The one where Dubai said hello to Serenade of the Seas…

Royal Caribbean Radiance Class ship, ‘Serenade of the Seas’ will be deployed to Dubai for its winter 2012-13 season.

Replacing ‘Brilliance of the Seas’, Serenade will offer 17 sailings departing every Monday on 7-night voyages taking in Fujairah and Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E as well as overnight stays in Muscat, Oman and Dubai.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Mona Tannous, Tourism Oman manager for Australia & New Zealand, who shared her excitement at the offering.

“I am delighted at this news – cruising in the region is only growing and this is a welcome addition. Cruise passenger arrivals into Oman rose to 231,100 in 2010 which is a 72% increase on 2009 with the Ministry of Tourism expecting visitor arrivals to exceed well above 300,000 by 2015,” Ms Tannous said.

“Muscat Harbour is a visually stunning port to sail into. You have this sense of stepping back in time as you sail past the ancient 16th century twin forts that stand guard over the harbour, as old Muscat is slowly revealed to passengers as they sail into the port – simply breathtaking.”

In addition to the 7-night ‘Serenade of the Sea’ voyages, Royal Caribbean is offering a combined 4 day ‘Arabian Explorer’ cruisetour featuring Dubai, Al Ain and Ras Al Khaimah. Guests can participate in activities including ‘dune bashing’ and visiting a Bedouin desert camp for dinner and entertainment.

Cruisetours are escorted by an expert tour director and include transfers, transportation, accommodation, breakfast and select meals.

“The Arabian Explorer cruise tour itinerary, which combines a four-night escorted land tour with Serenade of the Seas’ seven-night cruise is a wonderful initiative for Dubai, one we look forward to promoting in both the Australian and New Zealand marketplace, “ Veronica Rainbird, Senior Manager Trade, Marketing & Strategic Relations DTCM told me earlier this week.

With two new cruise terminals being built at Port Rashid by 2013 allowing up to 6 ships to berth at any one time, Dubai seems focussed on increasing cruise options moving forward in the region.

“DTCM is forecasting during the next five years a 45% increase in cruise business, and this new ship will further strengthen the future cruise tourism growth,” said Ms Rainbird.

Original article published on e-Travel Blackboard

Dubai is one of my two fave cities in the world (the other is Las Vegas…can you see a theme?!) and seeing the increase of cruising to this region over the past week alone has been really exciting.

Their new cruise terminal, set to open by 2013, is expected to berth up to 6 ships at any one time! This is proof alone that the region is embracing an industry that is continually moving from strength to strength.

I’m hoping to sail from Dubai for the first time in November and I’m looking forward to seeing the operation now before things really step up in the coming years.

Click here for a complete photo gallery of the gorgeous ‘Serenade of the Seas’

Have you sailed from Dubai before? What was your experience cruising in this region?

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