Published on Friday, July 30, 2021
MSC Group has signed a five-year agreement with Cruise Saudi for preferential berthing rights at the port of Jeddah, as it cements a commitment to support the development of the local cruise tourism sector.
The announcement was made as MSC Bellissima arrived to celebrate the opening of the city’s new passenger terminal.
The new cruise terminal will welcome guests onboard for MSC Bellissima’s inaugural season in the Red Sea with three- and four-night cruises from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to both Egypt and Jordan until the end of October.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises said, “This is a historic day for all of us. It marks a new beginning for cruising in Saudi Arabia and, more broadly, for its growing tourism industry.
“Together with Cruise Saudi we will work in unison to develop Saudi Arabia’s sustainable growth in tourism which mirrors exactly our own strategy and ambition.”
MSC Foundation, the private non-profit organisation for MSC Group and the Ba’a Foundation in Saudi Arabia, announced they will join forces to advance coral conservation to safeguard marine ecosystems.
According to Mark Robinson, Chief Operations & Commercial Officer for Cruise Saudi, the Saudi cruise industry aims to create 50,000 jobs by 2025, and facilitate the building of an additional five ports, with Jeddah as a homeport.
It hopes to welcome 1.5 million annual passenger visits by 2028.
MSC Bellissima will sail 21 Red Sea voyages from Jeddah from the end of July and late October with three- and four-night cruises to Safaga for Luxor, Egypt or Aqaba for Petra, Jordan before returning to her Saudi homeport.
The summer sailings will add to MSC Cruises’ previously announced winter 2021/22 Red Sea voyages from Jeddah starting in November.
Sister ship MSC Virtuosa will also make her debut in Saudi Arabia during winter 2021/2022 with calls in the port of Dammam.