Royal Caribbean International, the largest global cruise line, today announced its return to the Gulf in winter 2015-16. The fifth seasonal sailings will comprise 16 roundtrip sailings from December 2015 through March 2016, visiting some of the Arabian coast’s most intriguing destinations on a seven-night itinerary. Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas is scheduled to dock in its home port of Dubai, UAE followed by calls to Oman’s capital of Muscat and Khasab along with Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.
“Following on from positive and collaborative discussions with our key partners in the region, we are pleased to announce our return to cruising in the Arabian Gulf for the winter of 2015 / 2016. We are looking forward to deploying Splendour of the Seas, one of our Vision-class vessels to the region for the first time and to welcoming guests from all over the world. I would like to express our thanks to the cruise tourism officials from the DTCM, TCA Abu Dhabi and Oman’s Ministry of Tourism for their support and congratulate them on the formation of the Cruise Arabia alliance. This is a welcome step in continuing to promote the economic and touristic benefits of cruising and I’m sure the season will be very successful,” said Helen Beck, Regional Director, International Representatives, EMEA, Royal Caribbean International.
The Centrum onboard Splendour of the Seas with its sweeping views and central location is a chic and sophisticated venue featuring enriching daytime activities, dazzling nightly entertainment and jaw-dropping aerial spectacles. The Centrum’s R Bar features a sophisticated 1960s vibe, complete with iconic furnishings and signature cocktails mixed by a savvy and personable mixologist. Bringing the Centrum’s entertainment offerings to life is the latest in sound and light technology. During the entertainment, which takes place throughout the cruise, the soaring space comes alive with a series of aerial acrobatic vignettes blurring the lines between choreography and technology.
Guests sailing aboard Splendour of the Seas have a variety of restaurants, both fine-dining and casual, to choose from providing them with an exceptional and customizable vacation experience. Among the highly-acclaimed dining concepts onboard Splendour of the Seas, guests will find the Asian Izumi restaurant; the line’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille; as well as the Boardwalk Dog House hotdog counter; the Park Café deli-style restaurant and the exclusive Chef’s Table dining experience. The line also offers a à la carte menu in the Viking Crown Lounge, which giving guests the opportunity to enjoy bite-sized portions of their favorite classics.
Younger cruisers will laugh and learn in scheduled activities throughout the day in the line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program. Teens 12 and older can enjoy spending time with peers in the teen-only hangout and disco, and join enrichment classes such as mixing music like a DJ or learning hip-hop dance moves. Throughout the day, youth program activities are always led and supervised by Royal Caribbean’s exceptional, energetic and college educated youth program counselors.
Splendour of the Seas will add more than 32,000 guests in her first four-month season to the region’s burgeoning cruise sector and the new sailings will be going on sale as of 10 April 2014. All the Gulf region’s ports are gearing themselves up for the arrival of Splendour of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International.
Hamad M Bin Mejren, Executive Director, Business Tourism, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, stated: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Royal Caribbean International back to the Gulf with Dubai as its home port for the 2015-2016 season. The return of Royal Caribbean comes at an opportune time, with Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Oman’s Ministry of Tourism and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority all working together to transform the Gulf into a leading cruise destination globally. Cruise is going to play an increasingly important role in Dubai’s tourism sector in the future. Almost one year ago, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, endorsed Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020: to double the number of tourists coming to Dubai to 20 million by 2020. Much of its success will depend on evolving our tourism offer. We already have world-class infrastructure, continuous investment from the government and an unrivalled destination offering. With the further development of our cruise industry, Dubai can truly become a global cruise destination.”
Khalid Al Zadjali, Director of Tourism Events at the Oman Ministry of Tourism, said: “We are delighted to learn that the luxurious Royal Caribbean International cruises will be returning to the region. We look forward to welcoming all tourists who want to explore the beauty of Oman and discover its history. There are numerous activities to enjoy in our country, and limitless places to visit, including Muscat and Khasab, which will be included in the itinerary of the cruises. This is definitely a welcomed development for Oman as our country steps up its efforts to strengthen its presence in the lucrative global cruise industry in the GCC and internationally. We anticipate hosting more cruise ships in the future.”
“Our collaborative approach, with Dubai and Oman partners, to developing the viability and appeal of Arabian Gulf cruising has clearly struck a chord with a recognised cruise sector innovator and Abu Dhabi will benefit from Royal Caribbean International’s return to the region. Together we are cultivating development opportunities to attract visitors from a variety of new markets, including itinerary extension through inclusion of the region’s only dedicated cruise beach stopover destination in our Western Region. By 2015, we anticipate a step change in our own shore excursion portfolio with the eagerly awaited opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi in our Saadiyat Island Cultural District, and Zayed Port’s improved permanent terminal facilities - two significant milestones which also add depth of quality and diversity for the region,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
For business travellers, Splendour of the Seas also offers numerous conference and meeting facilities. State-of-the-art fully-equipped meeting rooms and Wi-Fi connections on board the vessel can accommodate big groups and charters too; whilst theatres and lounges are also available for corporate events with up to 800 people.
Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 45-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.