Dubai Harbour, the city’s extraordinary seafront district, has welcomed its first cruise ship – the AIDAcosma, officially starting its 2022/23 cruise season. Setting sail from Germany on its maiden voyage, AIDAcosma is a first-of-its-kind liquid natural gas (LNG) powered ship with a capacity of over 5,500 passengers. To mark the arrival, DHCT Management along with public and private sector stakeholders will exchange plaques with the Ship Captain, a maritime tradition, to commemorate its maiden call. Throughout the season, more than 300,000 passengers are expected to arrive at the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal, marking extraordinary growth for the cruise industry. Operated by AIDA Cruises, with 20 passenger decks and 2,600 staterooms, the AIDAcosma is one of the largest cruise ships within the AIDA fleet. The ship hosts a range of exciting experiences and features including a Fun Park, children’s pool, water slide, an outdoor sports deck, as well as 17 restaurants and 23 lounges, serving a wide variety of cuisines from around the world. As the homeport for AIDAcosma, Dubai Harbour will pave the way for green cruising by becoming the first to host a brand-new LNG powered cruise ship. LNG is one of the cleanest-burning, non-electric marine fuels in the industry and can reduce emissions by up to 30 per cent. Alexander Ewig, Senior Vice President Marketing & Sales at AIDA Cruises commented: “We are excited to return to Dubai Harbour – this time round with the maiden call of our youngest fleet member AIDAcosma. Through AIDAcosma, we are continuing on our path to green cruising and are elated to be collaborating with Dubai Harbour to do so. We are sure our guests will have a great time, as they set sail on a tour of the Orient this winter 2022/2023, specifically at Dubai Harbour with its line-up of entertaining events and activities, alongside the magnificent Dubai skyline.” As the owning-company and curator of Dubai Harbour, the diversified investment firm Shamal Holding is the driving force behind making Dubai Harbour an exceptional seafront district. The cruise terminals, which are part of the incredible Dubai Harbour development, showcase the spectacular and beautiful Dubai Harbour skyline to guests and offer a wide array of amenities and services for passengers and crew – from ample seating areas to washrooms, currency exchange outlets, ATMs, Emirates Airline Check-in facility, cafes, retail outlets, Duty-Free, dedicated parking, taxi stands and much more. All facilities are wheelchair accessible and complimentary WIFI is enabled for passengers and crew to stay connected. Dubai Harbour is home to a wide range of upscale living, retail and hospitality experiences that combine to form the region’s most vibrant, and comprehensive maritime lifestyle offering. Located at the centre of modern Dubai, Dubai Harbour is within easy reach from the city’s key landmarks – including the Burj Al Arab, Ain Dubai, Bluewaters Island, and Palm Jumeirah, giving cruise passengers easy access to some of the world’s most iconic experiences. Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer, Shamal Holding, the owner and curator of Dubai Harbour said: “Today is a very special day for us. This is not only the first time we have an LNG-powered cruise ship making its way to the city, but also a new cruise season that we look forward to with renewed excitement and anticipation. As we get ready to see full fleets get back in service, we believe there is great scope for extraordinary growth in the region. This includes more destinations, enhanced experiences and new types of cruise travellers. After the success of our last cruise season, we have continued to make investments across Dubai Harbour and Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminals and will also be extending our cruise season into the summer months of 2023 for the first time, with ships calling well into the month of June for overnight port stays for passenger turnaround. We look forward to continuing to play our part in welcoming more passengers and ships, as we aim to contribute to the region’s cruise tourism sector.” Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented: “As Dubai continues to make waves across global tourism, the arrival of the first cruise travellers at Dubai Harbour for the new season will further reinforce Dubai’s position as a leading cruise tourism hub in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to make our city the world’s most sought-after and visited destination. The continuous efforts of Shamal Holding to enhance Dubai’s cruise tourism sector by developing world-class projects, infrastructure and facilities such as the Dubai Harbour is a testament to the tireless efforts of our valued stakeholders and partners to expand Dubai’s diverse destination proposition. As sustainability and decarbonisation are crucial elements of Dubai’s tourism strategy, we welcome the arrival of eco-friendly cruise ships like the Aida Cosma, further boosting our efforts to become a major sustainable tourism destination. We are also proud to be consistently included as a key port of call by the world’s largest and most popular ocean liners, highlighting Dubai’s global reputation as the ultimate cruise gateway to the region.” The infrastructure at the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal comprises two terminal buildings that offer passengers and crew a safe, comfortable, and seamless experience. Designed to process over 3,250 passengers per hour, the highly efficient and modern terminals are located on a pier stretch of over 910 meters and can accommodate a complete passenger turnaround of two mega cruise ships simultaneously. The purpose-built terminals ensure simplified and streamlined immigration, as well as customs screening processes, with the dedicated access routes for passengers and crew, facilitated by Seaport Passenger Boarding Bridges, allowing uninterrupted flow between the ship and the terminal. AIDA Cruises is the market leader in the German-speaking cruise market and currently operates one of the most modern fleets in the world with 13 cruise ships, including the first-ever LNG propulsion cruise ship built. AIDA Cruises is one of the nine world-leading cruise lines forming part of Carnival Corporation & plc, one of the world’s largest leisure travel companies.