Abu Dhabi Ports, the master developer, operator and manager of ports and Khalifa Industrial Zone in the UAE capital, is set to officially open its new state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Zayed Port this month.
A big landmark for cruise tourism in the Arabian Gulf region, the permanent cruise passenger terminal at Zayed Port, will help Abu Dhabi Ports serve the increasing number of cruise liners and passengers visiting the emirate.
The high-capacity terminal that can receive three cruise vessels at the same time at the premier regional cruise hub.
It offers many passenger-friendly facilities including the tourist information services and passport border control counters to ensure smooth and timely customs process.
The eco-friendly building will also celebrate the UAE’s cultural heritage and pay tribute to its long maritime history. A fusion of traditional Arabic ornaments and modern architectural elements define the building’s distinctive style.
A particular eye-catcher is the building’s roof design which is a lattice-work, taking the UAE’s national tree - the Ghaf - as inspiration. Wooden beams inside the building take inspiration from the UAE’s traditional dhow sailing vessels.
The new terminal will be officially launched under the patronage of Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the national security advisor and deputy chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
The flexible design of the terminal building incorporating suggestions from all major global cruise lines can accommodate any future requirements of cruise operators, said the statement from Abu Dhabi Ports.
This will boost Abu Dhabi’s ambitions in tourism sector and further elevate its standing as a leading winter-sun cruise destination on the regional cruise tourism map, it added.
On the launch, CEO Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi said: "We have achieved a major milestone by completing this ambitious cruise terminal project within one year. This will serve Abu Dhabi’s rapidly growing cruise industry."
“This has proved the capacity of Abu Dhabi Ports to expeditiously execute major projects and initiatives for the greater common good,” he added.
Zayed Port recently hosted three luxury cruise vessels at the same day. Island Sky, owned by Noble Caledonia, docked at Zayed Port was part of a 16-day voyage from Muscat, Oman to Mumbai, India; Europa 2, owned by Hapag-Lloyod, was on a 20-day cruise from Dubai to Mauritius, while Seven Seas Voyager, owned by Regent Seven Seas Cruises, berthed at Abu Dhabi as part of their global itinerary.
Zayed Port has scheduled 111 vessel calls with 205,000 passengers from across the globe during 2015/2016 season.
This will represent fivefold increase in number of passengers and ships visiting Abu Dhabi since the first cruise season during 2006-2007, said the statement.
This impressive growth is projected to reach more than 300,000 passengers expected on 130 scheduled ship calls by 2019-2020 season, catalysed by the new cruise terminal and the Arabian Gulf’s first cruise beach stopover at Sir Bani Yas Island that has already started receiving cruise vessels, it added.