19 Feb 2019 – 8:52
By Sachin Kumar | The Peninsula
Doha: Cruise tourism in Qatar is steaming ahead at full speed in 2019. It is nearly one-and-half month in the new year, but thousands of tourists in several cruise ships have stepped in to Qatari shores.
Since the beginning of this year, over 41,000 tourists in cruise ships came to Qatar from Doha Port and Hamad Port. The strong inflow of tourists signals the ongoing cruise season is expected to be the busiest season so far with a record number of tourists coming to Qatar.
It is worth mentioning that the 2018-2019 cruise season began from October last year and will continue until April 2019.
This season is set to be the busiest one since the development of the cruise tourism sector in Qatar as more than 140,000 visitors in 43 cruise ships are expected to dock at Doha Port during this season. Qatar had welcomed 22 cruise ships with 65,000 passengers in the 2017-2018 cruise season.
On February 16, MSC Lirica anchored in Doha Port on its 6th trip during the ongoing 2018- 2019 cruise season, carrying a total of 1995 passengers and 742 crew members.
On February 14, Doha Port welcomed two ships, Mein Schiff 4 and MSC Splendida, carrying 8,300 visitors. It was the fourth time that the port had received two ships at the same time.
A day before that, on February 13, German cruise ship AIDAPrima docked at Doha Port on its third voyage in the ongoing cruise season with a total of 3,618 passengers and 957 crew members aboard.
Italian cruise ship Costa Mediterranea, on February 6, marked its maiden voyage to Qatar, arriving at Doha Port with more than 3,000 passengers and crew members.
January was also a busy month as several cruise ships and one of the main highlights was the maiden voyage of luxury cruise ship ‘RMS Queen Mary 2 at Hamad Port.
Measuring at 345 meters long, RMS Queen Mary 2 was the largest cruise ship to arrive at Qatar’s shores. The luxury cruise ship arrived at Hamad Port carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew and was welcomed by officials from the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and Mwani Qatar.
Doha Port, on January 24, welcomed cruise ship MSC Splendida on its third visit during the ongoing season, carrying a total of 3456 passengers and 1305 crew members.
On January 20, Cruise ship MSC Lirica sailed into Doha Port on its 5th trip during the ongoing season, carrying a total of 1985 passengers and 737 crew members. On January 16, Cruise ship Mein Schiff 4 docked at Doha Port on its 6th visit to during the season with a total of 2459 passengers and 949 crew members.
Around 3,000 tourists arrived at Doha Port on January 14 aboard the cruise ship MSC Lirica. MSC Splendida anchored on January 3 at Doha Port on its 2nd call during the ongoing season with 3900 passengers and 1300 crew member aboard.
Over 3600 cruise visitors were welcomed on January 2 at Doha Port, coming on board the TUI Mein Schiff 4 on its 5th call during the ongoing season.
QNTC and its partners have taken series of steps to grow the cruise tourism sector in Qatar and encourage more cruise liners to place Qatar on their itineraries.