Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority has erected a new tented cruise terminal at Mina Zayed which is capable of simultaneously accommodating 1,300 passengers.
The facility, on the site of the former ADTA visitor information centre, has been designed to cater for the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 cruise seasons.
Build in conjunction with industry stakeholders Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) and Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), the terminal spans some 2,000 square metres and comprises two dedicated halls.
One hall contains a luggage-handling facility, the other a passenger centre complete with a waiting lounge, security section, prayer rooms, offices, visitor information centre, currency exchange as well as customs and immigration facilities.
The new terminal will open with a welcome ceremony for the 59,000 ton, luxurious MSC Lirica liner which will, from the end of this month, use Abu Dhabi as its home port as it embarks on 19, eight day/seven night cruises around the Arabian Gulf.
The MSC Lirica has a capacity for 2,199 guests in 784 cabins.
According to ADTA, the arrival of MSC Lirica – the first liner to homeport in the UAE capital - is expected to bring a significant boost to Abu Dhabi’s cruise traffic which is already being aided by increased deployment of larger capacity vessels by existing operators.
The new cruise terminal being built in Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi
The authority says home porting will also deliver greater knock-on benefits to the local economy with more returns from pre and post accommodation bookings, longer lengths of visitor stay and vessel provisioning.
ADTA has prioritised cruise tourism as one of its five 2011/2012 strategy pillars.
“Cruise shipping has enjoyed strong recession-proof growth for many years,” explained HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, ADTA.
“The market obviously ranges between low cost volume cruise business and very high end exclusive cruises – Abu Dhabi is targeting the higher end segment.”
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority was recently recognised by the World Travel Awards as the World’s Leading Tourist Board.
In line with its long-term cruise ambitions, ADTA is planning to construct a permanent, purpose-built cruise terminal at Mina Zayed.