The Mina Rashid port in Dubai has handled five cruise ships at once for the first time in history, marking a significant milestone in the emirate's plans to boost tourism in this sector.
Over the weekend, the Costa Serena, AIDA diva, Amadea, MSC Orchestra and Costa neoRiviera and their combined 25,000 crew and passengers docked at the port - made possible by the opening of the third terminal last month.
According to officials, Dubai will achieve another landmark later this month when Cunard's Queen Mary arrives on January 29th. There will be over 4,500 passengers on-board who will join the other vessels that are already in port.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World, said that the fact Mina Rashid was able to accommodate all five vessels at once clearly demonstrates the emirate's ability to embrace growth in cruise tourism and the readiness of the port's infrastructure to welcome an increased number of ships.
He added: "With the opening of the new Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal last month, the efficiency with which we look after thousands of passengers simultaneously was enhanced further, with the support and close cooperation of DTCM [Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing], our strategic partner in promoting cruise tourism in Dubai.
"We are committed to investing long-term in the transformation of Mina Rashid into the region's cruise destination of choice."
Hamad bin Mejren, executive director, Dubai Tourism noted that the cruise season, which kicked off in October, is now in full swing and his department has predicted that the sector will enjoy further growth during 2015.
He said that Dubai has ambitious targets for cruise tourism under the Tourism Vision 2020 and expects the emirate to welcome 450,000 visitors by ship in the next 12 months. Mr Mejren added that he is confident this goal is achievable and believes the new visa will help.
The new Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal at the Mina Rashid port is the world's largest and most modern facility for ships, enabling Dubai to welcome up to seven vessels at one time and handle more than 25,000 passengers, according to officials.