Skip to content

MSC World Europa Makes Maiden Call in Dammam Saudi Arabia

MSC World Europa was finally able to make her maiden call and enter  Dammam’s King Abdulaziz Port in Saudi Arabia. There she was welcomed by the Saudi Red Sea Authority, The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani), and Cruise Saudi. 

Not only is she the largest cruise ship to ever homeport in the Arabian Gulf, but she is also the first cruise ship to enter the port in Dammam. About 5,000 passengers were aboard MSC Europa to commemorate this historic moment for Cruise Saudi, Mawani, the Eastern Province, and Saudi Arabia. 

Cruise Saudi CEO, Lars Clasen, said, “As we welcome the first cruise ship and first group of passengers to King Abdulaziz Port, we open a new and important gateway connecting Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world – via the Arabian Gulf. Cruise Saudi was established to develop and create the cruise industry in the country and welcome tourists to explore the unique and rich Saudi history, heritage, culture and offering. And this moment marks another step toward our goal of establishing Saudi Arabia as a premier regional and global cruising destination. By leveraging the temperate climate, high-quality infrastructure and easy access to both the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf, we provide global cruise lines the opportunity to operate year-round cruising – which is not possible in many other major cruise destinations – and position the region as a promising player in the global industry.”

MSC World Europa was to call on Dammam the previous two weeks but had been unable to due to visa issues. It seems the majority of passengers had been unable to obtain Saudi Arabia’s e-Maritime Visa that is specific to cruise passengers. Those issues have been resolved and MSC World Europa will now be able to follow her regular 7-night itineraries from Dubai. 

This momentous occasion was marked with the traditional Plaque and Key Exchange Ceremony aboard the ship. Representatives of Cruise Saudi, Mawani, Saudi Red Sea Authority, Zakat, Tax & Customs Authority, ship officials and the Captain of the ship, Marco Massa, were all ion hand for the ceremony. 

Cruise season in Saudi Arabia is from November to May and they are prepared to welcome more than 75 calls from five global cruise lines.