Muscat set to receive 81 cruise ships this season

The cruise season for 2017-18 at the Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos is expected to begin with the arrival of Seabourn Encore on October 21 at 9 am, which departs at 7 pm the same day, as per the details available on cruisemapper.com.
As per the details available, October will see the arrival of two cruise ships, followed by 12 in November, 14 in December, 10 in January, eight in February, 14 in March, 16 in April and five in May.
These figures include the port of call two times by the same ship.
The allied businesses such as car rentals, tour operators and small retailers at the Muttrah Souq are expecting the upcoming season to boost business after a lean summer season. Seabourn Encore, will return to Muscat on October 28 and depart the same day. AIDAstella will arrive on October 29.
The cruise ships to follow in November are Oceania Nautica (November 4), AIDAstella (November 5), MV Minerva (November 9), Oceania Nautica (Nov 9), Azamara Journey (November 11), Seven Seas Voyager (Nov 12), Crystal Symphony (November 19), Celebrity Constellation (Nov 24), Mein Schiff 5 (November 30). A total of 217,000 visitors arrived in Oman through cruise ships in 2016, a growth of 47.6 per cent compared to the previous year. The cruise tourism has been witnessing a steady growth over the past few years, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of tourists visiting to the country.

According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry has surpassed 2016 ocean cruise passenger projections, reaching 24.7 million cruise passengers globally up from a projection of 24.2 million.
For 2017, based on current new vessel launch schedule and expected regional deployment, CLIA is projecting another positive year of growth f or the industry with a passenger forecast of 25.8 million.
The report attributed much of the industry’s growth to the continuing development of the Asian market, with ocean capacity rising to 9.2 per cent in 2016, a 38 per cent increase from 2015.
The increased capacity in the region, combined with travelers in this region going on shorter, and more frequent cruises, has kept this marketplace at the top of emerging markets within the cruise industry.

Vinod Nair