Dubai gains status of hub
Dubai has emerged as a premier destination for the cruise industry since the opening of the Dubai Cruise Terminal last year.The terminal, which opened in March last year with a visit by one of the world's most famous liner, Queen Elizabeth II, has since welcomed several major liners including MV Minerva and Maxim Gorky and vessels from America and Japan. The terminal which is operated by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has helped strengthen the emirate's position as a major cruise destination in the region, said DTCM manager heritage sites and events, Awadh Al Seghayer who is also in-charge of cruise tourism. Al Seghayer said the emirate had in a short span of time matured from a port of call into a regional hub. "More than 62 per cent of the vessels docking in Dubai this year will conduct a passenger exchange," he said. The terminal's growing strength was underscored recently when it won the best new terminal building award at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami, Florida. Dreamworld Cruise Destinations presented the awards following a comprehensive worldwide survey covering 11 categories in the port, terminal and destination sectors of the four major cruising regions in the world. "The Dubai Cruise Terminal has been created to attract more cruise lines to winter in the region, as well as to provide streamlined passenger facilities for the growing number of passenger ships using Dubai as a turnaround port," said DTCM director general Khalid bin Sulayem. The terminal's ship-shaped building is sited on a 335-metre quay offering the capacity to berth two ships simultaneously - while the terminal itself is around 3,300 sq m in size. Conveniently located at Port Rashid, 15 minutes' drive from Dubai International Airport, the terminal offers a wide range of facilities such as personal and baggage security screening, covered baggage handling area, tour bus and taxi parking stands, post office and money exchange, business centre with Internet access and conference room. Other passenger amenities include an information centre, VIP lounge, cafŽ, rest rooms with disabled access, duty-free shopping, Arabic palm garden and heritage and cultural exhibits.