SNTTA Emir Cruises, the cruise management division of SNTTA Emir Tours, has been appointed by Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd (RCCL) to handle the ground arrangements for its super-luxury ship “Brilliance of the Seas” which begins its maiden Gulf cruise on January 18 from Dubai.
SNTTA Emir Tours, part of the UAE-based Liberty Investment Company (Liberty Group), will handle all shore excursions in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. In addition, they will handle embarkation, disembarkation, airport and hotel transfers in Dubai as well as provide trained check-in teams at the Dubai Cruise Terminal.
Brilliance of the Seas will do weekly Arabian Gulf sailings that will begin and end in Dubai, and cover Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on its route. Royal Caribbean’s entry into the region’s emerging cruise market is expected to give a big boost to tourism as the bulk of the guests will be coming from North America, UK and Germany.
“SNTTA Emir Cruises has been an exclusive partner of RCCL for over ten years, having handled the ground arrangements of all of its ships, including the famed Legend of the Seas and Azamara Quest,” said David Milican, Senior General Manager, SNTTA Emir Tours. “We are one of the few destination management companies that have an experienced team specialised in all aspects of a cruise ship’s ground requirements. We are, therefore, very excited to be handling the first seasonal tour of Brilliance of the Seas.”
“The entry of Royal Caribbean International in the Gulf cruise sector is a milestone that will dramatically change the tourism landscape in the region,” added Milican. “Though there are three cruise companies operating weekly sailings, the region still holds tremendous potential for the cruise industry. SNTTA Emir Cruises’ long-term strategy is to boost our market share further as cruising picks up momentum, driven by Dubai’s ambitious plan to become the No. 1 cruise hub of the region.”
Helen Beck, Regional Director, International Representatives-EMEA, Royal Caribbean International, said: “We are very much looking forward to widening our itinerary offering to our guests by positioning Brilliance of the Seas in Dubai and the Arabian Gulf. This is the first time that we have committed one of our ships to this region and, with the support and experience of our long term land partner, SNTTA Emir Tours, we feel certain of success.”
Brilliance of the Seas, which has 1,050 staterooms, has won wide acclaim for its many attractions, such as the open Centrum with ten-deck-high windows and ocean-facing glass elevators, a mini golf course, rock climbing wall, water slide and ultra hi-tech, self-leveling pool tables in its Bombay Billiards Club. The cruise ship will do weekly sailings in the Arabian Gulf between January and April, 2010.
SNTTA Emir Cruises is all set to play its key role of facilitating the movement of passengers, designing shore excursions and choosing tours that will give the tourists the right sampling of the culture and heritage of the UAE. This is seen as very crucial, as the passengers will be Western tourists, most of them visiting the UAE for the very first time.
According to Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) projections, cruise tourism is set to grow 30 per cent in 2010. The new Dubai Cruise Terminal, which will be formally inaugurated in early February, is expected to host 120 ships and around 325,000 cruise tourists in 2010 (against 250,000 in 2009). The new terminal will enable Dubai to handle bigger cruise liners, and has been designed to accommodate up to four ships simultaneously