Luxury cruise liner Cunard’s ship Queen Elizabeth will make her maiden call at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Port cruise terminal next week, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
The Dhs2 billion Cunard liner will arrive on April 17 at Zayed Port as part of a 2014 World Cruise and will spend a day in Abu Dhabi, a statement said.
The liner will arrive in Abu Dhabi, carrying 2,200 passengers.
The Queen Elizabeth will call again at the capital in April next year along with Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 as part of the company’s 2015 World Cruise programmes.
Officials said that the arrival of prestigious cruise liners such as the Queen Elizabeth indicates that the emirate’s efforts in promoting itself as a winter cruise destination are being effective.
“Cunard’s return and future commitment to Zayed Port is an indication of the growing confidence the world’s leading lines have in Abu Dhabi,” said Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC).
Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director, TCA Abu Dhabi: “Long term support from leading cruise lines such as Cunard raises the emirate’s credibility within the cruise sector and allows us to demonstrate our extensive range of high-end differentiated passenger experiences.”
“Developing awareness of Arabian Gulf cruising in partnership with other regional cruise destinations remains a priority.”
Shore excursion agents said that Cunard’s return to Abu Dhabi is a result of growing interest in the emirate among passengers.
“Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 met with resounding success during her maiden call to Abu Dhabi last January and if advance sales are any measure, its sister ship Queen Elizabeth will duplicate that success during her maiden call this April,” said R. Gori, senior general manager of Orient Tours.
The 2013/2014-cruise season is on course to be Abu Dhabi’s busiest since cruise ships first arrived in the UAE capital, the statement said.
Zayed Port expects to welcome almost 190,000 passengers from 75 calls generated by 14 ships in all.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman have been stepping up investments in the industry to develop the region as a major winter cruise tourism destination.
All three have built additional cruise terminals and facilities and also plan to establish common operational standards to encourage cruise tourism.