC Virtuosa will call at this new destination every week from December to March.
Speaking on the signing of the agreement, Farooqui said: “We are delighted to work with MSC Cruises and are keen to forge a long-term partnership.
“We look forward to exploring opportunities to increase the number and size of vessels operating on Saudi routes in the future.
“Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer visitors, and the new collaboration will open doors for intrepid travellers from across the globe to be amongst the first to experience the rich Saudi heritage and warm, hospitality.
“Meanwhile, through welcoming international tourists to these emerging destinations, it will create new sources of income for local communities.”
The two companies expect a total of up to 170,000 guests to take a trip over the winter.