Italy-based MSC Cruises was first cruise line to homeport a ship in Abu Dhabi and now the first cruise line to pull out, this according to The National, an Abu Dhabi media outlet.
The 1,560-passenger MSC Lirica first started year-round service from Abu Dhabi in October 2011, operating seven-night sailings around the Arabian Gulf, calling at Muscat, Al Fujairah, Khasab in Oman and Dubai.
“There is no doubt that MSC Cruises’ guests enjoyed the destination,” MSC Cruises said. “However, for the long-term success of cruising in the region, new ports of call need to be developed, terminal facilities must be upgraded and there must be increased focus on sourcing from local and regional markets.”
“[We view] MSC Cruises’ decision as a short-term tactical imperative, largely brought about by the commercial and operational challenges currently confronting the global cruise industry,” the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority said.
MSC was scheduled to bring in a larger ship next season, the 1,750-passenger MSC Opera, but will now position that ship in South Africa.
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