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Geneva, Switzerland – January 31, 2022 – MSC Cruises announced today that the current season in the Arabian Gulf will be extended. The region is proving to be particularly attractive to MSC Cruises guests this winter, thanks to the appeal of itineraries featuring extended stays in port and two overnights in Dubai, coupled with the health and safety protocols in place. MSC Bellissima will sail on 7-night cruises calling at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas in the United Arab Emirates and Doha in Qatar from April 2 through June 25, 2022.

MSC Bellissima—one of the line’s most popular ships—will wrap up her existing Red Sea itineraries from her homeport of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In March, she will move to the Arabian Gulf to take over for MSC Virtuosa, which is transitioning to Europe for the summer season. Then in July, MSC Bellissima will move to the Far East to perform itineraries in Japan.

Gianni Onorato, CEO MSC Cruises commented, “We have seen that the itineraries in the UAE and Qatar have been very popular with our guests and so to respond to this demand we have decided to extend our presence in the region. We would like to thank the authorities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha for their close collaboration and effective ways of working to ensure that the health and safety of our guests and crew has been well maintained also ashore. The decision to deploy MSC Bellissima for this extended part of the season was taken because this is a highly popular and well-appreciated ship with a richness of features, entertainment and dining as well as offering the MSC Yacht Club.”

By extending the season, more guests will be able to enjoy a cruise vacation that offers them the perfect mix of culture and tradition combined with the opportunity to discover some of the Middle East’s most modern cities. As an added bonus, they’ll enjoy guaranteed sun, beautiful beaches, and the joy of relaxing on one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative ships.

For more information on the itineraries, click here.

Highlights of the Arabian Gulf:

Dubai, UAE

Dubai is one of the Middle East’s most recognizable cities and a feast for the senses, with high-rise buildings, lavish malls and feats of engineering and architecture. Guests can discover why Dubai is often referred to as the City of Merchants by visiting one of the many souks in the old city, or experience something a little more modern at the world’s tallest building—the Burj Al Khalifa.

Abu Dhabi, UAE

The United Arab Emirates’ capital is rich with diversity and culture, framed by glittering buildings, and home to the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. While some guests may opt to soak in everything the city has to offer with a sightseeing tour, others may wish to opt for a desert escape.

Sir Bani Yas, UAE

Sir Bani Yas is the largest natural island in the United Arab Emirates, offering pristine beaches and diverse wildlife, as well as a nearly mile-long beach oasis exclusive to MSC Cruises guests on ship calling days. Sir Bani Yas island features a beautiful coastline and boasts the Arabian Wildlife Park on just over half of its surface area, which guests can visit on one of many exciting shore excursions available.

Doha, Qatar

Recognised as one of the new 7 Wonders Cities, Doha is a fast-growing and exciting destination. Sports fans know it as the home to an array of world class events, including the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup. For art and culture lovers, the Msheireb Museum is just one of the many museums welcoming guests.

Highlights of MSC Bellissima:

MSC Bellissima is one of the newest and most popular ships in the MSC Cruises fleet, offering guests a rich and varied onboard experience with innovative and modern facilities including:

  • The MSC Yacht Clubwith luxurious accommodations spanning three decks, private facilities, and butler service around-the-clock.
  • 12 dining venues and more than 20 loungesincluding the French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistro, popular American style steakhouse Butcher’s Cut, Kaito Teppanyaki, and Kaito Sushi bar.
  • Acclaimed pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury’s Chocolate & Caféis dedicated entirely to unique and elegant chocolate creations and desserts and a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth.
  • An award-winning family offering with kids’ activities and services from partners LEGO and Chicco with a dedicated family deck area.
  • Two stunning entertainment venues–the London Theatre and the Carousel Lounge–offering original theatre productions and live entertainment.
  • A 260-foot-long LED Sky Screenencompassing a stunning 300-foot-long Mediterranean-style promenade, designed as the social hub of the ship and lined with shops, bars and restaurants.
  • Comfortable and innovative accommodations to meet every need, demonstrating the way that MSC Cruises puts the guest at the heart of its designs and ship building. With 10 different types of cabin to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

Cruise with Confidence:

Since August 2020, guests of MSC Cruises have been sailing under the protection of the line’s industry-leading health and safety protocol that was developed with the input of a Blue-Ribbon Panel of experts and has proven both safe and effective through all evolutions of the pandemic. This protocol was designed to adapt according to the situation ashore and its measures have either been eased or tightened to match the evolution of the pandemic and continue to ensure the highest possible protection to guests and crew.

Bookings for all sailings through to the end of the next winter 2022-2023 season will be covered by the Cruise with Confidence promise, under which the Company has already offered safe, flexible, and enjoyable cruise vacations to more than one million guests during all phases of the pandemic.

Guests who book before March 31, 2022 will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing their booking is flexible — with the ability to reschedule their cruise free of charge up to 48 hours* prior to sailing, for any reason.

All MSC cruises are now only open to vaccinated guests** and this will continue to be the case for winter 2023. The line will continue to implement the appropriate measures to ensure that guests can enjoy one of the safest holidays options out there while having a memorable time on board.

For more information on MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol and embarkation requirements, please click here.

*     21 days for Fly&Cruise bookings.

**   All guests age 12 and above are required to be fully vaccinated. Further, all guests aged two and above are required to submit a negative test prior to boarding. All ship crew are also fully vaccinated, regularly tested and follow strict health & safety policies. (For Red Sea cruises, guests age 8 years or older need to be fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. See website for more details.)



Field Sutton

Director of Communications