Posted by Neil King
Cruise operator Royal Caribbean International has made its maiden docking in Dubai, marking the company's official entry into the Middle East.
Royal Caribbean's luxury liner the Brilliance of the Seas will make seven-night round-trip sailings to Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain from its home port of Dubai over the next four months as the firm sets its sights on the region's tourism market.
Brilliance of the Seas boasts one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the industry and will accommodate more than 32,000 guests in its first four-month season in the Middle East.
Mr Michael Bayley, senior vice president for Royal Caribbean Cruises, said: "The Middle East's prospective growth figures for luxury cruising are remarkable and we expect Brilliance to establish itself as the leading cruise option for years to come."
This week, Dubai's tourism department predicted a 77 per cent growth in cruise passenger numbers by 2015 following the opening of a new cruise terminal in the emirate.