MSC Cruises has introduced a new ship to the Saudi market, docked in Jeddah. The company plans to have 3 ships active with this port by 2020 and is looking at expanding into other markets around the world as well.

The “msc magnifica” is a cruise ship that was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. MSC Cruises has expanded the Saudi Arabian Cruise Ship presence with this new vessel.

MSC Cruises Expands Saudi Cruise Ship Presence

MSC Cruises is expanding its footprint in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, which is already a stronghold for the Swiss-based, third-largest cruise company in the world. The MSC Virtuosa, the company’s flagship, took up passengers for the first time in Jeddah on her journey to the Mediterranean and the United Kingdom for the summer season. 

Saudi Arabia has been trying hard to attract more visitors to the nation, and cruises have played a big part in that. Since the start of the 2021 cruise season, cruise ships from Viking Ocean, Silverseas, Scenic, and MSC have made more than 70 visits to the nation. 

MSC’s Flagship Departs Jeddah

MSC Virtuosa stopped in Jeddah for the first time on her journey to the Mediterranean and the United Kingdom for the summer season.

The MSC cruise ship will be the company’s second to depart from Jeddah. The MSC Bellissima has been based at the port for the whole summer and winter seasons of 2021/2022. 

“We are thrilled to welcome the flagship of one of the world’s most established and popular cruise lines,” said Lars Clasen, Chief Executive Officer of Cruise Saudi. Saudi Arabia has been highlighted as an intriguing cruise destination for foreign cruise lines and visitors thanks to MSC Virtuosa’s visit. As the tourist sector grows, we at Cruise Saudi look forward to welcome more passengers and operators to enjoy the shimmering waters of the Red Sea.”

MSC Cruises and Cruise SaudiCruise Saudi Arabia provided this image.

The MSC Virtuosa has been in the Middle East for the winter. She spent the winter of 2021 sailing in the Persian Gulf, visiting Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, and Doha after her naming and christening ceremony in Dubai.

MSC Virtuosa is the second-largest ship in the MSC fleet, with a gross tonnage of 181,541 tons and a passenger capacity of 6,334. The ship has ten restaurants, twenty-one bars and lounges, and five pools.

With the help of cruise ships, Saudi tourism takes off.

Since 2004, foreign tourism has been prohibited in Saudi Arabia, with the exception of business and religious tourists. This is fast changing, though, as the Saudi government implements its new Vision 2030 programs. 

“By supporting Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry, we are not only allowing the world to experience Saudi Arabia’s pristine islands and beaches, as well as its unique culture, heritage, and hospitality – but we are also opening new gateways to connect Saudi with the rest of the world and transforming the country into a tourism hub,” Lars Clasen added. 

MSC Virtuosa in DubaiMSC Cruises provided this image.

Several foreign cruise companies have begun making frequent stops in Saudi Arabia in recent years. MSC Cruises, Scenic Group, Silversea, and Viking all made roughly 70 calls.

Cruise Saudi, the kingdom’s cruise agent, also reached an agreement with MSC, ensuring that the firm would bring ships to the country for the following five years.

Cruise Saudi aims to generate 50,000 employment in the cruise sector in Saudi Arabia by 2035, as the country continues to develop its tourist economy and wants to become less dependent on the oil business.

Would you go to or from Saudi Arabia on a cruise?

Saudi Arabia is not yet a major participant in the cruise business, and it is unlikely that many people would choose it as their new favorite cruising destination. That isn’t to suggest there isn’t cause to go on a journey of exploration here. 

Apart from the warm waters of the Red Sea and the watersports options available in areas like Yanbu, the Red Sea’s scuba diving hub, there is much more to see in the nation. 

Al Wajh, where travelers may visit one of Saudi Arabia’s most ancient towns, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Al-Ula, and Dammam, where they can visit the AlAhsa oasis, another UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Of course, Jeddah is the country’s commercial capital, as well as the location of Al Balad, Jeddah’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hijazi-style old town.

When sailing to Saudi Arabia, guests should keep one thing in mind. Alcohol will only be supplied while the ship is in international seas and not during port visits. 

MSC Virtuosa Cruise Ship

The “cruise line news” is a new addition to the MSC Cruises fleet. The company has expanded their presence in Saudi Arabia, and other countries throughout the Middle East.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the future of MSC Cruises?

A: The future of MSC Cruises is to continue improving their service and increasing the quality of food they offer on board. They are also expanding into different areas, such as cruise tours in Alaska, which will be a first for them!

Where are MSC cruise ships now?

A: MSC cruise ships are currently in the Mediterranean. They will be departing soon, though at a different location than they were when you asked this question. You can find them here if you want to search for their new port of call:

What is MSC largest cruise ship?

A: MSC Meraviglia is the largest cruise ship in the world. It has a length of 2,498 feet and width at its widest point of 1,090 ft.

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