msc logoCorporate Information & Media Roommenu icon



•    MSC Bellissima chartered from August by Cruise Saudi to homeport in Jeddah with 4-night cruises to Egypt or Jordan for citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia  
•    Summer charters to complement winter 2021/22 Red Sea itineraries for international and local guests

London, United Kingdom 12 July 2021
– MSC Cruises, the contemporary brand of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Cruise Saudi, the developers of Saudi Arabia’s cruise industry,  to charter MSC Bellissima, one of the line’s most modern ships, for 21 voyages from the end of July until late October, as it expands its sailing programme in the region out of Saudi Arabia.

The Meraviglia-class MSC Bellissima, which first came to service in 2019, will offer 4-night cruises for citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia from Jeddah to Safaga for Luxor, Egypt or Aqaba for Petra, Jordan before returning to her Saudi homeport.  MSC Bellissima will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail the waters of the Red Sea.     

The winter 2021/22 programme

MSC Cruises and Cruise Saudi, which is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, signed a deal in April this year to start winter 2021/22 Red Sea cruises from the Saudi commercial hub of Jeddah.  

The Jeddah-based winter cruises will set sail from 23 October and be available for both international and local cruise guests, with a 50:50 overseas and domestic passenger ratio.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises said: “As the tourism industry of Saudi Arabia grows progressively for its own residents and international visitors, we at MSC Cruises are looking forward to make a positive and lasting contribution as more people explore and discover the rich heritage and incredible cultural attractions it has to offer.

“With our chartered cruises this summer from Jeddah of MSC Bellissima and a ship dedicated for the winter season in the Red Sea we are committed to serve local and international holidaymakers with the very best cruise experiences.  This, we believe, will accelerate the attractiveness of holidays at sea in the region and significantly help in the growth of tourism.”   

Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director of Cruise Saudi, said, “The expansion of the cruise industry in Saudi Arabia offers an exciting new opportunity for operators to expand into a relatively untapped market with high growth potential.

“As Saudi expands its cruise infrastructure and offer, we are opening up a whole new chapter in the Red Sea cruise story by providing travellers with the chance to explore the culture, heritage and history of this storied part of the world.”

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of Saudi Tourism Authority
, said, “Saudi’s untouched Red Sea coastline, with its abundance of pristine islands and exotic marine life, is a jewel in the country’s tourism offer. Exploring this historic area by ship is an enchanting experience that will appeal both to domestic and international travellers.

“The Red Sea has a been a vital sea route for millennia. Expanding our Red Sea cruise itinerary to include stops in Egypt and Jordan adds a new dimension to the offer and gives travellers the opportunity to experience the wider history of this pivotal region.”

An unforgettable Saudi experience on MSC Bellissima
MSC Bellissima was delivered in 2019 and is one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative ships and fitted with a wide range of environmental features and innovative technology to reduce her environmental footprint, as well as endless hours of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. With both a 985-seat mainstage theatre and an aft Carousel Lounge, the ship offers incredibly intricate theatre shows, as well as a Grand Canyon theme for the aquapark with three exhilarating water slides, a full-size bowling alley, F1 simulator and XD cinema for guests of all ages. All this in addition to the award-winning kids offering and impressive 700m² Kids Club.

MSC Bellissima also features an iconic Mediterranean-style promenade with an 80-metre LED sky screen as the social hub of the ship and a shopping gallery with more than 200 brands will delight those who love some retail-therapy.  For those looking for relaxation and rejuvenation, the authentic Balinese MSC Aurea Spa offers 79 different body and facial treatments along with a stunning thermal area.

For MSC Bellissima’s chartered sailings for residents of Saudi Arabia, the modern ship will feature a host of adaptations to enhance the cruise experience for local guests.

An array of gastronomic dishes on board will see additional enhancements with local flavours for all courses while also offering the fine dining international culinary identity that MSC Cruises’ fleet of ships is renowned.

There will be an extensive and diverse list of beverage choices, Arabic language menus and daily programmes, entirely halal dining, an electronic shisha experience and an Arabic-speaking ‘Master of Ceremony’ for all public-facing duties.  Arabic-speaking hospitality ambassadors will also be available throughout the ship to help guests with any queries.