Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 09 November 2021 – MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based global cruise brand, and SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, today confirmed the details of an agreement for 36,800 seats from Europe and North America to support its brand new winter sailing programme in Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea. This will bring nearly 20,000 new holidaymakers this winter to Saudi Arabia, in line with the Kingdom’s vision to welcome international visitors.
MSC Cruises’ guests can book a seamless holiday experience with a ‘Fly & Cruise’ package from a wide range of major international airports to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where the cruise line’s guests will join the modern and innovative MSC Bellissima for 7-night sailings between November and March 2022.
MSC Cruises began sailing in July from Jeddah following the signing with Cruise Saudi of a five-year preferential berthing deal at the city’s port. Following the success of the line’s initial summer season the upcoming winter programme starts in November.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, said, “We are proud to partner with SAUDIA, the Kingdom’s national flag carrier, and work towards the same common objectives in support of the further development of tourism in Saudi Arabia by bringing many thousands of international guests to discover this remarkable country, with more to come in future sailing seasons. Through this extensive flight programme we are able to make our new cruise offering even more accessible to holidaymakers from Europe and North America and deliver best-in-class experiences. Additionally, data demonstrates that a large percentage of tourists who visit a country for the first time while on a cruise holiday often return for a longer land stay with their families to further explore that country’s culture and other attractions.”
Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, added, “SAUDIA’s global route network is complementary to the flourishing Saudi cruise industry. The airline looks forward to this collaboration with MSC Cruises, to showcase the breadth of leisure offerings available in Saudi Arabia.”
Managing Director of Cruise Saudi, Fawaz Farooqui said, “We are delighted to see SAUDIA and MSC partnering to serve 20,000 Fly and Cruise guests to Saudi Arabia for the upcoming season. This close cooperation between our national carrier and the world’s third largest cruise line is exactly the kind of partnership which will help Saudi Arabia to become a world-class cruise destination, which is what Cruise Saudi is working to create in line with Vision 2030.”
The agreement today was ratified in person at the Saudi Airlines headquarters in Jeddah by Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises and Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General, Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation and Fawaz Farooqui Managing Director, Cruise Saudi.
MSC Cruises’ main source markets for its European guests to sail from Saudi Arabia during the upcoming winter are Italy, Germany, France and Spain.
The 7-night cruises depart the port of Jeddah at 11 pm every Saturday night and SAUDIA has adjusted its flight schedule for Friday night flights from Milan, Rome, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris and Madrid with Saturday morning arrivals in the Saudi Arabian city to provide opportunities to enjoy the city or transfer from the airport to the seaport.
The airline has also adjusted its flight schedule to make it easier for guests from the USA, the UK, Switzerland and Austria to join the ship with ease.
A similar range of conveniently-timed return flights are available for Saturday morning journeys home to offer guests with the maximum comfort and peace of mind to enjoy their holiday to the utmost.
MSC Bellissima’s 7-night Saudi Arabia and Red Sea cruises for winter 2021/22 start from her homeport of Jeddah. The ship departs for King Abdullah Economic City, Yanbu for an overnight stay to allow guests to visit AlUla, a day at sea before arriving at Aqaba in Jordan for trips to Petra and then a further day at sea before returning to Jeddah.
MSC Bellissima is one of the most innovative ships in MSC Cruises fleet and is fitted with a wide range of cutting-edge environmental features and innovative technology to reduce her environmental footprint. She also spearheaded the ultra-modern Meraviglia-Plus class of ships in the MSC Cruises fleet when she launched in 2019.The 315.3-metre-long vessel has 2,244 cabins and a maximum capacity for 5,714 passengers and 1,536 crew.